Sunday, May 5, 2013

Day Six: Boddington Brothers, Heeting that Sheet, and why oh why must life be so hard.....

Status: Six days. I’ve run out of both Roman numerals and geriatric chronicled Rocky movies to watch.
Physiology: For most of the day my shoulders, arms and fingers felt “pinched,” as if the vector below my neck was affixed by a clothespin strung out in a spring zephyr, literally hung out to dry. My entire anatomy is gradually beginning to feel lighter; my arms especially feel like chemistry set beakers filled with some sort of helium alloy.

Lots of listlessness again today. Lot of tedium. Paced around my apartment daisy chain smoking aimlessly walking between rooms like a lemming in search of a precipitous ledge.  
I was never bored when I was drinking beer.

A lot of the reason I drank all the time was because I was bored so I figured I might as well traipse down to one of the four taverns within balcony urinating distance from my apartment and squander all my hard-earned third-shift funds on cheaply union made watered down bottles of pilsner because, of course I’m a writer. I’m supposed to be poetically fucked up and deep all the time to ensure that my legacy will endure.

I wonder which is larger— the tome of my liver or the Norton Anthology of 17th century British Literature.
My wit feels like a bathroom air-fresher that ran out of mist three Christmases ago.

 When I’m not listless I feel antsy. Like there’s an ad hoc insect farm scurried beneath my flesh and all these insects with encyclopedia Britannica sounding names are chirping and mating and buzzing before feverishly skittering from one area code of my anatomy to another. Oh, the insects feel like they are wearing braces and are beginning to gnaw their way up and out but never quite make it.

Insomnia has also been a huge factor since when I was a daily drinker I would drink til I passed out and would then wake up and smile and pass out again. Since I instituted this fast of spiritual growth and development I have not slept for more than four hours a night except at my moms.

I realized today that I’ve had almost no friends commit to not drinking without being court ordered mandated to do so by either being manacled with a bracelet, a breathalyzer car starter, DUI, or jail time.

Oh why oh why must life be so hard?


Operation decimation of pending middle-aged beer gut: Ran to work tonight (about one mile). Ran home. 100 fetal-curved gut-annihilating crunches with fingers cradled behind back of neck capitulated in the universal stance cosigning surrender.  Also juiced for the first time in about a month.  Nothing beats a pulpy concoction of cucumbers, celery, green apple, garlic clove, carrot with just a splashed teardrop of squeezed lemon chugged into your system to reaffirm that you have been living way too much off of frozen boxed pizza and Budweiser the last three years. The concoction is yummy but it also kind of looks like something Bruce Banner deposited in a plastic vial for the annual Stan Lee superhero sperm drive, blowing his incredible-avenger oriented wad while thinking about a bikini-clad Betty Ross.

 Hulk Horny.
My goal eventually is to be a vegan on days I work but that’s way down the linoleum tiles of the organic produce aisle so to speak.

Monopolized the bulk of a balmy spring day cleaning out my apartment which, even though the majority of  beer cans have been picked up and recycled, still kind of resembles the aftermath of an expired kegger  at Barnes and Nobles—books and manuscript and heaps literati errata scattered everywhere in tsunami debris faltering fashion. Then went for a walk through downtown Peoria. It was hard traipsing past the Locker room with their daily six dollar build-your-own burger accompanied with a two dollar 24 oz. PBR or Hoops because everything on Hoops menu just hits the  heterosexual- hot sauce gourmand g-spot on the male palate. I felt no loss when I stared at the lost lacunae of saloon stationed buildings where Big AL’s and CLUB JAGER  previously resided but did feel a subtle ache of nostalgia as I ambled past Ulrich’s (which will always be Sullivan’s to me) and thought about all the British ales I usually quaff this time of year while reading Chaucer and Boccaccio in Spring. Beers like Samuel Smith and Old Speckled Hen and Old Peculiar and anything  stouty by Mackenson or Bitter by Fullers or ST. Peter’s which is served in a medicine bottle and is one of the crispest IPA’s my lips have ever had the privilege of making out with.
Beers that bear obscure rugby team logos for their emblems. Beers like Abbots ale and Ruddles and even old Hobgoblin, which,  Wychwood brewry chided the White house when Obama stated that he would drink the gratis libation  gifted to him from the British Prime minister chilled and not room temperature as is the anglophile norm. Beers that are reminiscent of British countryside whose texture and hue Thomas Hardy described as, “the most beautiful colour that the eye of an artist in beer could desire; full in body, yet brisk as a volcano; piquant, yet without a twang; luminous as an autumn sunset; free from streakiness of taste; but, finally rather heady."       

But the beer I yearn for the most this time of year is Boddingtons. Boddingtons which looks like an albino Guinness when poured. Boddingtons with its buttery head of shaved froth, gas bubbles pinwheeling in expired orbs as it settles. Boddingtons which comes with a rattling widget and has a beseechingly smooth finish which beckons the patron to slap down a few pounds and buy another round. Boddingtins which I always imagined was what a ‘Butter beer’ looked like circa Harry Potter renown.
Boddington’s which was first served in Peoria at Jimmy’s on Farmington road in the late nineties if not before where I used to drink with my good friend Doug M’gnbu, where we were dubbed the ‘Boddington Brothers.’  
 I met Doug when I was working at Bradley University in 2003. Doug was from Ghana and was studying for a semester at BU. He was a long distance runner and I ran with him a couple of times. He had a beautiful lush baritone bassoon for a voice and a smile that looked like it was chiseled from pirated ivory illegally entering China.  When he pronounced my name it was “Dahv-veed.” When he said the word ‘look’ it sounded like the name Luc. ‘Hit,’ would idiomatically become ‘Heat.’ When he would curse  the word ‘shit,’ would become ‘sheet.’

You get what I’m saying.

Ten years ago Bradley students (mostly spoiled sunburnt suburbanly groomed 20 year olds with ersatz i.d.’s) would get dressed to kill sliding down Farmington Hill in roving party vans on Thursday nights hitting Crusen’s first if they could get in before dancing at the Lucky Lady which would serve anyone who looked old enough to play ski ball at Showbiz. The night would almost always conclude at Jimmy’s across the street where Doug and I would sit for hours, imbibing Boddingtons, talking about soccer, talking about international affairs, ogling the girls as they stumbled in short skirts from the Lady into the shamrock cigar box that is Jimmy’s Pub.

One night when Doug and I were sitting talking to Vince when the fine ladies of PHI BETA TAM PON stumbled in and my hormonally addled trenchant lips commented aloud that I  wanted to ‘hit that shit.’

Doug immediately got confused.
“Dah-veed,” He said, beautifully bruised deep voice. “Why you say you want to beet-up woman?”

What?” I ask, perplexed. Doug points at the girls.
“You say you want to heat that sheet. Why you say you want to heat?”

I get confused. I take a bewildered sip of my Boddingtons. I then realized that Doug was talking about my colloquial.
“Oh, that’s just something American guys say if they are horny and want to get with a girl.”

“Really?” Doug’s eyes bobble in his skull like beer pong balls.
“Yeah,” I say trying to explain the uncouth custom of the American male, taking another swig, “Instead of commenting to your guy friends prosaically stating that ‘ this girl is really hot and I would like to go home and fornicate with her,’ we summarize that statement by saying ‘I wanna hit that shit.”

 “Wow!” Doug says again, excited.

 Come here, I’ll show you how it’s done.”

 I order eight Jager bombs (God whatever happen to those) and we sit next to the girls. Twenty minutes in everyone is laughing and Doug begins to give one girl a foot massage. He then looks in my direction and, in front of the modest Ladies of PHI BETA TAM PON wildly proclaims, in his beautiful bassoon sounding  patois:
 “Dah-veed! Luc!! I am Heating that Sheet!!!
Doug continued to smile.  Judging by the scowling gloss dripping off their lips the sorority girls’ were far from amused.

Midway through the composition of the paragraph directly north of this sentence I began to experience the worst withdrawal-related 'shakes' so far into this sojourn. It felt like my nervous system was trying to be jumpstarted only the jumper cables were conveniently connected to a surfeited outlet in Chernobyl. My arms seem to be involuntarily flapping even though I was unable to move. My entire body was Vesuvius only no lava would sporut.

I shook for twenty minutes. My chest became numb. I lied petrified in the center of my carpet.

I needed booze. One beer. I live fifty steps from the Owls Nest. I have plenty of money on me. One beer not as an aesthetic to get drunk. One beer as an antidote. A Pabst Blue ribbon panacea. One beer to stop all this shit. One beer to allow me to harness my limbs and get control of my body.

One fucking beer.

Without thinking I got up from my curled posture and headed towards my front door.

It was time to say the hell with this succulent sobriety shit and drink again.


The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the Strong, nor riches to men of understanding, yet time, fate happens to them all.

I refrained from walking across gutter Waverly avenue and slamming a quick beer for solace.
 Instead, I shook alone for another twenty minutes.

I sweated and was numb and was all alone.
And then it was gone.

And I went back to writing.


This blog has meant different things to a number of diff readers over the discourse of the past week, all of whom I'm grateful that they are escorting me on this journey. Some have suggested that the reason I chose sobriety was that I was just mining for topics to write about. A lot of my friends who have COMPLETELY changed their lives around by choosing sobriety have insinuated that this forty days is just a strip tease since, in all likelihood, I probably will get shitfaced off of all of those delectable beers mentioned above sometime in the next year. Conversely, my beer drinking buddies, bros who have my back no matter what, have been avoiding me since they know how serious I am about completing this trek. I even missed one of my best bros birthday's last week because he knew if I showed up the two of us would just drink like there is no tomorrow and all would be right in the world.

The reason I am giving up the sauce for forty days has nothing to do with sobriety. It has to  do with growth. Over the last nine years' I have drank more than anyone I know. I have squandered thousands of dollars a year. I have slept with everything. Have drank everything. Have worked countless hours of overtime. Have always tried to find peace and have always failed.  And if this fast will make me a more giving writer, a better partner to my future spouse someday, and a better human being--i.e, if this sojourn of leaving the substance that I love will lead me to the life I desire by transforming the beer guzzling creature that I am into the man I yearn to become than I say game on.

Bring on the fucking shakes.

Bring on Day 7.

Yes, Doug,
 Sobriety…I am heating that sheet.

I am hitting that shit.

At least for the next 34 days.  




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