I never used to drink. Growing up, the most I ever had was a single cup of hard cider once upon a time. Never drank, didn’t smoke (tobacco) or other otherwise…I hated hardcore punk but lived a straight edge lifestyle.
Of course, nowadays that’s changed. We all acquire a few vices as we get on in years. Very few people go through life with a few blemishes on their character (those who do are called saints for a reason.) But alcohol was something I came late too (and even today I rarely have more than a glass of wine or pint of beer in a single 24-hour period.
I started with wine. California white zinfandel, to be precise – one step up from mildly alcoholic water, truth be told. Then onto more worthy vintages…once glass at a time. Takes me a week sometimes to finish a bottle, but some things (like a fine vinho verde) are meant to be enjoyed at leisure.
Beer took longer. I never liked the taste of hops, and thr first real beer I ever had was a skunked Pabst Blue Ribbon at a frat party my freshman year – this was back in the days befofre PBR acquired ironic hpster cred and was still regarded as cheap suds bought in bulk by those on a budget. I can still taste the sour horror that vile brew inflicted on my mouth, the insult to my virgin taste buds. Cthulhu in a can by way of Milwaukee. After that, beer dead was dead to me for a long time.
I tried, I really tried. Lager. Porter. Ale. Even Guinness. All poison to my lips. I remember one night trying to choke down an ice-cold Corona. So cold it had no taste…yet consuming it took a sheer act of will. We were in the middle of a craft beer revolution and I may well have been on Mars for all the good it did.
Then one day, one glorious day, I was in a coffee bar in Brooklyn. It was hot, I was thirsty and it was happy hour. I ordered a pint of Genessee Cream Ale and figured it would be an endurance test like all other drinks in the past. But the moment that glorious brew filled my mouth, a switch flipped somewhere in my cerebellum. Angels descended from on high, blowing sweet music into my ears, as the gods of alcohol finally chose to bestow enlightenment. Aha! I realized then and there. Now I get it!
Since then, I can drink beer. But whiskey remains a problem. From the cheapest rotgut to the finest small batch bourbon, it all tastes like turpentine. Which is an annoyance given that we are now in the midst of a craft whiskey boom (and one of best friends rocks a sweet hip flask which he never tires of displaying) and all that sweet water of life remains stubbornly out of reach. Hopefully one day I will come across the one magic key, that secret sip which flips another switch, making it palatable. One day…one glorious boozy day.
So, what does this have to do with fantasy? Not a damn thing. Just a change of pace, a mild detour into another subject of mild interest. Have a drink and think about it…