Right now I’m drinking a protein shake that I ruined by putting in some sort of green algae superfood powder. I tried to make it more healthy, but I made it too healthy. Now it tastes like shit. Like a chocolate, metal, and grass smoothie. I can taste every one of the essential whatevers in it. The traces of Boron. Copper. Molybdenum. Chlorophyll.
Fuck it. At least I’m not actually eating grass. I’m not having to eat grass because the Cossacks have burned the crops and raped our cows. So it technically could be worse. See how I fixed that? “It could be worse” is like a magic wand. Now this shake is delicious!
That’s at the core of my survival mechanism. “It could be worse.” Instilled in me from my parents. And I guess one more thing I should appreciate them for. I don’t know if it’s a Lithuanian thing. Seems like it. I’ll ask some friends. I’m pretty sure it is. At least from the war refugee crowd and their off-spring.
It was the closer for any shit storm my family had to go through. Somebody would say, “It could be worse,” and we’d call it a night. Clock out. At least now you could brush your teeth and go to bed. I imagine it’s a form of gratitude. At least some distant cousin of it. It doesn’t work so good in jail. But sometimes you can use it in a hospital emergency room. Tie up the evening’s festivities with an “It could be worse.”
“The more you bitch, the more God will give you something to bitch about,” was another of our cozy sayings. I still stand by it. It seems to be true. At least in my personal experience. I don’t know if it’s some cosmic truth.
Like “Nobody likes a pants-pisser in their bomb shelter.”
As insensitive as that one may sound. There’s some folk wisdom there, albeit of the rough-hewn and gnarled variety. Basically, panic begets more panic. And then nothing gets done. To fix things. You have to keep your head and not cave into The Fear. That’s how they made it through the war in Europe. That’s how they made it here when they came. They didn’t shit themselves.
They Didn’t Shit Themselves; An American Success Story.
Anyway, it’s a tradition I’ve tried to uphold.
It’s a lot easier now that I’m not drinking my weight in beer. You know, deftly navigating my ship, The Rocinante, through the Stormy Seas of Destiny.
And holding my mud.
I’ve actually gotten a little braver without alcohol. It’s taken some time, and then even more time to see it, but I think I’ve made progress.
It’s not like I’m ready to hold the pass at Thermopylae, but I don’t have to drink a six pack before opening my bills anymore. Or need to drink eight beers to prime myself for the next beer run. And now (may the heavens tremble at my might) I can kiss a girl with no beers at all. I mean for me. She’d still have to be hammered out of her skull.
So yeah, it’s nice, this whole not being too-drunk-to-deal-with-it-all deal. And, no matter how terribly I may being dealing with it all, at least I’m not dealing with it drunk. Because chances are my sober fucking-up would look like water-walking compared to my drunken version.
Of dealing with it all.
It’s an advantage a recovering alcoholic has over the normal person. No matter what our shortcomings, if we stay sober we always have some golden straw to grasp. Right? At least that. At least I’m still sober.
Have some normal person throw that one out. See who golf claps him. Big deal. Shut up and have a drink.
Of course, there’s always the chance the recovering alcoholic will succumb to his/her fear, and then totally destroy their life in a final drunken death dance.
And that, my friends, is where the normal person regains the advantage.
By not doing that.
When things get tough.
Lucky fuckers. That’s a good advantage.
However, if I do manage to stay sober, well then…I’ve shaved the house’s dice, haven’t I? C’mon lucky seven, Daddy needs a new pair of pants.
He’s crapped this pair.
(See what I did there, Pauly? Craps. Pair of dice. Pair of pants. Nice, huh? I like it)
I don’t know how many of my readers are in some sort of recovery, most probably only from last night’s barf-a-thon, but it’s one of those things ex-addicts and ex-drunks have to do. We have to be grateful we’re not fucked up on our choice of magic carpet ride. You take anything for granted long enough, be it a relationship, a car that runs, or some money in the bank, and chances are that something…is going to slip away.
Sobriety is just one of those things. If you don’t pay enough attention, she can slink off. Her high heels clacking away into the night.
I really don’t want to go back to drinking. So I try to be grateful.
I figure that life can be hard enough just regular. Look, in my own half-assed, duct-taped way, I try to work a program. I pray to the Unifying Intelligence That Binds Creation, meditate on the perfection of The Silence, contemplate the goodness of all souls, work to be less selfish, admit when I’m wrong, try to be a good listener, help when I can, surrender when I can’t, lift weights, stay away from grains, and get enough Molybdenum .
Basic stuff. And for the most part, I live a life filled with a lot of wonder, laughter and joy.
But sometimes… old demons stop by the pad and ask to use the bathroom. Next thing I know, they’re camped out, ordering pizza and pay-for porn. They’re not leaving anytime soon. Then I find myself treading shark-filled ocean, trying to keep my lips just above the water line. I’m barely making it. Barely. And I’m not even drinking.
The last thing I need right then is a bowling ball necklace.
Let’s see how I do with crippled critical thinking. After I impair my judgement. Enough to tap into some creative problem-solving. Become a drunken genius. Now I can save the day with a master stroke. Employ some bold solutions. Just the thing for delicate problems. A sledgehammer. And the blind faith to use it.
So yeah. It could be worse.
And if you’re drinking to solve something, all you got to do is keep it up. And you’ll see.
Because it can always get worse.
And probably will.
So cheers to that.
Sorry for the buzz-kill. I’m out of here.
–By the way, this fucking shake is growing on me. It’s got a weird tang to it. And I appreciate that from a chocolate shake.