The bell jingled above me as I walked into the liquor store. It was a tiny local dump. Twice as big as it was when I turned twenty-one, and still more expensive than everywhere else. I had nothing in mind. Just something to wet my mouth and numb my brain.
Half a step in the door and I caught myself looking at the “clearance rack”. With a moment’s hesitation, I snatched a dusty bottle of Black Bush off the shelf.
Irish whiskey is not my default. It’s too sweet, too easy, and too accessible. Beginners drink Irish whiskey. Everyone else watches over the rim of their glass.
“Hey, chief . . . lemme get two shots a’ Jam-o an a’ Heineken . . . “
Irish whiskey falls into the upper end of a category populated by Fireball and Jaegermeister. Before that it was Black Haus and Rumplemintz. Liquor that tastes like anything but liquor.
At 4:37 PM on a Friday, I didn’t care. If my best options were sobriety or a discount bottle of shelf whiskey, why should I care who else drinks it? Besides . . . douchebags aren’t paying the markup for Black Bush. They’re doing well when they step up from Busch Light.
More than anything, the bottle reminded me of an Irish bar in Washington where I spent a lot of long days and late nights.
. . . According to my bank statements . . .
St. Patrick’s Day was technically over. Not that it mattered. I have never been a fan of that fatuous excuse for assholes and amateurs to puke on themselves. I go out of my way to avoid the general populace for an entire week leading up to the unbearable event. If I wanted to hear “Cadence to Arms” and “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced” on loop, I could go to any bar in Albany on a day.
No one drinks to stay sober. Anyone who tells you different is lying to themselves. There is no need to make excuses for drinking. Whether you’re alone in a crowd, or in the good company of your own thoughts, drinking is just drinking.
I paid for the bottle, cracking a joke as I left about turning it into “expensive piss”.
Life is a sobriety optional event.