Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Alcoholic beverages have been consumed by humans since before recorded history. In modern times these beverages come in a variety of forms to suit people's various preferences for taste, texture, and potency. For some people it's an occasional, recreational drink, for others it's a full-blown addiction, and people may fall anywhere in between.

I, however, am not much of a drinker at all, and I'll tell you why.

The first time I ever tasted an alcoholic beverage was the tender age of... 3? 4? I'm not sure, but it's one of my earliest memories. All I knew was that I was thirsty, we were at a Mardi Gras parade, and I guess I left a can of Pepsi in the car. I don't remember how I felt about Pepsi at the time, but it was certainly inferior to Coke in that era, and my family was always a Coke family. So, it's pretty weird that I had a Pepsi at all.

Regardless, I wanted something to drink, and I thought for sure I was asking my mom for a drink of Pepsi. However, she didn't have Pepsi, and my poor, confused little mind may, in fact, have been begging her for a drink of her beer, or just whatever she had in her hands. She resisted, naturally, but in the fact of a toddler's insistence she had no choice: relent, so she can get back to the important task of catching beads.

She gave me a sip of her drink, I spat it out, and she laughed at me in a very I-told-you-so manner. The experience stuck with me for a long time. Perhaps, in time, someone might have made it clear to me that, really, nobody likes the taste of Budweiser (the can's image is seared into my mind, it was definitely Budweiser), and maybe I'd be better off drinking ________ instead.

However, that was not to be, as my next alcoholic experience was sometime in my teens when, at a friend's house, I fixed myself a glassful of what I thought was Sunny Delight, what with it being a thick, milky, orange beverage inside a Sunny Delight jug. However, it tasted pretty bad, and I was only able to drink about half the glass before pouring it don the drain while nobody was looking.

My friend's brother was pretty upset that someone had drank some of his screwdriver. I kind of freaked out a bit, not knowing how the alcohol would affect me. It did not, though, and I was left only with a memory of crappy-tasting orange juice.

That same house was later the scene of many of my friends' first real alcoholic experience, which ended with several people throwing up, at least one person subsequently rolling around in that vomit, and another friend getting so drunk that he passed out and would not wake up, causing people to worry that he was going to die.

I went home that night before the drinks came out in earnest, and everything I know about that night is second-hand. It did not sound terribly fun, though.

These experiences define my perception of alcohol and have, in part, served to keep me pretty sober for most of my adult life. It's not a moral stance, I'm simply not interested.

The biggest part, though, is the taste. Friends have offered me basically every type of drink imaginable, and not a single one has tasted good to me. People tell me that the taste isn't the point, but to a severely picky eater like myself taste is probably the most important thing to me. The sensation of being drunk is not pleasant to me, so that will never be my goal when drinking.

I'm a control freak when it comes to my body. If there's something I can't do, I get obsessed until I figure out how to do it. In this way I've achieved a pretty solid ability to balance, as well as the ability to do all sorts of stupid human tricks like juggling and walking on my hands.

So, on the rare occasion I do get drunk, I spend the entire time frustrated with myself, trying to retain my motor skills. I'm pretty quiet while I do this, which probably doesn't make me terribly good company. But hey, I'm quiet all the time in person, so that's no big change.

Anyway, that's my relationship with alcohol. Your experience is almost definitely completely different, and that's cool with me.

1 comment:

  1. When I was in high school, I didn't drink. I remember leaving that same house you were talking about with you and Ethan, pretty dismayed at how alcohol disrupted our D&D game. I wasn't much of a party person in college, either - I did end up drinking with a small group of friends from time to time, and that was most of my alcohol experience. Still way better than big parties in my opinion.

    I think my issues with alcohol were more about a fear of losing control of myself. I'm still a pretty big control freak, but I'm working on it. Alcohol kind of helped. Yes, I said things I wouldn't have said sober. Yes, I had trouble walking and talking and I blacked out that one time. But the world didn't end.

    Anyway, nowadays I find it rarely worth the hangover. There's quite a bit of alcohol in my house, but most of it is left over from New Year's.