My hobby

There are people who don’t understand drinking at all.  You can tell who they are because they say things like,”Isn’t it kind of cold for beer?” or  “I guess it’s okay, as long as you don’t feel like you depend on it” or “Yes, I had a Bahama Mama last weekend, and it was yummy!”

These people are drinkers in the same way as Thomas Kinkade is a painter:  there are enough superficial similarities to the real thing that the casual observer might be taken in — and yet, at the heart, there is this gulf which is vast.  Vast.

I think what people don’t understand is that your relationship with alcohol develops over time, just like in a good marriage.  At first it’s all infatuation and fireworks and throwing up.  But it’s only later, after many years of fidelity and forgiveness, missteps and recovery, that you and your drink can look each other in the eye and say, “Yes, I need you, and you need me.  And I’m all right with that.  Oh, I could live without you — I wouldn’t drop dead if you walked out of my life forever, and I know I could even learn to be happy without you.  But why would I want to?  You’ve been there with me through all the best times of my life, and all the worst, too.  Even when you couldn’t be there, like when the nurse was all, ‘You are 80% effaced; it is time to put that bottle down!’, you were notable by your absence.  Oh alcohol, I am a part of you; and you, pound by blubbery pound, are becoming more and more a part of me.”

What non-drinkers don’t understand is that the city of Boozopolis is a beautiful and variegated place.   Got a few hours to burn?  This bottle of gin looks open and accommodating, willing to let you take the lead, and no hard feelings if it’s just a quickie.  Bourbon is there to take your hand and let you enjoy your misery for a while.  Tequila is a great way to find out whether or not you’ve grown up in the last ten years.  Red wine becomes a river of conversation which appears insightful at the time, and makes room in your heart for all the terrible Irish music you’ve been denied all your sober life.  Or maybe you’re just thirsty?  Well, then, my friend, it is time to have a beer.

I’m not trying to preach, and I’m not trying to nag.  I’m just trying to say that an awful lot of you could be doing a lot more to pick up that glass from time to time, you know? I try my hardest, but I’m only one woman.

Well, what did you do on your weekend?

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  • justine

    I’m only 30% effaced, so I had beer.

  • Jen

    Well, seeing as though my mother came over for dinner, wine. That’s what I did on my weekend.

  • Tonia

    I skipped the alcohol in favor of cold meds. A lot of them.

    • Martha

      Cold meds are more effectual with a brandy chaser. Trust me. When I have a bad cold, one can tell immediately by my death-grip on the brandy bottle.

  • http://www.cooperfamilyfarm.com/fbp Jennie C.

    Okay, I’m going to ask for a little beer-drinking advice. I’ve never been much of a drinker, but I’m not really opposed to the idea. I really like that Kosher blackberry wine, for example, but my husband loves beer. He drinks mostly budweiser, but to me, it tastes watered down. Like the half and half apple juice you’re supposed to give your toddlers. So if you were to recommend a beer that tasted more…beery, what would it be?

    • Tara

      It is watered down apple juice! All the major brands (Budweiser, Coors…) are more for people who are very used to beer, and their expectation of how it will taste actually tricks their brain into thinking that it’s as good as other beer. But no. It’s not.

      Sleeman, Rickards, and Stella Artois are good choices. Microbreweries often have nice beer, too.

      There are a few different types (Lager, various kinds of ale, stouts), it would be worthwhile to find out which kind you like, and then look for a good brand. I really like ales and I don’t like lager except in the summer when it’s hot. Two of my favorites are Sleeman Honey Brown Ale and Rickards Red. :-)

    • Harvey

      Jennie:

      Do you mean Manischewiez? That’s not really wine = that’s like, ummm… I don’t know – leftover berries that have been sitting in sugar…

      I recommend a nice bottle of port for you… and maybe a Harp for your husband. I’m partial to Guinness myself :)

      • http://exlaodicea.wordpress.com berenike

        Port is hangover food. I speak from extensive undergraduate experience.

  • gussie

    Oh man this is one of my favorite topics. But I have to rant. I am regularly outraged that people frown on drinking but have no problem with all sorts of crazy prescription drugs that may cause all sorts of horrible things. We know what alcohol causes. Stick with alcohol! I need a drink sometimes. Yes, need. Is that wrong? I don’t need vicodin, xanax, or all these crazy drugs, but needing those is more acceptable than needing a drink. A doctor will happily write me a prescription for some wacky chemical for stress and anxiety, and then remind me not to drink. Oh beautiful alcohol, so simple and natural. I was happy to see a recent study saying light drinking in pregnancy is not harmful (duh) and might in fact be beneficial. Of course now the drink police are upset saying this might send the wrong message about drinking in pregnancy. How bout you worry about what’s true, big brother, instead of how some idiot might use it to justify their alcoholism. All worked up now, I need a drink.

    • Heather

      Oh, you said this for me!! Thank you for expressing my own pet peeve about other people’s righteousness!!

  • http://manwithblackhat.blogspot.com David L Alexander
  • Aletheia H.

    “No matter how rich you are, you can only drink 16 or 17 liters of beer a day. “

  • Tara

    I know I’m getting older and more proper, because I spent most of this post giggling and thinking, “Oh, how *naughty*! We are talking about alcohol consumption by mothers!”

    I wanted to say this a few days ago, and now I can’t help it. You are just fantastic! I love the saints, because they prove we don’t all have to be the same. And I think I love you too, because you remind me of that. Which is good, because I don’t seem to fit any mold known to man… :-)

  • http://www.thecottagechild.blogspot.com the cottage child

    Lord, how I love to drink…and really, I love it. I enjoy it, thoroughly, and unapologetically, and have only deep sympathy for those who for whatever reason cannot partake. Satan loves to ruin a good thing, the bastard.

    One thing that occurs to me as I get older is the self-editing aspect of middle-aged drinking – I fall asleep after one glass/pints, so there’s really no danger of drunkenness or over-consumption, only missing an evening program or not starting the dishwasher. Oh, and gaining a pound or forty. I’m torn between starting earlier (like between picking up the kids from school and starting dinner) and drinking faster. Any advice?

    • Damien

      Dear cottage child. I read your post three times, and actually loled the first two times. Brilliant. Probably the funniest thing on the Internet in the past three months. Yeah I read eveything published.

      I say, go early and quick. But, not too quick. This isn’t a college keg stand. I had three beers before dinner tonight. Hell on the waistline, but my kids were lovely, and I wasn’t a total bastard after a rough day at work.

      Well, that’s all the love note I have in me. Recup time is calling.

    • Lana

      OMG that is FUNNY. I cannot stop laughing.

  • http://www.reversionstory.blogspot.com Dana Laviano

    I once read a quote by Jewell (the country singer, whom I don’t listen to at all but for some reason I was reading about her) where she said something to the effect that when she was younger she swore she wouldn’t be one of those adults that drank but once she became an adult, she realized it simply makes life easier! Viva la grape!

    http://www.reversionstory.blogspot.com

  • Nina

    I love, love, love, extra-love this post. It is just what I needed this morning to get me on my way with a smile. My weekend involved love with a very spicy Zinfandel and a brief flirtation with a Malbec.

    (And, Gussie, btw, where did you read about alcohol and pregnancy? I’d love a link to that recent finding! ;) )

    Take care everyone and live life to the fullest for the glory of God. :)

    • gussie

      Here’s one piece on the study: http://news.discovery.com/human/alcohol-drinking-pregnant-women.html

      I’m thinking about laminating a copy so I can pull it out if I get looks or comments–once at a wedding I was pregnant and reprimanded by some do-gooder for having champagne at the reception. (not my own wedding, ha ha)

      • Nina

        Wow. Thank you so much!

  • http://www.enanoslivo.blogspot.com kris

    Vodka

  • http://thatstrangestofwars.com Dan Lord

    This is, hands down, the finest post you’ve ever written in your entire life. Just because I’m drunk right now doesn’t mean I’m not totally serious.

  • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife

    I had a hard cider- and it was good!

  • http://www.barefootandpregnantblog.blogspot.com Calah

    Simcha, you nailed it again. This is exactly how I feel about drinking. And people who don’t understand (my parents) think I’m in danger of becoming an alcoholic. Which, really, I’m not because being Catholic and using NFP guarantees at least a 9 month (but more likely 14 month b/c of breastfeeding) period of near abstinence from drink about every three years. See, there’s another benefit of using NFP! It keeps us wine-loving mamas from becoming lushes.

    • Tara

      Amen! It would be hard to avoid being a lush, except morning sickness totally cured me of thinking a hangover is worth it. Ever.

  • Martha

    I’m 18 weeks, so I stuck with a fuzzy navel, even though I wanted a rum/coke like everyone else. The schnapps is nice and weak, so it’s a decent preggs drink. I much prefer wine or champagne, but beggars can’t be choosers! Oh, and to put me in the right, it was offered after a Cavins bible study, by the hosts, and poured by them as well. Good people. ;) Didn’t even question if I wanted one. Unlike the surly waitress who raised an eyebrow the morning after when I ordered COFFEE. Yes, Satan’s brew. Shut it.

  • Martha

    I miss the 1800′s. Water? Might as well be poison! Alcohol was the gift of health.

  • barboo77

    Do they still sell Zima?? LOL

  • Anne

    Every night growing up, my parents had a rum and coke as their evening cocktail. Sometime in high school, my dad swapped to martini(s)

    My mother is very serious about her nightly drink. When she comes to visit me (usually every week) she is sure to bring her own rum…carefully measured out…which she keeps in a holy water bottle…because it’s the most spill-proof thing she has found. My husband thinks the whole operation is genius and now he has a rum and coke before bed as well. I like the looks I get when I go into the liquor store and ask for the Bacardi 151 while wearing my 10 month old in the Ergo.

    • Anne

      hmm i should clarify that every night when *I* was growing up…and when *I* was in high school was when my dad made the martini-switch…

  • Maggie Dee

    I’m a recent Catholic convert. Just a few weeks ago my hubby and I went to a Knights dinner for the first time. Their lodge has a full bar. I had no idea or I would have brought cash to purchase a drink. Me likey my new faith.

    • http://manwithblackhat.blogspot.com David L Alexander

      Personally, I wouldn’t join a K of C Council that didn’t have a clubhouse with a bar. Fortunately, there is one nearby, and I may be inclined to change my affiliation to it next year.

  • http://exlaodicea.wordpress.com berenike

    We had a fellow blogger who was brought up Calvinist. A sober hard-working pious girl. She fell in with papists, who taught her to drink, sucked her into their church, and then packed her off to an enclosed monastery while pocketing her ipod, mac, and extensive collection of academic books …

    :D

  • http://mostuncapto.blogspot.com Emily G

    We did a taste test with Bulleit and Wild Turkey. Bulleit won.

    • The Jerk

      Bulleit is 12 kinds of awesome.

  • lush-ush

    This was a very enlightening column – I think this must be how my husband feels about alcohol – I’ve never seen him drunk, but he does love it so.

    I, on the other hand, inherited the Irish alcoholic gene that ruined a good bit of one side of my family. I can slowly work my way through half a this-or-that with food just fine. But once I’ve had more than one of something, look out!

    Last summer, one warm night I thought, gee, I have so much nice mint growing in the garden, I should learn how to make mojitos and have some ladies over sometime. Next thing I know it’s midnight and my husband is laughing/crying, trying to coax/drag me out of the garage where I’ve been calling “Here, Kitty! Kitty!” to a raccoon under the car, not really dressed for it, if you know what I mean.

    I’m a very funny, cheerful and, er, affectionate drunk. I think I have a very mature attitude about drinking, until I’ve actually had something to drink, so I generally have to avoid it all.

    Oh, well. I bet in heaven my cup will runneth over, and I’ll never have to throw it all up again. Or maybe that’s the muslims?

    • The Jerk

      Oh, it’s on! We are totally drinking together. I’m buying.

      • lush-ush

        I’m sorry, but I’ve been told I’m never, ever allowed to drink again after the times 1. he had to call the Le Leche League to ask if it would be safe for me to nurse the baby between bouts of throwing up in the toilet and 2. the time I witlessly consumed a very expensive, very special german beer that he had been saving in the downstairs fridge for a special occasion and then threw it up with the cheap boxed wine.

        Otherwise, I’m sure it would really be fun.

        I really have only done it a few times. I’m really a very moral person, otherwise. But I’m telling you, this is what is wrong with the Irish.

    • http://3acres.blogspot.com Renee

      Oh, I frightened the children, I was laughing so hard at your comment. I had a mojito experience, once, but yours seems much funnier.

  • Elizabeth

    This is exactly how we (hubby and I) feel about drinking. We love it and will never understand those who don’t…you just made my night! :)

  • Emily a.k.a. Smoochagator

    Oh, I love you. I had to read this to my husband, who regularly wears a sweatshirt that reads, “God invented whiskey to keep the Irish from taking over the world.” Our favorite part? Tequila letting you know if you’ve grown up at all over the past ten years. CLASSIC.

  • Regina

    I realized I had a deep need for wine around the same time that I realized I actually GET the words to Jackson Browne’s song Running On Empty. Not sure which is cause and which is effect.

  • Philip

    One of my favorite blog posts ever!

  • diane

    I believe it is my obligation to support our men in uniform so I enjoy Charteruse. I think I grow holier just drinking it.Unfortunately I am a feather weight when it comes to quantity.So my growing in holiness is slowed. If hubby has a beer, I have a shot glass of his and I am content. Killians Red is to my liking but I always need to find someone to drink the other 2/3 of the bottle.

  • http://www.lindyborer.wordpress.com Lindy

    The opening sentence of the book I just bought my husband:

    “Throughout recorded history human beings have made life bearable by taking intoxicants.”

    –From I Drink, Therefore I Am, A Philosopher’s Guide to Wine by Roger Scruton

    Having grown up an Evangelical, I am used to a very puritanical view of alcohol. Get a grip, people.

  • Maureen

    Vodka and cranberry juice. The perfect end to a day when the 3 year old she-wolf has spent more time in her room than out of it. The 4 yr old boy and 1 yr old girl combined can’t match the 3 yr old’s volume.

  • http://sleepingugly.blogspot.com Another Julie

    You have spoken truth to my heart and I thank you. So in return let me tell you about a tequila product that might interest you (if you don’t already know about it.)

    Jose Cuervo Black Medallion.

    I know, I know. It’s Jose Cuervo. And he has never been a friend of mine. In the past, he’s usually been the one saying, “You’re not too fat to do a keg stand” while standing behind me and pulling down my pants and poking me in the thigh to make it jiggle. But I live in Texas and I like to drink, so I find myself drinking tequila.

    Usually I prefer the white hot burn of a silver that makes you think you’ve been struck by lightning in the middle of the desert. But Jose is not that kind of girl. He is a gold and aged 12 months in oak. He’s a slow walk down a dusty road with ‘a steamin’, greasy plate of enchiladas’ waiting at the end.

    “Oh no!” say the purists. “It’s not 100% agave!” And “oh no! It can burn a hole in your leg if you spill it!”

    “Hush,” I say. “It’s an honest man’s sipping tequila” and “too much stomach lining is bad.”

  • Cathy

    Since the weather has turned (well, sort of), I have switched from beachy drinks like “wine” coolers to Bailey’s over ice. But just one, since I’m sound asleep on the sofa after that one.

    I do not have any sisters. My husband has three. Neither he nor his brother drink, but thankfully their sisters do! It’s my favorite part of our group beach vacations. Everyone brings a beverage to sample!

  • Kathy

    Great post. And, I might add, “it takes a cocktail to raise a village”.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/AxisMundiDesigns Geomama

    Guess you’re not the one who wrote “My Monastery is a Minivan”?

  • Jeannine

    Just a short comment: Wild Blue Blueberry Lager. Girly but not excessively sweet and 8% alcohol! YUM!

  • Elenka

    Simcha, you’re my new hero. You almost had me with the pants debacle, but when I read this post, it was all OVER!

    I drink red wine to your health this weekend – ALL weekend.