I drank this water today. It reminded me of vodka. Or shampoo.
It was the bottle's fault. The clear taste of water didn't quite match the shape. Long. Thin. The lift and pour into my mouth felt so off. It reminded me of something.
Remember Mad Dog? Probably not, unless you were a teenager in the nineties and you grew up in Pennsylvania. It was like the Starbursts of alcohol. Like Kool Aid left out on the back porch for a couple days. Mixed with fluoride treatment & Novocaine. What you drank when you had enough in your pocket for two forties of St. Ides or Old English, but wanted to get more bang for your buck. And by "bang," I mean "effed up."
I never had that kinda money back in the day. I had to wait 'til college to try Mad Dog. One night, some friends discovered a way to make it taste good. We mixed it with Gatorade. Passed it around. Our eyebrows collectively shot to the ceiling.
"We have to tell everyone about this!" I hollered to my college boyfriend. "This is OUR NEW DRINK."
Taste good? Yes. Like liquid Jolly Ranchers. Or whatever candy makes you taste sugar fruity-licious heaven.
Good for you? Absolutely not.
Consider the mixers. Mad Dog: Alcohol and chemicals. Gatorade: Electrolytes and sugar. Put the two together. Electrolytes rush that alcohol all over your body as fast as possible.
Within a span of two hours, the party went schizo. We drank. We sang. We fought. We screamed. We cried. We puked. We said, Never again.
And for once, we meant it.
You know you've got a bad beverage when college kids won't touch it. The next day, we went back to our six packs of Beast and Schlitz. Boxes of Franzia. Icehouse. Bongs. Bowls. CO2 tanks. Whatev. No more hard stuff.
Fast forward ten years. Today, I am afraid to touch tap water. Splenda scares the bejesus out of me. When it comes to alcohol, I'm like Stanley from "The Office." In an old episode, he says, "I drink a glass of red wine once a week for the antioxidants."
When it comes to getting wasted, there's just not enough time in the day for it. There's more important things to do. If getting wrecked was really worth it, 99% adults would be walking around drunk and stoned every day.
Sobriety isn't just a simple convenience. The older I get, the more and more I've become the kind of person I hated as a kid. A listener of Classical music. A fan of public radio. A patron of libraries. A grower of plants. I think going to the farm is fun. Vegetables are incredibly cool.
Maybe grownups are, as a species, nerds?
Maybe it's just me.
The older I get, the more I realize that nerds are the lucky ones anyway. 'Cos with the drinking and the drugs comes drama. I've had enough of that for one lifetime.
Now when I drink, I drink to my health. And yours. Thanks, Fred.