Dear Dr. Brian,
Is beer ever NOT a good idea?
And Dr. Brian responds:
Dearest Tiffany, Part II,
I have just been informed by my assistant, Lanae, that my original response was apparently in violation of some type of legal precedent in the state where you reside. It seems that if you PAY for a full counseling session in Texas, then you must RECEIVE an entire hour’s worth of treatment, whether you need it or not. Otherwise, Texans are allowed to whip out one of their many concealed handguns and use it as they see fit.
This saddens me slightly. Upon first opening your emailed submission, I was quite delighted to find a query that I could answer so concisely, concretely and, most importantly, quickly. I rarely have more than a few minutes to spare in any given day, since this world is jam-packed with hooligans needing clinical intervention, so I was ecstatic over the sudden opportunity for a nice cup of tea and some Facebook farming before my next patient.
Then Lanae, being the snippy little troll that she sometimes can be, snatched away my Earl Grey, closed the farming application window just as I was about to win some award for high-caliber radish collection, and then thrust a book of Texas bylaws under my irritated and borderline-offended nose. She pointed at something she had highlighted in yellow, then turned tail and marched back to the front office, where I could hear someone beating on the desk bell like the Titanic had just hit that damn iceberg.
Anyway, since I’m much more cautious of potential legal matters after the ugly incident with the vegetable and the can of Crisco in Paris, I suppose that I should give your question another run.
Normally, I fully advise the consumption of alcohol whenever possible. In moderation, of course, with moderation referring to how much you can afford. But I suppose I can come up with a few instances where sobriety might possibly be preferable, and thereby I can officially extend your counseling session to the point where you are not allowed to shoot me during a moment of dissatisfaction.
Let’s see. Scenarios where it might be best to turn down the proffered Jello shots. Hmm. How about:
1. Funeral services where the gathering of mourners is hillbilly-ugly, and most of them are wearing flannel.
As you originally hail from Missouri, I’m sure you’ve had plenty of opportunity to personally review such an assemblage. Hillbillies are notoriously stupid and are constantly getting themselves killed. If you hear a hillbilly shout “Hey, watch me do this!”, prepare to dial 9-1-1.
You want to remain sober as long as you can during the burial services. You know that you are going to be tempted to provide scathing social commentary as you survey the train wreck, and that you will need to stifle laughter when they pull out the instruments for the 21-banjo salute. You must not give in to these urges, and therefore it is advised that alcohol not touch your lips until Billy Bob is safely lowered in the ground and his 13 children are trying to figure out where to throw the handful of dirt.
Because, you see, hillbillies are not the sharpest catalog in the outhouse, but they do have a dim recognition of when someone is making fun of them. And they only have three emotions: sexual release, hatred of neighbors with surnames of either Hatfield or McCoy, and intolerance for uppity city-folk who suck back a cold one and then laugh at the fact the someone might not be wearing shoes.
Once provoked, the hillbilly will race in the direction of the offensive human, grunting and making noises that might be mistaken for a mating call, and then proceed to rip apart the weak city girl with the fondness for Miller Lite. You won’t have time to run away and leap into your expensive automobile with the fancy navigational system. The hillbilly, especially in his native habitat, can move at amazing speeds. Apparently teeth are much heavier than anyone realized, because when you don’t have any, you can run like the wind.
2. Church services where singing is allowed.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how such a situation could be marred by alcohol-fueled tragedy. Unfortunately, it happens much more often than you realize. And the whole ordeal is intensified by the unique societal conditions usually found within a church, where everyone is pretending to not pass judgment on their fellow man when they really are.
It usually starts very innocently. Maybe Aunt Cleo thinks a little nip of the cooking sherry in her satchel would be just the trick for her splitting migraine. Or maybe cousin Rowdie just found that bottle of hooch he stashed in his boot at the barn dance the night before, and hopes that a quick swig will get rid of the fertilizer taste in his mouth. Or maybe the saintly president of the Baptist Quilting League is nursing a bottle of Dayquil, telling herself that she just needs it to get over the flu, but still loving the fact that she’s starting to feel really pretty.
Then evil things start falling into place. The pews are overly crowded, the air-conditioning isn’t working quite right, someone has doused themselves in so much foo-foo cologne that people are nauseous and there’s a real threat that the gas stove in the Joyful Snack Bar could explode. Tempers flair.
Next thing you know, there are shouts of ungodly sentiments, dresses are ripped, small children are screaming, and the offering plate comes sailing out of nowhere and beans the second deacon as he is lowering little Lyla Mae into the baptismal waters in the giant bathtub behind the pulpit. (Subsequently, little Lyla never learns to swim and lives in constant fear that dinnerware might suddenly become airborne.)
And while the faithful are clawing each other apart and rolling around on the marble floor, here comes yours truly, sashaying down the main aisle, still liquored up from a midnight showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, burning with the need to sing a song about the plight of intergalactic transvestites. I shake the rice out of my hair, toss aside a roll of toilet paper, and then…
I’m sorry. I seem to have confused my own experiences with yours. Perhaps it’s just ME that should avoid houses of worship while crocked. Let’s move on, shall we?
The temptation is already there to feed the animals. Throw Jack Daniels into the mix, stir in the stupidity of proffering a banana to a gorilla, and next thing you know the hairy beast has snatched you over the railing, dragged you in to the love cave, and is affectionately checking you for head lice and whispering sweet nothings in your ear. And if the zoo attendants are drunk as well, they might even put Barry White on the public sound system.
4. It’s late at night and you are still on Facebook.
If you’re tired and drunk, you will invite anyone to be your friend. ANYONE. Then there’s all those insipid comments that you post, thinking you are being incredibly witty and that everyone will love you. And you stupidly download tons of game apps that you never intend to play, allowing everyone from George Bush to the Soviet Secret Police access to your personal information, hitting the “OK” button with a drunken yell of “hell, YEAH!”.
The next morning, you awaken innocently, humming a little ditty about flowers and kittens as you put the coffee on to brew. As the aroma fills the air, you log into your PC, chirpily signing in to your account. Then your scream of horror and wretchedness echoes throughout the house.
Your friend count has doubled, there are 15 somewhat aggressive emails from people who did NOT accept your invite and want to know who the hell you are, you have “gifts” from total strangers playing something called “Balls of Steel”, all of your nonsense comments have sub-posts with concerned people asking if you’re okay, and there’s a marriage proposal from someone named Ignatiev in Moscow.
You quietly turn off the PC and begin filling out change-of-address cards. You let the phone go to voice mail when your mother calls 7 consecutive times in a total panic. Yes, you friended her last night after an especially tasty margarita, added porno links to her wall, and then sent a Flair button reading “Mommies = Pain”.
Sound familiar? I thought it might, especially since I just spoke with your mother, who is under heavy sedation as the result of a strange man with a foreign accent calling her in the middle of the night, demanding a dowry and wanting to know when she would be available for the goat herding.
This is the REAL reason for your email, isn’t it? The truth always comes out.
By the way, I’m having your mother flown in for your next session. I would imagine that this encounter will be a very lengthy ordeal. You might want to pack a lunch. And no, beer would NOT be a good idea.