Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I like to start these things off with little anecdotes. They are things that have stuck in my mind for years so I assume they might be of general interest and provide a lesson to ease your way through life. Okay that’s bullshit. I’m only trying for attention. It hasn‘t worked so far. For this subject I have two anecdotes.

Way back, before TV, Gary Moore and Jimmy Durante had a successful radio show. When it came to an end, Gary told Jimmy he planned to take a year off. “Don’t do it,” Jimmy advised him, “they’ll forget you.” Jimmy knew what he was talking about.

Years later, Toni Grant pioneered call-in radio psychiatry. At the height of her career, with stations nationwide, she married and decided to take some time off. That was it for her. She tried to come back but she had been forgotten. What a pity. She was a positive genius at what she had been doing. Her successor is a nit-picking nit by comparison.

I was in a position to listen to her show every day. Some were nothing short of amazing. Among the many things she passed along was something like this: Most alcoholics never quit drinking voluntarily, they quit because their bodies can no longer stand it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not now nor have I ever been an alcoholic. I have been a heavy, consistent, persistent drinker. That is not an alcoholic. But I have had to cut back considerably. The first thing to go was getting half smashed before breakfast. I used to love drinking vodka or gin straight from the bottle on an empty stomach. That was my morning fruit juice. (I never did that on a work day.) Let me also say in my defense, my wife of 17 years testified at marriage counseling that she had never seen me drunk. So there.

The next thing I had to cut back on was drinking in the evening. It started to give me indigestion and that kept me awake. That had to go. So then my drinking hours were from 9 to 4, nothing before and nothing after. My current wife wanted me to cut back on that. Why do women want to change men after marriage while men only want women not to change? Neither succeeds. That’s one of life’s mysteries.

Now I am down to one stiff belt a day. The surprising thing is I don’t miss it much. I don’t want to say I’m drunk on life. That sounds too much like dementia.


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