Boozin’ Buddies.

Posted by admin on June 20, 2016 in Randomalities |

While I don’t pretend to have a solution to every malady, or worse, tragedy striking our fair land these days, I do think that this loner culture of ours may be due in part to the fact that we don’t have drinking buddies like we used to.

You know the type. Your drinking buddy. That guy or gal who has absolutely no other life, someone you can call at 6 and by 6:30 they are on the stool next to you at your favorite watering hole.

We seem to have fewer of these in our lives these days. I certainly have had my share over the years: Buckwheat, Big Nick, Animal, Waterrat come to mind. These were my go-tos: people I could call up while on a moment’s notice and they’d beat a path to the bar without a second thought. They had no need to cancel other plans because they probably didn’t have any to begin with.

That’s not to say they didn’t have a life. They just knew their priorities and one of them was to keep their drinking buddy, me, in check.

Under the influence of certain alcoholic substances, we would come up with seemingly endless fiendish plans of foolishness. It could be an overtly called out decision to take the party to the beach in a snowstorm in January or fly to Cayman Brac at the behest of a very drunken female co-pilot. It could be the idea to go home with a lovely lass, only to get the hell out of their when her boyfriend arrived home unexpectedly. Or, after a questionable night of flirtatious tom foolery, waking up next to someone who looks a lot like Mister Ed.

This has all happened to me at one time or another, largely because my drinking buddy had neglected his sacred duties to keep me out of trouble or because he actually convinced me that it was indeed a great idea.

More often than not, though, my drinking buddy was able to correct my often false logic while under the influence. I would say something that seemed sane and he would quickly chime in that I must have been ‘freakin’ nuts’ to think that.

These ‘freakin’ nuts’ moments over the years have kept me from voting for a total loser for president, buying that car that I was sure was a steal (and it probably was stolen), or hitting on a comely lass who was way out of my league.

Yes, my various drinking companions have kept me from making some potentially fatal errors in my life, all because of their inebriated, but sage, advice.

The door swings both ways, of course. I have famously stopped my drinking buddy from making the same errors in his life. At various times I have called him to task, called him on the carpet and called him the next morning to see if he was still alive. I have done so much of this work that I consider myself a Certified Drinking Companion.

This is not an easy certification to acquire. It takes years of study followed by years of practice, followed by more years of being tested night in and night out. It is an arduous process that few can successfully undertake, let alone master.

But I have persevered, even against all odds. I have even managed to weather the dark years when my drinking buddy insisted that we frequent a yuppie bar or a new trendy hot spot. This is not a place to do your best drinking buddy work by any means.

No, you need a dive bar to fully engage in the work. These are the working man bars that open at 7 a.m. and run a tab behind the bar in chicken scratches for the regulars. They are the place that have any beer you like on tap, as long as it Bud, Bud Light, PBR and Rainier.

As a Certified Drinking Companion I would knowingly walk up to the taps and point to the one that I wanted without uttering a word. This was so I could drink all night long without slurring my order and getting cut off. Instead, the pints just kept arriving, as if by magic. My drinking buddy would do the same in our time tested ritual of trying to drink each other under the table, a slightly more civilized version of a dog hiking his leg to mark his alpha status.

Eventually, the crazy ideas would strike and we would consider, reject or ridicule each one as they spilled into the room from our booze-soaked minds. Most of the big ideas never made it past this string of reminiscences, wishful thinkings, bold ideas and stupid thoughts.

A few, however, were spoken into the world and stuck to the walls of our collective brains. From there, they were brought to life, all the implausible angles worked out, the illogical assumptions properly justified and the unworkable details ironed out.

Time for action. Well, time for thinking about action at least. Being that these brilliant ideas struck us around the same time as last call, we couldn’t act on most of them in the moment.

Instead, we would shake on the plan in the parking lot before we wove our respective ways home. We would agree to get a good night’s sleep on it and when we awoke, we would bound into action.

This is where the drinking buddy is key. Waking in the morning, more often than not we didn’t recall the plan at all. If it emerged from the haze, we’d eventually call our drinking buddy and make the vaguest of pleasantries. If he never mentioned the “plan,” we would hang up, thankful that we didn’t have to go through with it. But if he did remember the plan, we’d either tell him that he was freakin’ nuts for thinking about it in the first place and remind him that we tried to talk him out of it the night before. Still we would congratulate him for the boldness of “his” ill-conceived plan and go to our list of alternate drinking buddies for the next adventure later that night.

Thanks to our drinking buddy, the world remained safe from our crazy plans for another day, even longer if we went with an alternate.

In the Emerald City, currently accepting applicants for the next Certified Drinking Companions workshops,

  • Robb

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