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THINKING ALLOWED


Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

Beer

North Miami Beach, FL 03-29-2005
A.H. Schectman

I have never been a drinker.  It is not because I could not become one given the right circumstances.  I know that alcohol dependency runs in some families, a way of life devoted to consuming “……. was mother’s milk to me.”  The ellipsis is so you can provide rum, beer, whiskey or some other alcoholic concoction in its place. I have read so many stories of how consuming alcohol is part and parcel of the life of individuals and people all over the world.  The ancient world has shown us evidence that brewing alcohol for consumption by humans was a commonplace practice.

I confess that I have gotten drunk once in my life.  It was a stomach emptying and head busting experience that I have avoided ever since.  I was a teacher in Central High and our annual faculty party was being held in the Robert Treat Hotel in downtown Newark and it was a short walk from Central. There was an open bar and drinks could be had that I had heard about but never tasted.  This seemed to be the perfect time to do some experimenting.  I did not know then and have the feeling that I still do not know that one should not emulate the frontiersmen who downed whole glasses of raw alcohol without a shudder.  I do know that I cannot stand the taste of the “regular” stuff imbibed at parties and particularly sought by those connoisseurs of alcohol consumption.  My “gag” reflex operates so I stay away from the “hard” stuff.

Exceptions are made for almost anything.  So, I must confess that Bailey’s Irish Cream is a favorite of mine.  This is because of the chocolate taste and the fact that it is not often offered to the drinkers in the parties I attend.  So, I generally go without and satisfy thirst with diet colas. That last time I got “high” was when I decided to taste all the available drinks and drank them like water.  I soon began acting strangely by walking a straight line and wearing a lampshade on my head.  Later I got sick while dining at the meal I had saved up for all day and found I needed the necessary room IMMEDIATELY!  I was followed by the Department of Business Chairman who felt a kinship with my agony and held my head and assisted me in this most personal moment.  I spent the rest of the evening in the lobby of the hotel stretched out on a couch in full view of everyone as an advertisement against the demon rum or any other alcoholic beverage.  They eventually persuaded me to get out of there, into my car, and go home.  I had to stop to empty out some more several times and eventually got home without an accident.

What this is all about, however, is that since I have reached 78 years without additional brushes with drinking I have decided to try beer.  It is of the light variety and I even like the taste.  Besides, the Miami Alehouse where we have found a decent menu offers Millers Light at twenty cents less than diet coke.  I have given my self permission to drink beer and limit one to a meal (once a week).

 


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