Columns 2013

You’re never too old to be stupid

Based on the events of the past weekend, I would have to say that it is a given that we are never too old to be stupid. We might get wise enough to do things that mitigate our stupidity, like overnighting at a friend’s house after an evening of margaritas rather than trying to drive home, but we apparently are not wise enough to figure out that those margaritas were not quite what was expected.

Let me start at the beginning, such as my pounding head can remember. I have never been a drinker. Despite growing up in a home in which wine at a family meal was as ubiquitous as the hot, crusty Italian bread, I never cultivated a taste for it. Long after all my contemporaries were having their honorary glass of wine at the holiday table, I was still drinking milk.

Then I moved to Barrow, which (depending on the year) was either wet, dry or damp. Mostly it was damp. But being damp meant I had to go through the effort of having liquor shipped up if I wanted it. Given my lackadaisical attitude towards most alcoholic beverages, I simply could not find the enthusiasm to do that.

When I moved to Anchorage, I found sugar free margarita mixes. I discovered that if you put the liquor in something sweet enough, it didn’t taste all that bad. So I began to drink occasionally. Given the amount of blood pressure medication I take, it doesn’t take much to make me very lightheaded. My rule has always been that if I have even one drink, I don’t drive.

So on Friday night when a friend who used to live in Anchorage returned for a visit, I invited her for a casual overnight involving some margaritas and a three hour Big Bang Theory marathon to introduce her to the show and my true love, Sheldon. But I realized I did not have the sugar free mix so I asked her to pick some up when she picked up the Brussels sprouts. And I think that fact alone will tell you what a wild and crazy duo we are – first Brussels sprouts, then margaritas. It doesn’t get much more festive.

One of my “innovations” is to use fresh raspberries in my margaritas when I blend them. It gives the drink a great flavor, gets rid of some of the excess raspberries threatening to overtake my freezer, and hides the taste of the liquor even more than just the mix alone. So we poured the mix in the blender, added the tequila, raspberries and some ice and sat down to an evening with my favorite physicists.

Sat down is the operative term here. The drinks tasted funny but neither of us said anything to the other about that. And quite frankly, by the third one, neither of us cared. We were ensconced on a comfortable chair and couch, the TV was highly amusing, the dogs and birds were sleeping and, by 11 PM, we were both pretty much unable to move.

The next morning my friend was gone before I got up, which was just as well since I was not feeling all that well. When we spoke later, she admitted going home to be ill in private. We were both totally mortified and puzzled. Three drinks over the course of almost three hours should simply not have produced these results. Had we become total wimps in our advanced middle age?

That’s when my friend asked me to go look at the bottle of mix she’d brought over. Something about it was nagging at the back of her head. Upon checking, it turns out she hadn’t bought sugar free mix. She’d bought light premixed margaritas. The blend was meant to be poured directly over ice with NO additional tequila added. Had we checked that fact out the night before, neither of us would have been holding our heads and wondering why anyone would ever get drunk a second time if this is what waking up the next day with a hangover felt like.

It’s like I said, you’re apparently never too old to do something stupid. But you can make the conscious decision to never do that stupid thing twice. I’ll make that conscious decision as soon as I am totally conscious again.