Not Drinking Caused Me Problems

I don’t drink. I’m not anti-alcohol, I actually don’t like to drink. I do, on rare occasions such as ceremonies, take a small amount of wine. I have also, when working in the hot sun, enjoyed cold, European beer, like Heineken.

The problems come in when other people like to drink. I was working in advertising creative for 30 years, and drinking is part of the profession. I don’t like to drink, because of the taste, and the effect it has on me. I just don’t feel good after just a sip. I’ve been told that I lack an enzyme that deals with alcohol. No problem – I don’t like to drink anyway.

I know of a man, now deceased, who was president of a large ad agency. He was a prick. I remember during a heat wave, he walked around the offices without his pants. He just went around in his light-blue undershorts. This same asshole liked to drink at the office. He had a small refrigerator in his office, almost filled with his favourite beer. It was all at the back in the fridge, because the agency had a German beer account. The Canadian beer the asshole liked was at the back, and the client’s beer was visible at the front of the shelves.

Most of the guys above plebe level were often required to stay late to have a beer with the pres. They all had trouble with their wives because of the late returns home. I never attended, and this made trouble for me. On one occasion, a junior executive said to me; “What’s the matter, are you too good for us?” Another remarked, “Are you on an AA 12 step program or something?” It’s as though not liking to drink is impossible. On the other hand, when we were away on a company trip, I lit up a joint in their presence. The whole bunch of them shrunk back like they feared the smoke would enter their bodies and render them insane.

I guess it’s each person to its own poison. Those experiences caused me to think about drinking and all its aspects. Many people get mean. Some get weepy. And I also think that many drinkers are ashamed of the habit. Most of the drinking places I’ve seen are dimly lit. Many are populated by hustlers and strippers. The whole environment seems to me like a low-end activity.

I recognize the elegance of good wine with a good dinner, beautifully presented. I’m sure that scene is less than 30% of the alcohol consumption overall. Anyway, I’m glad I never did drink much, and still don’t. Maybe that’s why I’m in pretty good shape at 80. Weed seems to have done me only good; calm moods and reduced pain. Win-win.

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