Tag Archives: rum

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)


The Captain and I (part 2 of 4)

18 Feb

(Part One)

The legend is that after he was killed at Trafalgar, Admiral Horatio Nelson’s body was preserved in a cask of rum, as the alcohol would preserve it. It was actually brandy, but marketing is stronger than history and Admiral Nelson’s Rum is available at your local liquor store for a pittance. This makes it incredibly attractive as a beverage for poor college students. The Admiral chose Black Friday, that violent orgy of commercialism, to come into my life. I had just worked a twelve hour day at Best Buy, and I was tired. But it was Thanksgiving break, and everyone was in town. This was a time to celebrate, and as I have previously stated, I liked to celebrate. So, on six hours of sleep in 36 hours, I drank. A lot. I drank so much Admiral Nelson’s and coke that for the first time in my life, I threw up. I then passed out in my room.

I woke up with what I thought was a hang-over. As luck would have it, some thoughtful person who desperately needed a $78 Kodak shit-cam had not only given me their money, but also their bronchitis. Given that my immune system had been punished by having no sleep, and then had been poisoned quite heavily, I can’t really blame it for giving up. I got pneumonia, which kept me bed ridden through the vast majority of the final projects which make up the bulk of any art class’s grades. Long (and too often told) story short, I failed three of my five classes.


Now most people are very familiar with the image of someone drinking because they are sad, and we all know that this man is an idiot because drinking doesn’t make you feel better. This is an example of you not having a damn clue what you’re talking about. That man isn’t drinking to make himself happy; he, like you, knows that won’t happen. He’s drinking because when he’s drunk he won’t feel bad for telling you all about it. Sad drinkers drink so that they can let being sad out (without feeling guilty for ruining your buzz).

As you have wisely predicted, this is the point when I started sad drinking. This grand adventure in adulthood had suddenly become an enormous mess, and I was fucking it up royally. I was smart enough to know that drinking because you’re sad is also when people start worrying about you, which was the last thing I wanted (I’m a grown-up goddammit!).  So I would start each night of drinking with a smile: We’re celebrating the latest paycheck! (Because something that happens every Friday absolutely needs a fifth of Smirnoff dedicated to it). The fact that each night ended with my friends awkwardly dealing with a sobbing, snotty Mike was conveniently covered up (in my mind) by the fact we’d started so well, and they were well and truly smashed too.

I was depressed, and since I was convinced I wasn’t self-medicating, I sought professional help. I received it (God bless my parents for having health insurance), and so was prescribed a potent cocktail of anti-depressants, mood-stabilizers, and in time anti-anxiety pills. All of these were designed to put my depressed levels of dopamine, serotonin, and whatever the hell else was confused up there, right. Each bottle, along the name of the prescribing doctor and the pharmacists number, bore an identical sticker.


I read incredibly poorly for an English major.

(To Be Continued)