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.