The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Here's to ya!

It is morning in America. Also Canada, Cuba, Venezuela (and the rest of the South America continent). And the beginning of a new day. One with a sad history, it being December 7th, and the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the US into World War II as a combatant.

But I am not going to talk about that except to say that it should not become a footnote in history. Remember Pearl Harbor! Read about it, understand how it came about and how it changed the US forever.

Yesterday I decided that, once again, I would stop drinking alcoholic beverages. I stopped once before. Back in my mid-forties. Now, I didn't stop because I am an alcoholic and needed to retake control of my life. I stopped because my liver told me to. Ok, not my liver... my doctor at that time. It seems that I flunked a routine blood test. One of my enzymes was spiking well above normal.

The doctor explained this after asking me a few questions...

Are you an alcoholic?
Are you a heavy drinker?
Are you in denial?

My answers, of course, were all "no." I qualified that on the second question with a query, "Unless you feel one Gin and Tonic a day, at most, constitutes 'heavy drinking'?"

I don't think he believed me. He wasn't a bad doctor but he had a poor "bedside manner." He seemed to decide I was lying, that I was downplaying my drinking and that I was drinking heavily. Especially after he re-tested me after 30 days without any alcohol whatsoever. The enzyme (and I forget which it was) was still high but just within normal range.

None of this made any sense to me. I am not one who is in denial, never have been. I used to be a "binger", I would go through periods where I drank rather heavily. But that was in my late teens and early twenties. I also took a lot of drugs and did a number of other unhealthy things. After getting out of the Navy, my life changed a bit. I got married, I had a son. I backed off on a number of questionable practices. I kept no alcohol in the house. But I still got drunk on the occasional weekend. Like every one of them.

It was only later in life that I kept any booze around. In my late thirties, early forties. But I was no longer getting blitzed even occasionally. I would have maybe 5 Gin and Tonics a week. Or maybe a couple of beers if we were out with friends. And that "couple of beers" was exactly that: two drafts, two bottles, or two cans. I no longer wanted to wake up with a hangover. My tolerance for them had disappeared.

So, naturally, I took a little umbrage at being seen as an alcoholic or heavy drinker. Still, I figured there was no harm in forsaking all alcohol consumption. That was about 20 years ago. Recently, the last year or so, I began joining in the seemingly mandatory after golf round "couple o' beers" with the guys I play golf with. Before that, I might have had one maybe once a week. I had re-started having the occasional Gin and Tonic, or a glass of wine with dinner. Nothing daily.

But I play golf three times a week. And I have been drinking two to four glasses of beer after each round. That's nothing, you say? Perhaps, if you have a healthy liver. But I do not.

I was chatting with a golf buddy as we headed into the restaurant after yesterday's round. He told me he was no longer going to drink after golf. Seems he was experiencing double vision after have just a few beers. And, since he takes cholesterol lowering drugs, he figured he ought to lay off since those also affect the liver.

Thus, he reminded me of why I had become a teetotaler once before. I had a weak liver. I don't know if I damaged it by alcohol consumption or by any of the chemicals and other intoxicants I had ingested or inhaled to get stoned in my youth. I just know it is damaged and that is enough.

So, I no longer drink. Again. Even though, in the back of my mind is this admonition from Phil Harris that I heard on some TV variety show in the 50's...

(I paraphrase) "I have nothing against teetotalers but I just can't imagine waking up and knowing that's as good as I'll feel all day."

He also said, "I'm going to be around until the Atomic Energy Commission finds a safe place to bury my liver.”

1 comment:

Grant said...

Fortunately my illness doesn't prevent boozing, although one of my former doctors wanted me to quit drinking beer and start taking pills for the pain. If I have to choose my addiction, I'll take the cold frothy one.