August 8, 2014
After a night of serious drinking, I woke up not with a hangover, but with incredible insight into my blissful state of drunkenness. First things first, I reached for my turntable and put on side one of André Jolivet’s “ Chamer Music for Oboe and Cor Anglais.” I’m very fond of “Serenade" (version for oboe and piano) which is the first cut. It lures me into a state of writing, which is incomprehensible after last night’s adventure with the bottle. One of my favorite and inspirational drunks is Dr. Bob, who was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous with Bill W. I think what impressed me is that his expertise was Colorectal surgery, and throughout his life as a doctor he had to overcome his drunkenness as well as being sober for operations. He tried various methods to stop drinking, but failed. Sometimes he could stay on the wagon, but it was usually too difficult for him. When he met Bill W. that seemed to change his life. Oddly enough, he was provided with a few drinks by Bill W. to avoid delirium tremors and the next day he had a glass of beer, to settle his nerves so he could do an operation. That was his last drink, and he didn't drink from that time till his death at the age of 71.
I always wondered if my alcoholism came from the fact that my father co-wrote only one song, and that one song was written with and performed by Jimmy Witherspoon. It’s called “Lush Headed Woman.” The lyrics go like this:
“I got a lush headed woman, and she stays juiced all the time/Gonna quit that woman and get me a square cause lush headed woman is no where” (lyrics by Wallace Berman)
Which actually is good advice not only for one’s mate, but for yourself as well, if you’re a lush headed man of course. The thing with me, drinking is just an art form of sorts. I’m rarely a sloppy drunk, and only a handful of times have I regretted to drink in public. For instance I have this one painful memory of talking to a girl that I had a deep crush on like forever, and finally I had a chance to sit with her at a dinner party. As I was talking to her, and I was smashed, I accidentally hit my glasses off my face which caused it to fall into someone’s soup - will not just be anyone, but her husband at the time. I tried to hide my embarrassment by acting silly, but it was obvious to everyone that I was out-of-it, and not surprisingly, I wasn’t invited back to these people’s house again. One of the pitfalls of public drinking!