Whas matter wit lil drinky-poo?

The conversation usually starts like this, on an afternoon after I’ve helped an acquaintance do a particularly sweaty job on a hot afternoon:

“Come on in. Cool off, we’ll have a beer.” he says.

“I’ll just have a diet Coke, if you have one. Or some ice water.”

“You sure? I got lots of beer. Even have imported ones.”

“Nah, I’ll just have a Coke.”

“I’ve got hard stuff. If you’d like to have a cool gin and tonic. Sounds good to me.”

No. A Coke will be fine.

He looks at me quizzically. “You don’t drink?”

“Oh, sure. I drink lots of stuff. Lemonade, flavored waters, coffee, hot chocolate in the winter, and a diet Coke if I can get it. I just don’t drink alcohol.”

Really? You mean not at all? Why is that?”

“Well, I’m an alcoholic.”

“Wait a minute. How can you be an alcoholic if you don’t drink alcohol? That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Oh, gosh. I haven’t had a drink of alcohol for, lemme see…thirty some…thirty-five years now. But I’m what some people refer to as a ‘recovering alcoholic’. Doesn’t make any difference, I’m still an alcoholic.”

He looks at me like I belong in a circus cage. “For thirty-five years? I don’t get it. Is it some kind of a religious thing with you?”

“No. I’ve just always been an alcoholic. So I don’t drink alcohol.”

“Well, I’m gonna have that beer. Will it bother you if I drink it in front of you?”

“No, it won’t bother me. You could drink a six pack. Or a whole bottle of booze in my presence, and it wouldn’t affect me. It might make you feel pretty bad tomorrow, but it wouldn’t bother me. I’m around people who drink pretty often, but it doesn’t make me want to drink.”

“Don’t you miss it? I mean, you know, a few beers at the bar with the guys. Laughs. Just fun.”

“What’s to miss? Waking up with my head pounding? Making up lies to skip work because I have the ‘flu’? Puking on other people’s clothes, wrecking my car? Making an ass of myself and having to apologize to lots of people the next day? Ruining my marriage? No, I don’t miss that at all.”

“Huh. Well, I think I’ll have that beer. You want that Coke?”

“Yeah. How many of those beers do you drink, say, in a week?”

He bristles. “What? Are you judging me now? You’re the one who’s the alcoholic!”

“No, no, no. I don’t judge anybody. I was just curious. You don’t have to tell me.”

“I not ashamed of anything. I drink, oh, maybe a case a week. If I go out with the guys, I get kinda loaded. But I only drink beer when it’s hot. Well, sometimes in the winter, you know, watching the ballgame. Normally, I come home and have a couple of highballs before dinner, and some wine with the meal, and maybe an after-dinner drink or two. But, I could give all that up if I wanted to. I’m not an alcoholic. I just like it, so why should I give it up?”

“No reason I can think of. You think you could go just a weekend without any alcohol?”

He laughs again. “No problem. Piece of cake. I could do it this weekend. In fact, just to show you that I don’t have an alcohol problem, I think I will.”

“Okay. How about a little bet. Let’s say if you go two days without any alcohol, I’ll buy you and your wife a dinner. You choose the restaurant. And vice-versa.”

This time he really laughs. “Oh, buddy are you gonna be in for it. I’m making reservations at Pano’s and Paul’s. And…I’m gonna order the most expensive wine they have. This is gonna cost you big time.”

“Oh, yeah. I’m sure it will. Just let me know on Monday how you did. No lies, gotta tell the truth. If, you know, by some chance you don’t make it, I’ll be glad to take you to some meetings that I know about. Now…can I have that Coke?”


About johnbeckmanbooks

John Beckman, a retired meteorologist, was known as “Johnny the Weatherman” in a career that spanned forty years. He forecasted the weather on WSJS-TV in Winston-Salem, NC, at WFGA-TV in Jacksonville, FL, and for thirty-three years in Atlanta at WSB-TV and WXIA-TV. Also a well published author Beckman now devotes full time to writing fiction. He currently has several eBooks on Amazon.com, "Tropical Knights," first in a series of adventure/mysteries about a sailor and his lovely CIA cohort on a mission to save America. Now available the sequel, and second in the series: "Tropical Daze." The third Jack & Amy adventure is "Tropical Rage" which became available on 30 April 2014. All of his books are highlighted on http://johnbeckmanbooks.com and available from Amazon.com. . .
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