The Death Of A Journey’s Ghost

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I’ve wrote my fair share here about how I worshipped at the alter of Crown Royal for many years. However, I have never told the story of the journey I thought I was on, the journey where I was looking for the questions to answers I had, and how my journey came to an absolute sudden stop. Over the past weekend I came across a ghost from my not so distant past. I wasn’t looking for the ghost, but I think I was lead to finding it for a reason. I think my finding the ghost let me reflect about the past and how it led me to be where I am today. Over the years I have given alcoholics a very hard time because I don’t believe being an alcoholic is a disease or a disability because it’s absolutely not, being an alcoholic is a choice because drinking is a choice. Personally, at this point in my life I don’t care if a single person agrees with me or disagrees with me, it’s a choice and that’s a damn fact. Oddly enough, I’m listening to “Whiskey In The Jar” by Metallica as I write about all of this. I can’t help it, I like the song, it drowns out the chatter of the conversation happening in Spanish 10 feet away. I didn’t need to be put in a “mood” because I was already there, already at the point where I had opened the wounds far enough where I was ready to write without any struggles. But I am struggling, I struggle with the feelings and emotions that have come out since opening the coffin of my dead journey. The big question y’all might be having is what journey died and how did it die. First of all, the short answer is I didn’t like where my life was going so I killed it dead, then I stomped a mudhole into it, then I kicked the shit out of it, then I burned it until it was a crispy critter,  and then I buried it. Obviously I didn’t kill it or bury real well, I killed it alright, but my burial lacked conviction because I found it or it found me, however one chooses to look at it.

Now, before we begin exploring, let me just add that I’m not glorifying drinking or downplaying alcoholism as a prominent problem in American society. You might here me poke fun or saying derogatory things about both, but they are based on my experience, my observation, and my own opinion. So, with that, let’s start at the end because that is where my actual journey began. When I’m done writing this today this the journey might be over, it might get buried again, and for sure the reminders (triggers) have been dealt with accordingly. So, anyway, I was looking through some boxes in my storage building for a box, which as I found, was un-labeled, that contained files I needed, to include my DD-214 (discharge paperwork) and some other VA paperwork. Back when I packed all this up it would appear that liquor boxes were what I had. Mostly because I worked at a bar, so I always liberated the sturdy boxes. I didn’t know what box the files I was looking for actually looked like because I have slept since that day. As I went through the boxes, opening around 50 or so boxes, I came across a long forgotten collection, I found 3 boxes of Crown Royal bags of mixed and varied sizes. I sat down in my chair and thought damn, this was a slap in the face I wasn’t expecting. Way back when, back in the day if you will, I used to drink allot, you may not actually be able to comprehend how much, just know it was more than the average social drinker. My drink of choice was Crown Royal on ice, and many times I just skipped the ice altogether because I kept my Crown in a freezer. When I was in the Air Force I stockpiled Crown Royal, when I say stockpiled I bought it regularly by the case or two to three cases at a time. It wasn’t because I had parties all the time, it was my personal drinking stock. When I drank with friends I drank what they had and usually allot of tequila.

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I can’t even began to phatheom the amount of Crown Royal I drank just while I was in the Air Force. Need I remind everyone that I built explosives for a living? To this day it still surprises me that I still have all my fingers. When I got my retirement orders I began to really stock up because I knew I would need Crown Royal on the cheap after my departure. I priced it out on the economy and found that I could buy it at the package store on base for right around 1/5 the cost. After I got out I drank as I pleased like there was no end to my supply for around 2 years. I always had an excuse to drink, if there is such a thing. My brother-in-law at the time, married to my baby sister, was an entertainer of sorts. He had a small band that consisted of himself as lead singer and guitar player, his sister who also sang and played keyboard, and her husband who played the drums. On occasion there were other members but my brother-in-law was such a dick that they didn’t stay that long. Anyway, every weekend starting Friday night they would play all the local dive country bars which were all b.y.o.b. (bring your own bottle) holes in the wall in the middle of nowhere at times. I don’t care for the wanging and twanging of country music much but I figured what a better place to get laid than by some drunk redneck girls. It has been my experience that redneck girls can ride for well over 8 seconds. After an ugly divorce I wanted two things in life and only two things, I wanted to drink to forget my own name and I wanted to fuck anyone who didn’t need me to remember her name.

Bonus, I could do as much as I wanted of both and nobody batted an eye at me. Not that it would have mattered because quite simply I didn’t give a shit about anyone’s opinion. About six months after getting out of the Air Force, while working for my father the concrete contractor, I found myself working on the other side of town. After an extremely long day in the heat, humidity, and the hot Texas sun, I was ready to call it quits for the day. Making my way home I drove by a bar with an advertisement I could not ignore, they were have a wet t-shirt contest, and drink specials. I was all over it. When I went in, after paying cover, I was entering the club with a mission, get drunk and find some tail. Bingo! The first thing I saw was a fantastic ass bent over the bar grabbing something from behind. My reaction? I walked up to her and smacked that ass with all my might! She jumped up so fast I almost got whiplash watching her. I knew something was up because it was all happening in slow motion and I was still 100% sober. She looked me square in the eye and TOLD me I owed her some drinks, some dancing, and a good fucking to take her mind off of how bad her ass was stinging. It’s a deal. We drank. We danced, well, she danced, I just moved around in a stuper. We drank. We made out a bit. We drank. Then I took her home, she was special.

We got married a year and a half later. Before that we spent allot of time together, I eventually moved her and her young daughter (1) into my apartment on the other side of town. She got a job and we were moving on. I introduced her to my weekend habit of going out to country gigs and life was one big party. Shortly after we got married, within the first month or so, after a night out partying, I woke up in my own puke. This wasn’t the first time, but I vowed that morning it was going to be the last damn time. And y’all know what? I’ve never looked back. Shortly after that my dad retired, leaving me without a job, so I contacted a friend of a friend of a friend who hired me as their front end bartender. My wife was worried that being in that close contact with alcohol that I would be heading back down the path of least resistance. She had no problem with it being a full nude strip bar but worried about me around all the alcohol. She had always heard it only takes one sip and all hell can break loose.

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Fortunately for both of us I had no interest in the drinking any more. No, I never really quit drinking, but I quit drinking myself just shy of a coma every night. In fact, these days I don’t drink much at all, we don’t go out to bars, and most of my friends are actually family. So far so good. Personally I can’t see myself going back, I know, never say never. What happened to the Crown Royal bags? Currently my mother-in-law has them in her possession. She wanted them to make a quilt for me. I explained I didn’t need a quilt because I don’t want the everyday reminder of what an asshole I was when I was drinking. So who knows what she will eventually do with them. No, there was no Crown Royal remaining, which is unfortunate because that makes an easy Christmas present for most of the people I know.  You’ve heard of cleaning out one’s closet, well this was my version. Oh, I found all the records I was hunting for in the first place. No telling what is in the rest of those boxes, probably shit I don’t need to be seeing anyways.

Worms Are For Pussies

Back in the early 90s I had the rare opportunity to live in northern Japan while serving in the United States Air Force. I had considered myself, in the beginning, a decent drinker. Jack Daniels, Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, Jose Cuervo, and Crown Royal were all my friends whom I knew very well by the time I turned 19. I have a hidden talent that I used to my advantage to win many bets and make a fair amount of money in the process. I have no gag reflex at all and I can breath thru my nose while chugging whatever I am chugging eliminating the need to stop for a breath in the middle. I was born with the talent and honed it in to a fine art by the time I was a teenager. I can remember the first time I drank an entire bottle of Monte Elban Mezcal in front of a group of college kids at a party, worm and all. The looks on their dazzled faces was priceless, but I remember collecting some $300.00 from all the non-believers. Unfortunately, one can never do it in front of the same crowd twice and make any money because nobody wants to take the bet. Lucky for me I got to continue drinking in my style after joining the Air Force since the AMMO careerfield is kinda known for it’s drunken rowdiness all the time. We never needed a reason to drink other than we weren’t working. It didn’t hurt that I could get alcohol for the same price as soda while overseas. Before I get going to far on this post let me explain the picture above. A friend picked this scorpion alcohol up from a street vendor in downtown Misawa. Essentially it is cheap moonshine (riceshine) that is unregulated, unmonitored, and very unsafe to drink from the rumors I heard. Basically the moonshine serves as formaldehyde to the corps inside the bottle which begins to rot as soon as the liquid is poured onto it which poisons the entire contents of the bottle. They say that you have to have big gold plated brass balls to even considering drinking it. You see my bottle still intact even after some 20 years. It goes great sitting up with my shot glass collection.
Over the years I have amassed a sorted collection of things involving scorpions or Scorpio. No reason other than it is a personal fascination of mine personally. There are many things to explore when exploring all things scorpion. The scorpion truly is the most wicked and most understood creature on the planet. Say the word scorpion and people back up and give the oh shit face because fear of the unknown. I used to make a drink called The Scorpion while I was still bartending, a fun mix of gin, dark rum, 151 rum, light rum, vodka, grenadine, orange juice, pineapple juice, pineapple chunks, lemon juice and cherries, and ice. Toss it all into a blender, pour into a tall glass, add an umbrella, and you have The Scorpion. At home, however, it gets a little more adventurous. I have mentioned in the past that I am a huge fan of Mezcal, preferably Scorpion Mezcal Joven since instead of a meal worm at the bottom you get an actual scorpion. On top of that this particular Mezcal is good for doing Scorpion Shots which are not for the casual drinker. My wife finds it amazing that I put the time and effort into finding or creating new ways to be unusual. I think I take that as as a compliment. She thought she would be slick a few years back and buy some 12 Signs Scorpio Pinot Noir. I am not a wine drinker like she is but neither of us actually enjoyed it at all. The bottle was cool so we rinsed it out and on the shelf it went. Goes to show you that some things are indeed a bad idea and that was one f them to say the very least.
When you graduate into different proteins in your shots you will be reminded why worms are for pussies and not the serious drinker. This shot isn’t just for anyone, you have to have a stomach for the Mezcal as well as the scorpion treat that is waiting in the shot glass for you. You would be surprised, I can find these great shot sized scorpions at a local health food place for a rather cheap price. Just remember, it’s just protein and don’t eat the stinger. This is the shot that separates the boys from the men or the sane from the insane or the pussies from the adventurous. This shot isn’t unlike life in the way that it’s full of surprises you won’t soon forget. I look way back into my teenage years and wonder where I would have been if I knew then what I know now about alcohol. Good thing for me, over the years, I have just been able to keep it all just for fun. I have had to learn that just because someone says to drink it doesn’t mean I actually need to drink it. I always will remember the street vendors selling their “whatever” in a bottle and trying to sell it all off as an aphrodisiac or cure all. Certain things just look better on the shelf and serve better to tell a story rather than be consumed. But, I have a standing bet for any brave soul out there. I have $500.00 with your name on it if you chug my bottle of vintage scorpion alcohol. My rules to collect are simple, consume the entire contents of the bottle including the scorpion, no puking it up, no passing out, no trips to the hospital, and no dying. If, after 24 hours your are still in one piece then you can collect your prize.