I was an early starter with my two most painful addictions. Love and romance have plagued me since kindergarten. The need for my proton to find an electron had complicated an already miserable existence. No womanizer I, but rather, a wistful troubadour, easily mislead by the competing siren songs of so many different, beautiful, and deadly creatures. As I strolled along in my youth, dreamily strumming my lute in madrigal abandon, I’ve had more than enough opportunities to get my short-hairs scorched by the dragons I mistook for damsels in distress. The fact that I was so greedily quaffing ale by the goblet, insured my mistakes were oft-repeated.
Thrice and fourscore badly burned, does not insure a lesson learned.
So as you saddle up for more, make sure you know who is the whore.
These were some of the iambic spondee couplets that I’d write to win m’ lady’s hand. (Which is exactly what I’d wind up having to settle for.) The springs of my poetry flowed from a well-watered well, and the flowers of my art grew from a ground well-fertilized. Given all this drunkenness and bullshit, I knew my relationships came with an expiration date. From the moment a woman opened the door to let me in, a timer began to ticketh. Hence the haste in which I fumbled with my lute while I crooned my mating sonnet song.
I really didn’t have game. I did have two things going for me though. I appealed to bargain hunters looking for a fixer-upper, and I was easily manipulated by guilt. I also had some stories that were funny the first time you heard them. That’s about it. Every little girl’s Prince Charming. Oh sure I was a little thirsty, but that will go away once I get deeply involved in a committed relationship. Just don’t get too attached to things like heirloom china, your credit rating, or your sanity, and it will be like a dream come true. Girl meets drunkard, drunkard reeks havoc in girl’s life, girl leaves drunkard, drunkard makes any next man seem like the great love of her life. Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a dream…
While I did not have game, I did have a game. I used Scrabble as a tool for seduction. Why? Because women have good intuition about men. The trick is to keep them from listening to it. A man with money can lure a woman away from her common sense with a few crumbs in the direction of Cancun or Cartier. A handsome man can distract her attention from the red flags with a soulful glance and a touch on her arm. A man with neither money or looks might use alcohol to blind his prey, but even I found this reprehensible. It also left me with less to drink. No, I didn’t need to impair her better judgement. I just needed a temporary suspension of it. I had to create a situation in which she’d forget the need to employ it. Why bring pepper spray to a petting zoo? What could be more harmless than coming over to play a wholesome and beloved board game, one the whole family can enjoy?
I learned early on to exchange high scoring tiles and throw the game if it looked even close. One night, Mad Chance (or maybe it was Cruel Fate) had me defeat a very smart girl named Lisa. Not only did I not get any, she made me walk seven miles home. I hadn’t been walking eleven minutes before I was stopped by police. There had been a complaint about a Peeping Tom in the neighborhood. (I later figured out who made that call) Oh fucking great, I thought, I so look the role right now. Black beanie, black leather jacket, black pants and boots. I was about to go down on a perv charge that I was innocent of, that night.
I had trouble with the cops at first. There’s something about the lighting from a police spotlight that gives me stage fright. Being innocent doesn’t always mean you can sound like it. I almost do better with guilt, because I dig down deeper to sell my innocence, at least according to my attorney. As I was giving my alibi, I couldn’t remember Lisa’s address, or even the name of the street she lived on. I didn’t mail her letters, I explained, I just knew how to get there.
Finally, I decided to recount the whole Scrabble incident. I told them how that night I kept winning against a girl who was ten times smarter than me, had a far greater vocabulary, and was sober while I had…around two beers. I told them how she got shit points for her eloquence while I was landing major scores with words like “foxy” and “dong.” Adding insult to injury, I connected my “dong” to her “face” forming “faced” across a triple word score. I knew it would win the game and piss her off, but I couldn’t resist. I laughed and laughed. “Look what I just did! Don’t you get it?”
She got it alright. The fact that I was drunk, dumb, and depraved, and beat her at her favorite board game was hardly an aphrodisiac. As soon as the tiles were back in the bag, my ass was out the door. The cop grinned.
“Listen Officer, I am no angel,” I confided. “And many women have thrown me out of their places, many times, but never because I beat them at Scrabble. It’s a wholesome and beloved board game, one the whole family can enjoy.” He shrugged and said something into his radio. He handed me back my licence. “You don’t know anything about a Peeping Tom?” “Officer, I’m sure there’s plenty of folks around here having more fun than me, why would I want to rub it in by seeing it?” There was some more radio talking, then he got into his car, followed by eight other cops, and drove off. I walked home.
Sometimes even the best plans can’t survive the alcoholic’s contribution. The nicest people start to not like us. It’s a bitter irony that drinking, which I used to help overcome my fear of connecting with people, pushed them away from me. I looked up Lisa on this new social media format thing that the kids are all hopped-up on, and saw that she was married with kids, and looked happy. At least her story ends happily. Mostly because I was no longer around. I was glad and sad. Strange mix. Not my favorite. I like just glad, with maybe a sprinkling of sustained euphoria. Whatever. Sometimes just not being drunk, no matter how you feel, is good enough.