My First Drink ……..

Beer was always my love.  I loved the lager.  I pilfered the pilsners.  I preferred quarts to pints.  I preferred pitchers to glasses.  I preferred cases to six-packs.  MORE.  Whether it was a Foster’s oilcan after mowing the lawn or a heady amber brew in a tall glass, I was amazed time and again.

This love started when I was in diapers.  There are pictures of me in diapers with my face in dad’s Miller:  The Champagne of Beers.  He sat and watched TV, leaving his beer on the end table.  I would sit quietly on the floor and steal an occasional sip when he went to the bathroom.  Sometimes he volunteered the sips. It was CUTE to see a little brown-eyed baby with an intense stare guzzling beer.

But my first REAL drink was at age 8.  At age 8, I felt badly about myself:  stupid, incompetent, incapable, dumb, screwed up, fat, ugly …. you name it.  My parents had recently separated – and in the ’70’s, this wasn’t terribly common yet – and I had a rather epic cold going on.  Dad didn’t have medicine, so he handled it the old-fashioned way:  he gave me a small glass with caramel-colored liquid and muttered, “drink it quick.”  It made me feel warm, it tasted hot, and I shivered like I was cold …. and it was bliss.  I was sinking and floating, heavy and light.  This was one beautiful paradox after another and I sunk warmly into an ecstatic sleep.  After some time – the room I slept in was no longer blackened with midnight darkness but was now a dark blue with discernible shapes – I coughed some more.  I was met with the same solution.  Back I went, retreating into the warm recesses of being buzzed.  It was divine.  In fact?  I no longer felt stupid or incompetent.  I no longer felt fat or awkward.  I was no longer ugly or screwed in the head.  It no longer mattered to me whether or not I was different.  I was in a dream, a hazy warm dream.

Obviously at age 8, I didn’t start running with it.

Other people’s drinking hurt me a bit, and it would continue to do so.  Determined to NOT be like that one, I abstained.  I abstained with arms folded and a frown upon my face.


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