Saturday, May 23, 2009


Alcohol and I don't get along very well. Not that I have anything against people enjoying a drink. It's not even that I don't like a drink myself. Alcohol just doesn't like me.

Most of my instructor friends get along with alcohol fine. Drinking is one of those bonding things they do after a long day at the office, wearing breathing apparatus, crawling around on their hands and knees, pushing firefighters as near as possible to their breaking points. After the dust settles, and they have a shower (or two showers if we're teaching Flashover), they head for the local watering hole for a beer or two to unwind. Sometimes I like to go along and pretend I'm one of those normal people that can unwind over a beer. But I'm not normal. I don't unwind, I unravel. Like the time that Graham offered me a vodka cooler after a long, hot day teaching firefighters how to tear cars apart.

"C'mon, it's just like a pop," he says.

"I'd better not," I say. "If I don't like it, it'll get wasted."

"Just try it," he says.

So, against my better judgement, I open it and take a sip. Nice, I think. It really is just like a pop. I take another sip. Hey, I think, this is neat. I'm being one of "the guys." I drink a little more and pretend to be cool. Soon it's time to go for supper. My drink is still half full. Aw, what the heck . . . and down the hatch it goes.

The other "normal" guys get up and head to the restaurant next door. "I'll be right along," I say. Then I stand up. Ugh, I don't feel so good. I go to my room to get changed. Funny, I feel like I'm rolling and pitching in a ship on the high seas. And I'm feeling a bit seasick. A half an hour later, I wander into the restaurant. The guys are there unwinding over their beer. They take one look at me and they know . . . a 5% vodka cooler was enough to unravel me.

I sit down and order a Pepsi and a big steak. By the end of the meal I'm feeling better. The waitress refills my Pepsi twice. We sit and tell stories. I decide I can be one of the guys, even with a Pepsi.

It's time to hit the hay. We have to get up at six to whack up some more cars. The waitress offers to fill my Pepsi one more time. "Better not," I say, as I look around at my friends who don't give a hoot that alcohol doesn't like me. "If I drink any more, they'll have to carry me out."

Here is a clip by Jim Breuer about drinking and your stomach. For his web site click here.

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