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There’s something about Sunday night
that really makes you want to kill yourself
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005


This weekend, I couldn't put down Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood. I was enthralled. It was first a love letter to alcohol, then a cautionary tale. (All in all--a memoir.)

I must admit, her first words about alcohol put me in the mind to have one more drink than usual. I remembered the softening, the expansion, the glow of alcohol hitting my brain. The way I throw my head back and laugh deeply, instead of quiet smiling. I thought about how gathering over beers is a good way to end the week, or to bond with new friends.

And then I went out Sunday, to a tavern, to drink two Blue Moons and meet Tim's cast. I wish I could achieve the same relaxed state without alcohol, but I'm not going to lie about it: I also just love Blue Moon, so I'd probably drink it even if it weren't fermented. The next day, I was in agony. Obviously I don't drink frequently enough if two beers--two!--are going to slay me, and mightily. My head ached all day, despite fountain coke, a greasy lunch, and many ibuprophens. (Not to mention that my allergies--to dust! Not alcohol!--are heightened by drinking, so I couldn't breathe in addition to the hangover.)

It made me reflect on a different part of Smashed, where she talks about binging five to six nights a week. I just can't imagine. I've never even been able to get through hair of the dog, for the thought of more alcohol after a night of excess makes me swear off it for days. The craving leaves me--my own refractory period for the next drink. It's worse as I get older, of course; I remember partying to oblivion in college, and feeling no worse for the wear the next day.

I suppose I'm lucky that the joy of excess does not continue to be lure enough to make up for the recovery time. But I can understand the author's love. The way she described her painful shyness and insecurity in high school, that could have been me. I think the things stopping me from going down her path were a healthy (un?) love of maintaining control and a strong group of friends who did not drink. (I would also include parents who would have allowed me a drink with dinner, but it seemed like the author's parents were as permissable, but it didn't make a difference one way or the other.)


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