You won’t remember this. One, because you’re young, and two, I’m not sure how awake you were when we ran into each other last night. We probably both woke up for the same reason- our dogs, Willa and Cash were losing their minds thanks to the neighbor’s drunken decision to taunt his own dog, Shaka, with repeated cannonballs into their pool at 2:30AM. You caught me gathering myself in the hallway, exasperatedly praying for the strength to request that his actions cease without using the phrase “shithead.” Before long, you were back in bed, and my unsuccessful plea for peace and quiet on a school-night led to an hour sitting on the trunk of my car in the driveway, enjoying the cool mid-September air while waiting for the Tempe police to show up and have a go at persuading this young man to sober up. In that hour I got to spend quite a bit of time thinking about sobriety, and the odd role it’s had in my life.
Since age 22, I’ll have a periodic drink. This is VERY late to the alcohol game, especially considering you were snuck your first beer by a drunk and grieving great-uncle before you were a year old. For the most part, I’ve spent quite a bit of time as the “sober guy” at the party. Whether it’s been family functions, or outings with friends, there have been countless times where I have been the sole bearer of the torch of level-headedness in a sea of inebriation. It’s ironic that most of my acquaintances would justifiably deem me least likely to stay out of trouble when no one’s had a drink, but they trust me enough to be the decision maker on the nights they cut loose. The point is this- for various reasons, I feel comfortable around drunk people. Had the dunce next door made the decision to wake up the neighborhood without the aid of libations, I’d probably have just jumped the fence and gotten beaten up in an attempt to let my testosterone govern the night. For some reason, knowing that he’s drunk eases the tension for me- allowing me to justify his idiocy, and almost find comfort in a niche that I’m familiar with.
I always want to be open with you about role a good beer plays in your identity, and how you’re perceived. Never forget that at age 3, you’re already earning a reputation as the life of the party. To my knowledge, you’ve done this without the aid of vodka, bourbon, rum, wine, and tequila. Currently, the only Four Loko in your life is your older brother Micah. If you don’t mind, I vote we keep you away from this stuff for another couple of decades, because I might be good at being around the sobriety-impaired, but it’s a skill that I hope isn’t meant for my relationship with my children.