Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Feeling 'good'

There is one thing in my life that just about everyone does. It's considered a right of passage, and many people can't wait to be able to do it. Then on their 21st birthday they go to the bar with their friends and have their first (legal) drink. And all of this is done with much excitement and fanfare.

But I just don't get it. When I turned 21 I had no intense desire to go out and chug beers. Perhaps it's because I've seen the effects of alcohol abuse. I've seen uncles ruin relationships, become unreasonable and belligerent, and even childishly blow up our toilet with firecrackers because they had (more than) one too many.

So maybe that's one of the reasons drinking has never really interested me. I saw the harm it can do and wished to avoid it even though I also witnessed those who could and did drink responsibly. But another reason is that I don't like how alcohol clouds one's judgement. Of all my qualities, I hold my mind as my most important. So anything that alters one's cognition is something I instinctively shy away from.

That said, I didn't have my first drink until I was twenty-four. And when I did, i still didn't see the appeal. Let's just say that I can not for the life of me understand the desire that many have for a beer at the end of the day. The taste of beer is not something I find enjoyable. But I tried several different kinds to see if it was just 'that beer', but what I found is that most beers all taste the same to me.

I did find that there are some wines that I enjoy, though wine isn't exactly suitable to relaxed informal get-togethers. Nor is wine practical when you're out in the garage working on the car. Then at the age of  29 I discovered the closest thing to beer that I actually enjoy. Cider! Apple, pear... so many different and enjoyable varieties. But still, one or two and I'm done. I simply refuse to fall victim to the old perils of alcohol that I witnessed in my youth.

I have never been drunk, nor do I ever intend to be. People that drink in order to get drunk baffle me. Why would someone voluntarily and purposely give up the ability to control their decision-making and motor functions?

I don't even understand the appeal of drinking to 'get a buzz'. I have had enough to drink to get a buzz a couple times to see what the draw was and was supremely unimpressed. There's maybe some initial novelty the first time, but after that I don't see anything about it that is worth looking forward too.

Then there is the mythical zone between not drinking and being buzzed known as 'feeling good'. I can't say that I've ever experienced this intermediary transitional phase. Sure the first few sips from the bottle have relaxed me after a tough day. But I'm not really sure that I can attribute that to the 'feeling good' range of drinking since the very act of sitting down and knowing I was about to enjoy a tasty cider has also brought me a comparable feeling or relief.

All that said, while I don't fully understand recreational drinking, I have no problem with those that do so responsibly. So on this party night of party nights, try not to drink too much champagne or down too many brews to ring in the new year. Try to drink intelligently if you can. Pace yourself, be sure to eat, and don't mix your alcohol. And if you do drink more than you can handle, don't drink and drive. Find a ride, hire a taxi, or crash at a hotel. Just don't put yourself or others in danger, so that we may all enjoy yet another trip around the Sun.

-Brain Hulk

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