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Monday, October 16, 2006

Iím running out of things you donít already know about me, but hereís something. I never drank anything alcoholic, all through high school and college when everyone else was bombed out of their minds, until I started working in a childrenís shoe store.

It wasnít the job; it was my boss at the time, as salty a man as Iíve ever known. At the close of each work day, heíd hand me some money and ask me to walk down the block and pick up a six pack. Heíd drink two and Iíd drink one, and heíd take the rest home. I never had a taste for beer before those happy days.

By no coincidence whatsoever, I was never overweight until Iíd been working in that store for a few months. I was a skinny kid, and I never knew what it felt like to put on extra pounds. Now itís hard to remember what itís like without them, because even though I donít drink much any more, I still have the weight. If I had someone to drink with after work, Iíd probably be even worse off. But I donít do the bar scene. Thatís one place I could never get myself to go.

My worst drinking years were in my late twenties and early thirties. I had people around me who encouraged me to drink. Some encouraged me by wanting to drink with me, while others just made me want to get drunk. The pounds I have today are more likely from that era than from those early nights in the back room of the shoe store, as I watched my boss count out the dayís receipts.

16 October 2006

Leaping bunny.

Itís not that I donít drink at all now. Itís just that Iím alone a lot, and I canít justify drinking alone. Iíve seen what drinking just for the sake of drinking does to a person, and to the other people in that personís life. I know how impaired I felt when I drank too much (and I did some things I should never have done). I was never an alcoholic, and I was never tempted by drugs (even though I was in high school and college during the drug-crazed sixties). I claim no moral superiority; Iím just lucky, in a lot of ways.

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After years of exile in Tampa Bay, youíd think Lou Piniella would want to manage a team with a chance of success. Instead, he took the Cubs job, and although itís a prestige position, that team does to managers what it does to its fans. Most of them will live out their lives in frustration and die before their team makes it to the World Series. In a way, though, Iím glad to see Piniella off the market, because I knew he was being considered as the possible new Giants manager, and I donít think heíd be a good fit here.

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One year ago: Drift
"Floor space! Who knew?"

Two years ago: Exemption
"Or maybe I just didnít want it enough, because I didnít really try very hard."

Three years ago: Empty Pockets
"Tonight he was shutting himself in the bottom cabinet of the entertainment center, then throwing the doors open and yelling, 'Ta da!'"

Four years ago: Kaleidoscope
"Look at the pretty colors. Please make them stop."

Five years ago: Stolen Time
"The birds must know that winter is coming, but they didn't show it today."

Six years ago: Represent
"We have incomplete pictures of each other, but the more we try, the closer we come to filling in the blanks."

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