Monday, July 7, 2014

Leave It Behind

To my son Tommy,

Saturday, your cousin Emma agreed to babysit while your mom and I met up with Uncle Eric and Aunt Kelly at the local bar around 3pm. It was a continuation of my birthday celebration with a late afternoon cocktail hour. We watched the end of the Orioles game and then hit up the juke box with our drinking songs of yore.

Now I am not sure why the beers were headed down my gullet so quickly. Good friends and good tunes can make that happen. Plus the local bar is walking distance so since I wasn't driving I could throw caution to the wind. But perhaps I was trying to convince myself I could still drink like I did in my thirties when I was tending bar and pretty much drank for a living.

About two hours in, your mother's Crohn's started acting up and she had to leave. Plus she wanted to make sure you were fed and Emma could get home. I stayed with Eric and Kelly till the bar had its shift change. We paid our tabs and I started a new tab with the next bartender. That was mistake one.

There are natural breaks in drinking at a bar. Shift change is one of them. Even if you plan on continuing the night, take advantage of these natural stopping points. Go home and shower up and grab a bite to eat and assess the situation, with the help and opinion of others. Chances are the alcohol will kick in and you will realize that the night is best to continue with a brew or two at home and then bed. I however was once again invincible and did not need a break.

So we stayed on another hour or so. Then Eric and Kelly had to leave to go see a fireworks show. I gave them a hug and I stayed a little bit more. That was mistake two.

When your friends are leaving for the night and you decide to stay behind, you know your decision making is impaired. The reason you came out drinking is walking out the door and you stay to drink, no longer with reason nor cause. Never be afraid to call it a night. You won't miss anything, I promise.

I sure didn't miss anything, or at least not that I know of. I remember hugging Eric and Kelly and saying good night and saying I won't be long and then waking up in my bed the next morning feeling the effects of alcohol poisoning. I had swiped my credit card for the second tab, so I knew that technically I didn't walk out on my tab, but I did not settle up. For all I know, I may have jumped up on the bar and started a rousing rendition of "Yes, Jesus Loves Me" and been "asked" to leave. I wasn't too far behind them leaving as I got home around 8:00 or 8:30. Your mom said when I got home I denied being drunk, then shoved some left over pizza in my mouth like a ravenous dog, and then admitted to being drunk. She said I was pretty comical though evidently I ended the day huffing up the stairs ranting about, "if that's the way you are going to be about it, I am just going to bed!" Though bed was my best option at that point, blaming my early retiring on you rather than admitting my own faults certainly is not fair. That was mistake three.

Babbling and incoherent is no way to be a father nor a husband. Hungover the next day isn't a good way to be either as well. You deserve better and I know better. I used to live by the words from the movie Cocktail where Bryan Brown plays Doug Coughlin and says, "I don't care how liberated this world becomes - a man will always be judged by the amount of alcohol he can consume - and a woman will be impressed, whether she likes it or not." That pretty much summed up my twenties and early thirties. This utterly nonsensical thinking is best left behind to my early years. I can't promise I won't forget myself again, because I will still have a drink here and there on occasion and alcohol has a way of sneaking up on even the best, but I can beg forgiveness for this one night and promise you that I don't plan on recapturing my youth again anytime soon.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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