09 May 2005

from A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson:
"...And there was this jerk named Dwayne who kept saying, 'Go on, have a beer. You know you want one. One little beer's not gonna hurt ya. You haven't had a drink for three years. You can handle it.'" He looked at me again. "You know?"

I nodded.

"Caught me when I was vulnerable. You know, when I was still breathing," Katz said with a thin, ironic smile, then went on: "I never had more than three, I swear to God. I know what you're going to say -- believe me, everybody's said it already. I know I can't drink. I know I can't have just a couple of beers like a normal person, that pretty soon the number will creep up and up and sprin out of control. I know that. But --" He stopped there again, shaking his head. "But I love to drink. I can't help it. I mean, I love it, Bryson -- love the taste, love that buzz you get when you've had a couple, love the smell and feel of taverns. I miss dirty jokes and the click of pool balls in the background, and that kind of bluish, underlit glow of a bar at night." He was quiet again for a minute, lost in a little reverie for a lifetime's drinking. "And I can't have it anymore. I know that." He breathed out heavily through his nostrils. "It's just that. It's just that sometimes all I see ahead of me is TV dinners -- a sort of endless line of them dancing towards me like in a cartoon..."

So it was Southern Comfort for me, but I can feel what he's saying...I can, and do, drink now and then, but I remember what it was when everything was about the drink. Things certainly seemed simpler then, but they're definitely better now, even when they're at their worst.

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