ten drinks on the fourth

I got the day off on July 4th and here’s what I drank: four beers at a pool party in Kendall, then one beer at Batch Gastropub. Then I walked over to calle ocho and got two beers at Ball & Chain just before crossing the street to Tower Theater for a 7 p.m. showing of a Toni Morrison documentary called The Pieces I Am. I got a bottle of La Rubia before the movie and another toward the end.

When the movie was over I stepped out onto the sidewalk where K., freshly showered, was waiting for me in a white dress shirt and bell-bottom jeans and we crossed the street together, right back to Ball & Chain, where the place was eerily empty, on account of the holiday, and where I had my tenth and final drink of the day while K. sipped something fulla citrus and gin and we watched a live band.

I was in bed somewhere between 11 and midnight and Mango woke me at 7 to go outside and I had an awful headache that aspirin didn’t alleviate, nor the couple pints of water I chugged nor the hot shower nor the four-block stroll to Walgreens for dog food.

It was rough.

But worse than the hangover (which abated with lunch at a Cien Montaditos on Brickell that I didnt even know was there until K. showed me) is the feeling of guilt. I’m reacting as if there were some kinda moral component to the amount of drinking I did–but I wasn’t even all that drunk! Ten beers between noon and 10 p.m. isn’t a small amount of booze, granted, but to drink what amounts to a beer an hour on a holiday also doesn’t feel…nuts.


I’ve got a colleague who’s ten years older than me, Irish, keeps a shillelagh (shil-lay-lee) in his office and talks about whiskey with a reverence that isn’t connoisseurial at all. He’s just a fan. And he’s probably the most respected dude in the department. He’s got tenure and he’s animated in the classroom, funny and vulgar during lectures, the chairman of five or six committees–he’s on top of his shit.

A coupla months ago I stepped into his office in my usual route of parsing out colada shots to folks in the English department and found myself telling him, with something like guilt, about having had five or six drinks two nights prior (went on one of the Brickell Bar Crawls with Bob and Lynda) and when he waved me away, saying “you’re not being stupid and careless to get plastered now and then”, I took a deep serious solace from his absolution like if it were a doctor telling me the tumor’s benigbn.

But why the moral thing? Do overeaters feel this way the morning after a binge? Like it wasn’t just a lapse of temperance or judgment but an actual moral infracton?

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