Cycling and Football Vs. Drinking

Drinking, especially the noncompetitive variety beats both Cycling and Football hands down in my humble. I played what we Yanks (actually I'm from Texas where that word means, forget it) call soccer when I was very young and I've ridden a bike since I was a "wee lad" as well. And yes I've enjoyed both to a certain extent, though really the best part of footie for me was the donuts that we had afterwards, a custom that I seriously doubt is part of football rituals anywhere else in the world, and certainly not in the professional sport. Riding bikes is a blast, though I always preferred the cruiser bikes, old-fashioned style bikes that allow you to sit upright, to the "real bikes" where you have to crouch over your handlebars. I like to take my time on a bike and look at the scenery I'm passing, to cruise as it were.

I never understood the whole sub-culture surrounding bikers, the funny outfits, the strange shoes, the running in groups. There was a group of cyclists that lived on the same dormitory floor as me my freshman year in college and they did indeed seem a strange bunch. It really was a completely different culture, even when not in their cycle gear they seemed to have their own dress code and manner of speaking. They were always together, and hairless. Anyway my point is that neither Cycling nor Football has ever given me the sheer pleasure, or comfort for that matter, that I've derived from drinking; be it beer, liquor (whiskey preferred) or wine (especially nice with meals).

My first drink was beer, my first drunk was wine, later in life I moved on to sample various liquors. I've since settled in to whiskey as my favorite. There's something about the warm glow that it provides, the sense of well being, the "amber current" that Willie sings of in Whiskey River, that I have not been able to find in other liquors. I'm not a snobbish drinker; in fact I usually mix my whiskey with coke. If money is available I'll pick something nice, if not I'll settle for some ole rotgut and just go easy with it. You have to know about electricity and body chemistry, your own limits and a bunch of other nonsense that Lou Reed used to go on about it, if you're gonna do it right and emerge unscathed (look how it worked out for Lou). It's an activity that's fun alone or in groups. And you can drink all year round in any kind of weather, indoors or outdoors. Personally I like my whiskey best in the winter, maybe a little gin or tequila in the summer and beer all year round, though a lager is better for the warm months. There's something about the comfort and solace that can be found in a good bar; a salt of the earth quality, camaraderie based on mutual understanding. A place where you can be alone and with other people at the same time, and no one will ask too many questions. Most the bars I've been in seem to have a certain etiquette based on the central idea of minding your own business. It's a general decency and respect sadly missing from other human arenas.

Drink seems to bring out the essence of an individual: what they spend the rest of their time trying to hide. There are the people who get weepy and fall apart, those who get unbelievably annoying and abrasive, the ones that get violent and always want to fight, the ones that just get happy, and infinite more varieties. My favorite is the type that remains virtually unchanged, maybe just a little more talkative and a little wobblier, you know then that they weren't hiding much to begin with. And Drinkers unlike so many other substance users (I'm looking at you hop head) rarely get self-righteous or pseudo mystical on your ass (present company excluded). Hell even the Nazz was known to liven up the dance with a little magickally produced Red when the occasion called for it. And it if its good enough for the Son of God, who are you to abstain?

© 2003 William Crain