Saturday, January 29, 2011

You Are Alcoholic, Yes?

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

For the last week, Nicky has been taunting me with a phrase... "You are alcoholic, yes?"

The phrase rolls off her tongue in a deep faux-Arabic accent. I smirk when she says it. Ever time. At first it started as an inside joke when I returned from the Bahamas a rum junkie, but now we're both starting to wonder if there's some hidden truth to the one-liner. At this point, we laugh out of terror.

That line originally appeared in a movie called Live from Baghdad, an HBO produced film about how CNN got their big break covering the first war in Iraq. Michael Keaton played a CNN producer and at the beginning of the film, he loaded up on booze in a duty free shop in Rome before trying to clear customs when he landed in Iraq. The customs agent was baffled with the multiple bottles and uttered in broken English, "You are alcoholic, yes?"

It's at the 6:55 mark here...

In a less than ironic way, the film came up in conversation on Friday. Nicky and I were watching Al Jazeera as a last ditch effort to get any up to date info on the Egyptian riots, meanwhile CNN was showing fluff about Charlie Sheen's coke-fueled bender and histrionic footage of the space shuttle Challenger explosion on its 25th anniversary. A lot has happened in 2 plus decades -- CNN used to be on the cutting edge of breaking news and now it's become the USA Today of the alphabet news networks. Oh have the mighty fallen. So much for the media being out Watchers.

Back to the booze...

I undertook an experiment and pretended that I was a retired writer not obsessing over book sales and freelance work. In short, I threw all concept of money and commerce out the window. I wrote when I felt like it (mostly on sports gambling, finance, and revolutions), I listened to a lot of music (new favorite band is Juno What?!), I read a couple of books, I drank like a fish, and I bet a shitload of money on basketball.

Man, the retired life felt... good. Almost too good.

The biggest downside? Well, the hangovers are am obvious bitch, but that's easy to manipulate by simply staying drunk. The heavy downside is the weight that I put on in only one week on the sauce. Then again, who's to say that my body didn't even out after losing over ten pounds after a rough bout with the wook flu. However, it's hard to deny the gallons of high fructose corn syrup, pineapple juice, and rum contributed to an expanding gut. It's no longer a pot belly or beer gut -- it's a rum gut.

Nicky also embraced our new-found hobby of drinking in the afternoons. She's been writing in late mornings and early afternoon, before she switches into online poker mode and she's glued to her laptop grinding out a modest income for a few hours. She welcomed the refreshing fruity cocktails and how I make hers to order. We have different tastes and versions of a Bahama Mama. Nicky prefers more of the Malibu (coconut based rum) than dark rum, while I like only a splash of Malibu and the harder dark spiced rum (although for the early morning eye openers and "shake off the hangover" cocktail, I'll go with more Malibu and less dark rum, but as the day progresses, I'm systematically reducing the amount of Malibu and increasing the volume of dark rum). Nicky is also particular about her mixer -- mostly pineapple juice with a splash of Hawaiian punch to give it a light pink color. I'm the opposite when it comes to mixers -- maybe it's the ghetto kid in me who likes mostly Hawaiian punch with a splash of pineapple juice or lemonade, or maybe it's because I can't bring myself to consume pink drinks and like the darker reds instead.

Talk about flashbacks while writing this post... because I haven't drank Hawaiian punch in almost twenty years it seems, but now, I have a few huge ass gallon jugs of it in my kitchen along with metal cans of Dole pineapple juice with two holes punched in the top: a smaller air hole and a larger pour hole.

I felt like I was walking on air when I was able to score a 1.75 ML bottle for $17. I saved $8 with my VONS card, which is under the name Page McConnell. For you non-Phishead readers, Page is the piano player from one of my favorite bands. And Page saved me $8 on the extra-large bottle of Malibu so I didn't have to worry about running out of rum supplies over the weekend. Now, I can hole up in the apartment and drink myself silly while betting on a slew of basketball games and procrastinating to write the only freelance assignment that I got in the last two weeks. I should be more enthusiastic about writing it consider it's the only bit of work I've been offered in this slumping economy (in addition to pricing myself out of the running because I won't accept anything less than my rate, which excludes me from writing from like 95% of all poker media outlets because they don't want to pay top dollar for content any more and rather hire monkeys to re-write press releases, but that's a rant for another time).

As is, I should be writing that assignment right now instead of this -- shit, the non-boozy me would have completed the assignment within 25 hours of getting it, but I'm on my own time, in my own rum-drenched world, and the lackadaisical "island time" that drove me nuts in the Bahamas has officially taken over my world. Much to the delight of my friends I might add because almost all of them are heavy boozers themselves, many of whom are admitted alcoholics. They've welcomed my rum phase with open arms, sort of like I just joined an exclusive country club.

Man, it's only 10:30am and I'm already itching for a drink. I have that dull headache that wraps around my head creating a line in the middle of my forehead that I have to rub to dull the pain, but I keep telling myself that I will wait until noon to start drinking and write as much as I can before noon and then I can sweat all of my bets and made snide comments as I watch Nicky play online poker.

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