So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Who...Or What...Do You Love?

The missus & I had another chance to get away from it, taking the kids & grandkids to New Orleans. I had to teach a seminar on Friday, so driving over on Thursday afternoon was naturally out of the question. However, it also provided me a few hours of my Friday afternoon with nothing better to do than point my trusty Scion xB in the proper direction, listen to some of the tunes I'd recently downloaded to my iPod & think deep thoughts.

It occurred to me I had not talked to my father in five weeks (his seventieth birthday), & it was not like I was going to be disturbed by much at that particular time...might as well burn a few cell phone roaming minutes, no? After a healthy dose of touching base with him, & getting safely past the casinos along Mississippi's Gulf Coast, one deep thought led to another & I wanted to know what some of my New Orleans friend/s were doing.

They had been on a cruise ship for a week with two dozen or more of their closest relatives. What had me marveling even more was the fact they were able to make it through that week without throwing anyone overboard...or consuming adult beverages. I knew they had cut back during the spring in Central Florida, but didn't know they had made the decision to cut back in that drastic a manner. They have their reasons, which are quite valid (even if I disagreed, validity is in the mind of the beholder), & I strongly applaud them for it.
The ramifications or the rationale for such decisions hadn't quite hit until I was driving on the trip home...Then I began to think about it all: You see, we didn't drink anything around the family because being (at the least) loose around the children and grandchildren didn't seem like a good example. There were enough people on the streetcars & on the major thoroughfares who were loosened up during the weekend, right? We went out for a bite to eat & to walk around with some of our friends after the kids drove home, sufficient opportunity to loosen up and enjoy some of the more adult-oriented venues we occasionally enjoy. And while I was loose enough to not feel major pain I couldn't help but see some of the really loose denizens of the place/s we visited, most notably the crowd in one of the city's most popular karaoke bars. Believe me, there are way too many people who think they sing well. Add an abundance of adult beverages & it's a Capt'n Fun Happy Birthday Song Audition Night, minus the cake (Robin Williams' 2002 routine about Japanese men in a karaoke bar after a couple of shots of Jack Daniels' says it best.). When you see them you begin to think to yourself, 'dude, is THAT what I look like when...?'
Right now I can say I do not have a drinking problem. There was a time in my life when you could probably say I did, but I think age & a beer-related accident (I thank God no police were around to see!) a long time ago (as well as a recent beer-related accident where we were the victims!) converted me from the quantity drinker to the quality drinker. That means I still spend the same amount of money on beer at 48 as at 18; I share/enjoy the six-pack of microbrews more than I did bogarting a case of Lone Star. I like beer a great deal, & there are days when there's nothing more wonderful after a very hot run or workout than a very cold beer. Of the friends I have, the ones for which I would say I would go through hell in a gasoline suit are very small; & the vast majority of them drink probably the same amount, give-or-take, that I do. I have many colleagues & acquaintances, however, who are perhaps one (stumbling?) step to the left or to the right of the classic hash house harrier definition: a drinker with a running problem. Love 'em, but it's the truth.
And THAT'S where my worried mind begins to operate. I know a person's character can be molded & shaped by the people they spend the most time with. Think about it: Influence of Others -> Thought -> Decision -> Action -> Habit -> Character -> Influence on Others. I've told folks on more than a few occasions we are what we consume, spiritually as well as physically. So, can you control your own cycle? Or would you rather smash the mirror?

'Beer commercials usually show big men, manly men, doing manly things: "You've just killed a small animal. It's time for a light beer." Why not have a realistic beer commercial, with a realistic thing about beer, where someone goes, "It's five o'clock in the morning. You've just @*#d on a dumpster. It's Miller time."' - Robin Williams (1986)

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