For the first twenty years of my life, I rocked myself to sleep. It was a harmless enough hobby, but eventually, I had to give it up. Throughout the next twenty-two years I lay still and discovered that after a few minutes I could drop off with no problem. Follow seven beers with a couple of scotches and a thimble of good marijuana, and it’s funny how sleep just sort of comes on its own. Often I never even made it to the bed. I’d squat down to pet the cat and wake up on the floor eight hours later, having lost a perfectly good excuse to change my clothes. I’m now told that this is not called “going to sleep” but rather “passing out,” a phrase that carries a distinct hint of judgment.
Booze makes you stupid and like it. It makes you fall around and not care. And eventually, stupid is the only way you know how to be. Cocaine makes you feel important, that life matters, that you matter. That the music is better than it really is. That every conversation
is profound and that all pretenses have been stripped away. Ecstasy makes you dance all night and love your friends so much, in a way that you've never been able to tell them about before. Acid makes you see pretty colours and makes things breathe. But Sadness, there is nothing like Sadness.
Two wives despaired of him,’ he said. ‘When he got engaged to Sylvia, she made it a condition that he should take the cure at Zurich. And it worked. He came back in three months a different man. And he hasn't touched a drop since, even though Sylvia walked out on him.’
‘Why did she do that?’
Well, poor Charlie got rather a bore when he stopped drinking. But that’s not really the point of the story.
At first I assumed he was a Mexican, but slowly began to realise that a real Mexican probably wouldn't be wearing a sombrero in a London nightclub. And he'd probably have a real moustache, not a stick-on one. A Mexican with a stick-on moustache would be like a Super-Mexican, because he'd have two moustaches, and that'd be cool, because a Super-Mexican could probably use his poncho as a cape, and then I realised I was saying all this to the man's face.
All my favorite establishments were either overly crowded or pathetically empty. People either sipped fine vintages in celebration or gulped intoxicants of who cares what kind, drowning themselves in a lack of moderation, raising a glass to lower inhibitions, imbibing spirits to raise their own.
I find that when people laugh it's usually because they're connecting and identifying in a way that they hadn't considered. That's my payoff. I'm not interested in other people thinking differently. I don't care. I'm just like yeast - I eat sugar and I shit alcohol. And there's a huge culture that goes with that. Alcohol creates massive shifts in world history, and it changes people's lives. People get pregnant because of alcohol. But the yeast doesn't give a fuck. The yeast isn't going, "I really want to help people loosen up and bring passion into Irish people's lives".
Oh God how subtle he would have to be, how cunning... No paragraph, no phrase even of the thousands the book must contain could strike a discordant note, be less than fully imagined, an entire novel's worth of thought would have to be expended on each one. His attention had only to lapse for a moment, between preposition and object, colophon and chapter heading, for dead spots to appear like gangrene that would rot the whole. Silkworms didn't work as finely or as patiently as he must, and yet boldness was all, the large stroke, the end contained in and prophesied by the beginning, the stains of his clouds infinitely various but all signifying sunrise. Unity in diversity, all that guff. An enormous weariness flew over him. The trouble with drink, he had long known, wasn't that it started up these large things but that it belittled the awful difficulties of their execution. ("Novelty")
For more than a century-and-a-half, Europeans had been killing North American Indians with firewater… Now, in the first decades of the nineteenth century, Canada’s pioneer settlers were killing themselves with their own medicine. About Canada. Toronto: Civil Sector Press, November, 2012. Alcohol, North American Indians, Settlers, Canada