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29 Jun

Sometimes, in my more lucid moments, I wonder how the hell I have lived this long.

I forget damn near everything I’m supposed to do. I can tell you, with an embarrassed smile and a hint of pride, that the main gun on T-80 tank is 125 mm. I can recall that about a million years before Homo Sapiens emerged, the Mediterranean was a super-heated, lifeless abyss devoid of water. I can even have a full discussion about which classical general is my favorite (either Belisaurius or Xenophon).

But I’ll be damned if I can remember that I planned to take out the trash today.

That’s the kind of scope I have had to put these things in. Taking out the trash, an activity that on the long end consumes, say, five minutes. I have had to block out a 24 hour period to get that done, because that way there is at least a chance I would remember it within the set time.

How the hell do I eat? Unless I’m with other people, it’s honestly kind of a crap-shoot.

“Alright Mike, we are going to eat healthily, because you’re tired of that embarrassing gut,” says my good side.

“Alright, I’m on board,” my bad side says absently. “Bitches love flat stomachs.”

But when, at an appropriate time to eat, my good side says, “Alright, let’s get a salad.”

My bad side responds, “Bro, Facebook. We need to hit refresh at least thirty more times. And look at all of the Wikipedia here. LOOK AT IT ALL. Are we just going to sit there and let it not get known? What is one salad in the face of all human knowledge?”

My bad side is an incredibly manipulative prick. My good side? A bitch. So two hours later, famished, I run from the article on human rights abuses during the Falkland’s Island War, microwave three hot dogs, and then run upstairs like I’m afraid history is somehow going to be different if I don’t get up there RIGHT NOW.

It’s been pathetic, and it’s always just a matter of will power. I am getting better. I clean sometimes, without getting yelled at. At times I am overtaken with the very adult realization that I live in a hive of scum and villainy, and that I should do something about it. Sometimes I even do it RIGHT THEN. I’ll say “this is disgusting,” and spend and hour cleaning up the stacks of empty soda and booze bottles, paper plates, and fast food bags my friends and I have left in the living room.

But often I just don’t notice the mess. There is so much crap going on up in my head. How in the hell do I remember to do the dishes when I am giving an earnest go at solving the budget crisis. Never mind I CAN’T solve the budget crisis. I say to myself that in the long run it is a more noble expenditure of my time to contemplate solving all the world’s problems than cleaning my apartment.

This is not a case of my suffering from crippling genius, as anyone who knows me will tell you that I am quasi-functional at best and a slack-jawed idiot most of the time. This is a case of me simply not having my priorities. That is to say I don’t prioritize much, I just do what is the most intellectually stimulating thing at the moment.

This has definitely gotten better. I now have a list:

1)      School

2)      Work

3)      Get In Shape

4)      Everything Else A Human Being Does

This list is not perfect. I’m sure you can see where there are holes in it (where is the booze priority Mike, hmm?) But it’s getting there. It’s just really, REALLY hard. Doing things when they need to be done, instead of when I feel like doing them, is something I should have started learning when I was twelve. To be fair, I was reading about String Theory when I was twelve, so it’s not like I completely wasted that time. I know how to learn. This is just one more thing I need to learn. And I am learning it.

Until I’m finished learning it though, I’m going to look like a bum and have to set three different alarms to remind me to check on the laundry.


The Wicked Witch Still Lives and Other Nonsense


Other Titles – “The Wizard Deserves Credit for this, Not Dorothy.” “The House Never Fell on WWE (Wicked Witch bin East)” “Dorothy Is Actually From Oklahoma.”

Let’s talk about delusions.

On May 1st, 2011 Barack Obama announced that US special forces had killed Osama bin Laden. Then a few things happened:

America lost its collective mind.

My friend Dustin went to the spontaneous party in front of the White House and got himself quoted by CNN.

The internet immediately began to argue whether this was Obama or Bush’s victory.

A bunch of people decided it was fake.

Now, that last one, at first, seems pretty plausible. The official story is that a team of hyper-elite Navy SEAL murder-dudes got into a stealth helicopter and flew over half of Pakistan to jump into Osama bin Laden’s home a few miles from the Pakistani Westpoint and murder the living shit out of him. They then snatched his body, left his wives and children behind, and flew to an aircraft carrier; where they threw his body in the ocean before presumably drinking some celebratory “we-killed-an-evil-son-of-a-bitch” beers.

Now, to be fair, this is pretty ripe for someone to get crazy. I mean… we refuse to post the pictures of a guy we’ve been spending billions to kill after we kill him. The less than 24 hours before disposal thing is not helpful either. But let’s consider a few things.

1)      If Osama bin Laden was not dead, he would be pretty keen on letting us know we just murdered the crap out of some innocent six-foot tall Arab dialysis patient. You know, prove how freaking dumb Americans are. That kind of thing was one of his favorites.

2)      Al-Qaeda has gone ahead and said “yeah, they bullet-fucked our leader in the head.” That may be paraphrasing on my part. Regardless, some dudes in the world’s most hated terrorist organization have come out and said OBL (as people call him now) is dead.

3)      Barack Obama is president of the United States. Getting to that position requires a team of extremely intelligent, capable, and politically savvy individuals. These same individuals would not risk OBL revealing their spoof. They would also not blow such a huge “victory” at such a bad time. If Obama and his team could have picked a time for this to happen, it would have been in September of next year, when the election is looming and the Republicans would have no time to rebuke it. As it is, by next September people will forget who OBL is because this is America and we are stupid.

I’m fairly certain that Osama bin Laden is dead. Not because I’m Obama’s guy, which I will admit I am. (Politics doesn’t blind me, I voted for Bush in ’04* and I still was free to admit the WMDs were bullshit). I just listed the reasons why. But they don’t matter because crazy people gunna be crazy. Facts don’t get in the way of the insane. Just listen to any ardent Communist or Libertarian. They will skip gleefully from abject denial to heartfelt-bullshit in their desire to get you to understand why they are right. It’d be funnier if it wasn’t so scary.

Bottom line, everyone is a little crazy. I honestly still believe I will find a meaningful, lifelong marriage at some point… even though the odds are not at all in my favor there. Mitt Romney thinks people will believe his bullshit about Universal Healthcare. And Glenn Beck just kept on trucking till the end. The difference between me and Glenn Beck is that my crazy doesn’t hurt anyone.

Osama bin Laden is dead. Whether you think it’s appropriate to dance in the streets at this news or not you should probably use properly attributed copy-pasta quotes. And also understand that it’s true.

*yeah, I’m embarrassed about it too…

Gender Relations Bender

14 Mar

Guys, I haven’t written anything even vaguely political on here in a while, and well, I can’t hold off any longer. So without any further delay, it’s time to piss people off.

There are some self-descriptors which I react to in a sort of visceral way, labels that don’t really deserve the reaction. In general, if you can describe yourself in one word that is not extremely vague, I don’t have time for you. If, when asked “who you are” you say “white” or “Methodist” or “American” or “straight”… I’m not going to waste my time getting to know you, since you’re a word and I can look those up. If you were to say all of them, well now you sound like a complete and interesting person. But any given one of those things is so narrow and pre-defined that I can assume you will spend your life struggling to make yourself fit into the ludicrous label you’ve affixed to your self-identity.

Other terms I dislike because they offend me: rapists and White Supremacists believe and do things so radically different from what I can accept that describing yourself as one puts us on rocky footing. A man who introduces himself as a misanthrope shouldn’t expect to make friends. It’s pretty simple. I don’t know anyone who really wants to be buddies with a self-described Fascist. That’s just not what people are into.

But not every term I react viscerally too is universally reviled. Nor are they universally mono-dimensional ways to demarcate one’s self. Generally, these are terms that are tied to some person or persons who have soured this word for me in the past. A perfect example, a word that causes this a visceral (and inappropriate) reaction, is feminist.


Now let me do some QUICK explaining here, before someone comes over and screams at me for being a chauvinist pig. I am absolutely, 100%, a fan of equal rights. I am crazy about equal rights. I think the government should treat everyone equally regardless of creed, language, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or preference in music. All human beings should be given equal opportunity to do all that they are able to do (that doesn’t hurt others).

Specifically, I think women should be paid every bit as much as a man doing the same job with the same ability. I think women deserve equal access to divorce, custody, income, voting, education, employment, property, and seating at professional racquetball tournaments. I think women are full human beings who deserve every single protection, privilege, and right afforded their male counter-parts, without any caveats.

What I’m not a fan of is blaming every single thing wrong in the world on men. I’m not a supporter of making a 100 pound woman who can’t lift 160 pounds a fire-fighter for the sake of gender equality in that particular work-force. I’m not a fan of painting men (and me with them) as violent brutes who are seconds away from their next murder-rape. Or even of saying that I try to keep women down so that I can have more power.

Obviously, I’ve been on the receiving end of some vitriol from some feminists in the past who have soured that term for me. I am not a student of feminism, and so I will not pretend to know whether this is reflective of feminism at large or if I’ve just run into some serious bad-apples from the Second Wave (okay, I’m student enough to know there are believed to be three waves of feminism). If true feminism is just the seeking of equal rights for women, then by God, I support feminism. If it really does involve these attacks on everything with a penis, sorry, I’m not really buying it.

I bring this up because a very good site/publication, the Good Men Project, has been running a series of articles on something I had never heard of: the Men’s Rights Movement. It’s pretty much the male equivalent of feminism, because being a masculist sounds too much like masochist. Now I say male equivalent of feminism because A) the community has a similar make up from what I can tell, and B) its opponents paint it in the same strokes that the opponents of feminism do.

On the first part here, from what has been depicted by La Intertrones (that’s fake French for “the internet”) the MRM is comprised by 10% people with reasonable demands and concerns, 10% raging misogynists, and 80% guys who agree with the first 10% and put up with the second. From what reasonable people who identify themselves as feminists have told me, that’s about the break down for that movement too: 10% people with legitimate complaints and demands, 10% bitter man haters, and 80% people who agree with the former group and put up with the latter. Which is to say, they are rational groups with legitimate concerns, led by some charismatic thinkers with strong points, that also contain some grade-A assholes (because this humanity and avoiding jerks is impossible).

Both groups also get depicted in much the same way. People arguing with the MRM go immediately off topic to counter a given point. For instance, when men want to make sure that males are given an equal and fair shake during child custody hearings, they are countered with “how can you bother complaining about that when women still make 80% of what men do!?” Or even “Men are worse parents than women!” One is an illogical response to the issue in hand and the other is openly sexist. Much like when feminists point out that women are under-represented in many fields they are met with “there are more women in college now than men!” or “Women shouldn’t be fire-fighters.” Again, one has nothing to do with the problem, and the other is baseless sexism.

Are dead beat dads a serious problem? Of course. Should women who wish to be fire-fighters need to meet the physical and mental requirements of such a strenuous job? Absolutely. Do either of these conclusions mean either gender is fundamentally deficient? Certainly not.

We have quite a ways to go in women’s equality. What we need to understand is that this is causing an absolutely massive shift in gender roles. As women change, men are undergoing a similar shift as well. As women move into male dominated sectors, it is only reasonable that men will move into previously female dominated areas. Shifts in power at work and at home are changing things in a dramatic way, one of more equality on all fronts.

Men are doing much, MUCH more housework than they used to (though, yes , it’s still quite uneven). There are good things and bad things. With the decreased risk of pregnancy and a constantly diminishing stigma, women are trending strongly towards a traditionally “male” level of sexual promiscuity. (I will come out and say that sleeping around is something I dislike for either gender, not sexism, just good old fashion Judeo-Christian morals). In short, almost everything we used to know about gender stereo-types is changing (women still menstruate at least periodically and have larger communication structures in their brains).

From what I can tell, the MRM movement isn’t about fighting this change. It isn’t about keeping men in a position of greater power. It’s about making sure the pendulum doesn’t swing the other direction (at least not too far). Women should not oppress men, just as men should not oppress women. There are, believe it or not, a number of biases that directly favor women for no reason other than their gender. These are every bit as wrong as those that support men for no reason other than their testicles.

I don’t really know all that much about the MRM or feminism. But I do understand the desire for equal treatment. I support it whole heartedly. If both of these movements really want that, just equal treatment regardless of gender, than I am receptive to them and back them up. If they are opposing shades of sexism, I don’t really have time for that crap.

And now I wait to get schooled on my ignorance.


The Genesis of a Cook

4 Mar

It takes talent and effort to screw up macaroni and cheese; but when I was in my mid-teen years I managed to pull it off.

Honestly it was a simple mistake, I was cooking two boxes of macaroni because my family doubles the standard 2.1 children per woman. (It is awkward having 0.2 of a sibling, but Louis does a lot with so little existence).  I figured: double the ingredients, double the time. Unfortunately noodles boil at a pretty flat rate, no matter how many noodles there are. Thus my family was treated to delicious cheese mush. By delicious cheese mush I mean something that was only technically edible.

It was at this point I decided I would never cook.

That was a really bold decision to make, but I was pretty committed. I struggled to microwave ramen at the time, I didn’t really think that was the start to a good cooking career. I mean, you pour in water and microwave. Somehow memorizing that list of steps was too much. I figured it was in everyone’s interest if we just removed food preparation from my list of responsibilities. Despite my overwhelming teenage angst, I did love my family, and the idea of killing them accidentally with food poisoning was unappetizing.

Then one fateful day in my late teens, I was asked to watch the burgers on the grill. It is important to note that this was the extent of my responsibilities. It wasn’t “flip them after five minutes.” It was “watch them.” I suppose the idea was that I would raise the alarm if the ground beef tried to escape. I’ve never been good at listening though, so I started flipping them. And seasoning them. I had watched this process before, and it was simple. It was also masculine, which my wiry little teenage self desperately needed to be. (Man grill, man control fire!) An amazing thing happened:

These burgers were edible.

Suddenly I understood that I did not exude some sort of food-ruining field. In fact, if I bothered to pay attention, I could cook. Let’s be clear: I imagined that turning over burgers and sprinkling season salt on them constituted cooking. Regardless, I was hooked on grilling. Which led me to try more than burgers; I expanded into salmon, ribs, and chicken. If it had once been part of an animal, I was willing to give cooking it a try.

Now I make damn good burgers (Potter Spice Burgers they have been called, since I use over six different seasonings at least). But making a delicious burger is a cooking achievement akin to riding a tricycle: you have to try very hard to fail. I make damn good barbecue ribs, but that is like riding a bike with training wheels. As I became more confident in my cooking, I also became more aware that I wasn’t cooking anything impressive.

The first meal I am proud of came in late September of 2009. It was for a date night with a girl I was trying to impress back into a relationship, so I wanted it to be fancy and delicious. I decided on a unifying flavor theme of “apples” which seemed to fit the season. We cooked it together too, which I thought would be romantic (but just ended up making me look like an asshole). Regardless, the apple-stuffed chicken was superb. The apple-butternut-squash ended up alright. The apple-potatoes-au-gratin would have been great if I hadn’t mistaken teaspoons of salt for tablespoons of salt.

The meal wasn’t perfect, and it did not convince the young lady to get back with me, but it was a very educational cooking experience (I can assure you, I have never mixed up teaspoons and tablespoons again). Beyond just remembering measurements, I learned about shopping at markets (I got the apples and vegetables from a farmer’s market). I realized I needed to work on being a douchebag in the kitchen. I figured out that maybe an entire meal tasting like apples wasn’t the most creative idea (though the unity of flavor was intriguing). Mostly I learned that I like preparing meals, not just dishes.

Since then I’ve cooked off and on. As noted in functionally every blog I’ve ever written, this wasn’t the happiest time in my life so mostly I just sat around drinking and eating fast-food. Once or twice a month though, I’d ask a girl over for dinner and I’d cook her something nice. Orange rosemary salmon on a bed of wild rice (with just a hint of Valencia orange peel to bring it together of course) or maybe parmesan chicken (with too much Cheyenne in the sauce, for pizazz that makes it so the cook can barely eat it). I even paired wines with my meals. As emerged from my broody-depressed cave, I started grilling for friends and family too.

Now I’m cooking once a week. Something new, not always fancy, but something I haven’t personally done much before. This Saturday we’re having pulled pork, which I’ve never made. Not exactly an exotic dish, but one that most people enjoy. Next weekend, it’ll be curried chicken (with some tzatziki and pita to counter the spice). It’s an excuse to have people over, and I’ve found people always seem to bond well over food.

Part of the reason I’m cooking is because it’s a way to eat something delicious without spending too much money (though cooking for groups somewhat lessens that). Another part is that learning to cook new things is a fairly cost effective hobby. But really the main thing is that I love cooking.

I clear my mind when I cook. I don’t know how or why, but I know that when I cook, my mind is focused on cooking. I love the creativity of adjusting recipes, adding spices and experimenting with the food. It’s exciting in its super-domestic way. It just feels good. There is a hectic calm in the kitchen, during which school and money don’t really matter. It’s also nice that people at least say I cook well. I mean, I have liked almost everything I’ve cooked, so I trust them. But it’s nice to hear it from people you care about.

It doesn’t even have to be something complicated, just the act of preparing food seems to make me happier. So I make most of my own food now (even if it is mostly sandwiches). Eating at home is healthier too, which is pretty nice. Even if it’s just pasta salad, I have fun cooking it. Hell, last night I even made macaroni and cheese.

Got the timing right and everything.



Shorts Day

27 Feb

It wasn’t nearly as warm as we thought. My sister and I were home while my mother grocery shopped. This of course meant I was supposed to be watching her. I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember that “watch your sister” at that age meant either “play with your sister” or “torment your sister with limited exposure to consequence.” Luckily for her, this was a play day, and we played.

I have never liked winter, and it was no different back then. I must have gone outside for some reason, perhaps to let the dog out. I remember that the grass was that sad soggy yellow-brown that all lawns are after a winter’s snow has melted. The sky was the pale blue gray that promised spring was just about to break through. Everything felt wonderful.

I went inside and headed upstairs. My sister followed me up.

“What are you doing?” She asked me.

“I’m putting on shorts.”


“Cause it’s spring.”

This was all the cue she needed, and she scurried off to her room (a loathing of winter runs in our blood it seems).

When my mom came back later, she found her son and daughter laughing loudly as they swung on in the backyard. I remember we had the most ridiculously happy grins on our faces. Her pony tails were streaming in the air as she giggled, swinging back and forth on that swing. She still has the most infectious smile, and her eyes were bright and twinkling. I kicked my legs, loving the feeling of air on my skin; loving the feeling of spring.

“What are you doing?” My mother asked, bordering on demanded.


“Why are you in shorts?” She was incredulous.

“Cause it’s nice out!”

“Michael it is forty degrees get inside before you catch a cold!”

I didn’t really get in trouble, I think my mother understood what was going on. It was shorts day, that first time in the year when you don’t bother with jeans. It’s a magical moment in the mind of almost everyone I know, even now. There is an irrational exuberance to shorts day. You can walk down almost any street and see everyone with a slight smile on their face, in spite of everything.

It’s never nearly as warm as we think, but that never stops us.

The Captain and I (part 4 of 4)

20 Feb

(Part One)

(Part Two)

(Part Three)

Eventually I started crawling up. Partially due to poverty, partially due to a glimmer of understanding, I stopped drinking every night. The awful roommate I was living with at the time left. My friend came back from Iraq, and instead of drinking because it was a very incremental form of suicide, I was drinking to celebrate again. Slowly my friends came back, and with each new addition, there was more to celebrate. Legitimate celebrations. We had all gone through some extremely painful and deep shit, and alcohol makes it easy to distract yourself.

This summer I partied a lot. All of us made up for lost time, throwing parties without pretense: we wanted to party and that was all the excuse we needed. Our revels were good natured: we are all good natured people and the people we invited were good natured. For the first time in my life I stopped caring. It was more than a fatalist’s nihilism (though I will admit that it cropped up time to time). I just simply embraced that fact that happiness, that good feelings, don’t have to have a reason. I didn’t need some cosmic justification for smiling. I had survived the worst year of my life, and that was enough for me.

That realization, that it was alright to be happy, and that I didn’t have to explain it to anyone, gave me the strength to get back in school. I got back into school, and I kicked its ass. Was I a perfect student? God no. I didn’t emerge from rock-bottom re-forged as a muggle Hermoine; but I learned what I needed to learn and got good grades. Things were going great. And I was putting back a handle of rum a week.

Wait. What?

That’s a lot of alcohol. That’s an obscene amount of alcohol. That is a 12-steps amount of alcohol. Which brings us to the statement we’ve both been thinking through this: Mike, you sound an AWFUL lot like an alcoholic. Yes reader. Yes I do.

I have thought about this a lot. That’s because alcoholism is a huge deal, and one that runs in my family. On one hand, the evidence is pretty damning: I can’t think of a single time I’ve gone two weeks without any alcohol since I turned 21. Also, people call me an alcoholic, and while I’m not one to make important policy decisions based solely on public opinion that’s kind of a thing. On the other hand, I don’t feel bad or anything when I don’t drink. A week and a half without a drink and I feel literally no compulsion to drink, I don’t feel sick, I don’t feel much of anything. That’s not denial either; if I was an alcoholic I would damn well want to know so I could get help.

Ultimately, it’s something of a moot point, because I’m just not drinking as much anymore. Yes I get drunk when I party, and no, I don’t feel a need to apologize for that. But overall, I’m drinking less. It’s because inevitably, if I don’t slow down, I will become an alcoholic. It’s because alcohol is poison and years of poisoning is a bad idea. But mostly it’s because there are 120 calories in a 2.5 oz shot of rum and I’m tired of being fat.

Yes, that’s right, my wake-up call was Googling the calories in rum. For a bit over a year, rum and coke has been my drink of choice. Given that I put what can charitably called a “nearly undrinkable” amount of rum in drinks, each of my rum and cokes is like 400 calories. Now multiply that by the five or six of those I’ll put back at a party, and we’re looking at a normal human being’s daily allotment of calories in a four hour period.

So I am drinking less because I want to lose weight. And because I’m tired of being called an alcoholic. Alcohol has been (indirectly) responsible for some of the most painful and terrible moments in my life. Alcohol was also there through each step of my return to life. I do not have any sort of affection or sentimentality towards alcohol; I drink when I celebrate because it feels good and being sober when everyone else is drunk sucks.

So yes I drink to celebrate. But I don’t celebrate to drink.


The Captain and I (part 3 of 4)

19 Feb

(Part One)

(Part Two)

So yes, when I was suffering from a massive depression caused by a legitimate disaster that was (partially) my own fault, I drowned my anti-depressants in alcohol. At this point I was enamored with vanilla vodka and orange soda which, as I’ve surely told you if we’ve ever drank together, tastes exactly like an orange dream-cicle. “You know,” I’d have told you, “like when we were kids.” (Someone three years past the age of majority doesn’t really get to talk about childhood as some distant epoch, but they do it anyway). Needless to say, the anti-depressants didn’t do their job terribly well.

I struggled through another whole year of college, now an English major because: I’m a fairly talented writer and people like to read my things, artists are by-and-large intolerable and self-centered pricks, and I needed to change majors because art school had largely kicked me out. I did very well when I bothered to, once I understood the “culture” of the English department I got to writing quite well. I never bothered to do inconsequential stuff like reading the other student’s pieces, or the assigned reading, or anything the professors handed me. I would get out of school, spend a few hours brooding near my girlfriend, whose incredibly endurance with this behavior should have warranted some form of medal, then go home and drink.

Drinking helped my writing. I wrote some real masterpieces drunk. If you look back at some of the incoherent and emotional messages I sent my friends, family, and girlfriend you’d surely demand I was given a Pulitzer. My cryptic and impossible to decipher allegory in status messages (Michael Potter sure wishes someone would call him) will garner a Nobel (in Passive-Aggression) someday. None could hold back the tears evoked by my half-finished songs with no perceptible rhythm and the most tenuous of rhyme schemes. Finally, who couldn’t identify with the sad-twenty-something-male misunderstood by everyone who was the protagonist in so many no-where-near-finished half stories, and who was TOTALLY not a shitty doppelganger of myself.


To the incredible surprise of no-one, I did not pull my grades above the 2.0 needed to stay in school. And so in June I was told that I would not be returning to IUPUI for the Fall 2009 semester. This piece of news was just a fragment of the joy 2009 brought. Believe it or not I’m tired of going on about it. Suffice to say the girlfriend lost her patience, followed quickly by my job. One friend was in the grips of his own crumbling relationship, one was in Germany studying life, one was in Ohio being a productive member of society, and the other was fighting for said society in Iraq. Lacking anything to celebrate and anyone to celebrate with, I cut the shit and started taking drinking seriously.

Late 2009 and early 2010 are not fuzzy because drinking makes it hard to remember; that is one effect of alcohol I rarely ever deal with.  They are fuzzy because when you’re depressed, your mind doesn’t remember things well. Your short term memory goes to hell. It’s not just that you can’t remember happy things, you don’t remember the sad things either. I continued dutifully taking my medicine, washing it down with a Berringer Chardonnay or a Chateau St. Michelle Riesling. It was a wonderful time, I made a great show out of my “break-up beard” and churned out several emotionally-earnest if ridiculously unsophisticated stories. But mostly I drank, a lot. (The astute reader will realize the author has switched to wine. This is because the author was reading Hemmingway. Of note: don’t read Hemmingway if you’re depressed).

When not killing yourself is the excuse for your nightly celebration, you have begun to approach what experts refer to as “rock bottom.”

(To Be Continued)