YEAR OF THE DRUNKARD
(In order to read this article in the L.A. Times, I had to undergo a very annoying registration process, so I'm sharing highlights of the article with all of you. You're welcome.)
Apparently, it's the Year of the Drunkard. At least in Denver, the home of Modern Drunkard Magazine, where drinking and smoking on the job is encouraged.
Denver's apparently quite a center of intoxication:
Men's Health magazine this year listed the city as the most "intoxicated" in the country — based on numbers of alcohol-related accidents and deaths due to alcoholism. Denver Mayor John W. Hickenlooper owns seven bars, and Republican Pete Coors, whose beer factory sprawls just outside the city, made an unsuccessful run for the Senate in November.
If my name was Hickenlooper, I might drink a lot too.
[Editor Frank Kelly] Rich revels in the retrograde excess of his magazine. The way he sees it, reality is so awful, why not get drunk?"People always say, 'If you drink, your problems will still be there in the morning,' " he said. "That's like telling a guy going to the Bahamas that in a week, he'll be right back where he started. Well, for a week, he'll be gone."
He's got a point. Never have I gone to the Bahamas and not come back. But while I was gone, I was gone. Boy, those drunk dudes know how to structure an argument. Is it any wonder they ran the high school debate team and are now corporate lawyers?
Those in the business of battling alcohol abuse find such sentiments appalling."Drinking at the level they promote and saying it's good for you is baloney," said Sam Zakhari of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Md. "Some people benefit from moderate drinking — one drink a day for a woman, two for a man — but you can achieve the same result through good nutrition and exercise."Rich shrugs off the naysayers and routinely savages groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, whom he sees as neo-prohibitionist killjoys secretly bent on banning alcohol."We don't advocate drinking and driving; that's a dumb thing to do," he said. "But they have gone too far."MADD National President Wendy Hamilton says her group is anti-drunk driving, not anti-alcohol. She calls Modern Drunkard "just plain stupid."
Methinks Wendy's onto something. It does sound like Modern Drunkard Magazine is a funny concept gone stupid. As anyone who's ever been drunk in college can tell you, the two often overlap, but one does not necessarily equal the other. Any comedian worth his salt will parrot the maxim "Smart is funny." For instance, use of increasingly intricate vocabulary words while intoxicated=funny. Vomiting on my shoes=stupid. See the difference?
Rich goes on to call drunks "an oppressed minority." (See? Now that's funny. And delusional. Which often do go together.)
My favorite paragraph:
Rich freely admits he's an alcoholic and frequently blacks out. Regular exercise and vitamins, he said, keep him fit."I drink about eight drinks a day and maybe 30 on a heavy day," he said cheerfully. "But as long as I remain healthy and happy, I have no intention of slowing down. I mean, when you have something good going, you stick with it, right?"
Ah, the intricate theory of an intoxicated intertia. I would like to know what his exercise regimen is for the day after he drinks thirty drinks on a heavy day. Maybe it's a little weight-bearing exercise program Richard Simmons might call "Hurling to the Oldies." Or perhaps it's a cardio-weight-lifting combo like this one:
1) Tense body in anticipation of regurgitation.
2) Bolt to bathroom, making sure to reach your optimum heart rate.
3) Tightening your abs, lower your torso over the toilet.
4) Purge your stomach of toxins.
5) Tightening your abs again, carefully lift your torso up until you are standing straight up.
6) Wash hands, rinse mouth, and return to bed.
7) Do 12 reps of this exercise.
It's a given that his wife's a bartender. And the article mentions that he thinks drinking is "conducive to a happy family life." Good thing the couple has no children: whiskey and apple juice look alike. All you need is one mistake, and you've got a wasted toddler on your hands. OK. So that's not funny. Maybe I need to end with something else. Maybe if the magazine spawned a ludicrous movement--a book contract or a convention or something...
Rich is also writing "The Modern Drunkard Manifesto" coming out in November, published by Riverhead Books. A Modern Drunkard convention is planned for Denver in May.
(Ah! There it is!)
Thank you very much, and don't forget to tip your waitresses.