The person you know that is going through the worst of times

Baby Bro,

I can’t imagine how you feeling stuck in there. But it is the best place for you to be right now. All we want is to take you home and show you that you have a loving family who will support you through anything. It’s been really tough for all of us, but it’s hit your mum and dad the hardest. The rest of us are able to focus on our respective lives and that makes what is happening to you more bearable. I hate that we all feel so impotent and unable to help. Please understand that we all want what is best for you and will do all we can to ensure you get the help and support you need.

Keep the faith, little brother. Know your family waits for you. We ain’t going nowhere.

Think of you always.



The person that gave you your favourite memory

Dear Tom,

My boy. I remember, and always will, when I held you so tightly the day you were born. Mammy had to go see the doctor and you were left with me. Just the two of us. It was late, I was exhausted and so were you. You had been through so much. You looked bloodied and battered, but I was amazed by you. So totally in awe of you.

You slept against my chest and I did not ever want to let you go. I like to think that we bonded that night. That you felt safe and loved and that you will always feel safe and loved when you are with me.

As we say, ‘you’ll always be my baby boy’. I know you’re bigger now. You’re growing up, but when you tell me you’re my baby boy it makes me smile. I hope you’ll never be too old to be my baby boy.

You’re my most cherished memory and I hope that, as you grow older, we have many, many more shared cherished memories.

Always know that you’re loved unconditionally.



Man, I’ve missed this

Sat by myself, with a beer buzz going on. Man, I’ve missed this so much. I actually like drinking by myself. It’s goods for the entire introspective I pretend I’m not into. I’m sat in the dark, listening to some music with a beer. It rarely gets better than this. I’m such a loner, and I use the term as a neutral descriptive, before you all start jumping on the negative trip bandwagon. I like me. I like my company. I like drinking by myself. I can just sit here and do whatever the hell pleases me. No pressure, no expectations. What’s not to like?

Some people come down on the side of solo drinkers being wasters or losers, but drinking isn’t always a social activity. Sometimes you just want to drink to be drunk. Just for the liberation from petty bullshit that alcohol brings. All the house move stuff, the job stuff, all that crap, well it doesn’t matter when you got your beer buzz going on. Just chilling out and enjoying my alone time.

I read an article once about drinking by yourself. It’s reproduced below. Someone way better with words than I ever will be captures exactly what I’m thinking and feeling.


“What’d you get up to last night?”
“Got wicked drunk.”
“Yeah? Where’d you go?”
“I didn’t go anywhere. I drank at home.”
“You had a party and didn’t invite me? Who showed up?”
“No one. I got drunk by myself.”
“No shit? What’s wrong, man? You wanna talk about it?”

I do wanna talk about it. Not about what my friend wrongly assumed was the dark motivation that would drive me to drink alone, but the very act of drinking alone.

Somewhere along the line people got the idea that solitary boozing is a sure sign that the drinker is about to slip over the edge into something dark and sinister, whether it be suicide, skid row or a staff position at a drinking magazine.

And on the surface, it makes sense. Alcohol is the original social lubricant, after all, it makes any gathering loose and friendly, it has the unique and beatific ability to spin laughter and camaraderie from the dry straw that is the strained silence of the sober. Strangers become friends, friends become cliques and cliques become vast drinking scenes. It is the golden bond that connects you with most of your friends and acquaintances. It sure as hell isn’t a collective interest in stamp collecting that holds the gang together.

Drinking alone, on the other hand, is a much more pure and forthright form of imbibing, and I say that because it focuses entirely on the simple act of putting alcohol into your bloodstream. It tosses aside all the half-hearted pretensions about merely using alcohol as a social tool. It gets down to what drinking is all about: getting loaded, and by doing that, getting down to the inner you. The inner joy, the inner madness, the subconscious you, the real you.

Now, there are those who abhor the very idea of spending a moment with themselves. Put them in a quiet room for five minutes and they’re picking up the phone or turning on the TV. “Deep down in his private heart, no man respects himself much,” Mark Twain was fond of saying, and he was dead right. Why should those people want to hang with their inner selves? That entity is, for all intents and purposes, a stranger, and worse, a stranger who knows all their deepest, darkest, most terrible secrets.

Which, ironically enough, is exactly why you have to hang with him, because sooner or later that bastard will turn on you. The longer you keep him locked up by himself, the weirder he’s going to get, and he will eventually manifest himself as a nervous breakdown or very self-destructive behaviour.

That’s where your old pal booze comes into play. You already knew the sauce is the supreme moderator, a perfectly charming go-between when dealing with friends and strangers, but did you also know it is as equally adept at opening up internal lines of communication? Whiskey is the key that sets the monkey free, goes the old saw, and that monkey is your Id, your subconscious mind, the inner you. Instead of letting that monkey out in public, where he tends to go berserk (or so they tell you the next morning), set him loose in a calm room. A quiet place bare of predators and prey. Get to know him. You might be surprised. You might even start liking the little bastard.

Find Your Circle of Solitude
“So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.”Charles Bukowski

Just as it is nearly impossible to write anything worth reading while someone is looking over your shoulder, it is just as nearly impossible to tap the subconscious mind while drinking in the company of others. Which is a shame because never is the subconscious mind more lucid and willing to speak than when you are loaded.

So find your quiet space. Lower the lighting and unplug the phone. And for the love of God, turn off the TV. That evil box is the antithesis of inner thought, it is a jabbering knave that never shuts up or listens, it is expressly designed to steal your attention and direct it to its own petty needs. Turn it off or, better yet, throw it out the window.

A dining table, in my opinion, is the best place to drink alone. There is something about having the glass and bottle sitting right in front of you, ready for action, it brings to mind Bogart in Casablanca, except you don’t have Sam sitting at the piano, tickling the ivories. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some music to set the mood.

The Soundtrack of Isolation
“The only thing better than one of my songs is one of my songs with a glass of scotch.” Jackie Gleason

While you may prefer metal, rap, punk or, egad, techno when you’re out swinging with the gang, the point of drinking alone is not to get pumped up but to hunker down with the inner workings of your psyche. Slow and melodic, even nostalgic music is best. Tom Waits, the Jackie Gleason Orchestra, Johnny Cash and Portishead work for me. You know what puts you in a meditative mood. Find your slow inner beat and cater to it.

Choose Your Moderator
“I let my drinking do the talking.” Humphrey Bogart

Whiskey on the rocks is Johnny Carson. A cocktail is Conan O’Brien. A strong burgundy with some bite is David Letterman. Beer is Jay Leno, which is why I stay away from it. And make sure you’re well stocked. The last thing you want is Johnny, just when the show is starting to roll, taking a powder on you.

Now that you’ve picked your host, you’re ready to start rapping with your Id, right? Wrong. Before you can get acquainted with yourself, you have to get acquainted with the bottle.

Befriend the Bottle
“A well-made Martini or Gibson, correctly chilled and nicely served, has been more often my true friend than any two-legged creature.” M. F. K. Fisher

After three or four drinks you’ll start realizing there are clear advantages to drinking alone, namely:

You’re the bartender. Drinking alone means you can drink exactly what you want. Let’s admit it, what we drink in public is not necessarily what we really want to drink. There are social norms to conform to, there are reputations to maintain, there are friends to impress. Your mouth will order a shot of tequila when your soul wants a Black Russian.

You control the pace. Want another? Pour it. No standing in line for a drink, no pressure to take yet another sham shot of girlie juice, no bouncer telling you you’ve had enough. The bottle in front of you never says no. Only yes, yes and yes!

Booze tastes better. Read a good book alone in a quiet place and you will absorb and understand the beauty of a perfectly worded sentence. Read in a crowded and loud room and you will skim the beauty and absorb nothing. The same goes for drinking. There are no distractions to divert your attention from the rich bite of a mouthful of bourbon. You will notice the vast array of flavors and aromas. You will realize hidden depths of taste in a cocktail you had imagined a shallow pond. Show me someone who is drinking alone, without any desire to seek out human companionship, and I’ll show you a drunk who truly enjoys alcohol.

BogartThe bottle doesn’t jabber. One of the greatest pleasures in life is a comfortable silence between friends. You know what I’m talking about: you’re having a quiet drink at a table with an old friend, and both of you feel absolutely no need to engage in idle prattle, there is a fine understanding that nothing needs to be said, you merely sit and bask in the light of each other’s company.

Those moments, unfortunately, are few and far between. These days we’re so damn afraid the other person will think we’re boring and start looking for someone a little more chatty to sit with, or, worst of all, yawn. And it’s from the belly of that fear the current plague of pointless small talk was born. I’ve gone out drinking in the company of a great number of people and at the end of the evening I won’t be able to recall having a single inner thought of value. Or a single valuable outer thought, for that matter. When you’re jabbering at friends and they’re jabbering at you, the inner drunk is neglected, he merely sits there and broods.

When you are drinking with the bottle, however, you are rewarded with a vast, gently rolling plain of comfortable silence. The bottle never gossips or tries to interest you in stereo speakers it is planning on buying, it merely sits there in pristine silence, filling your glass instead of your ear.

You can act any damn fool way you wish. The bottle will not condemn you for laughing out of turn or pounding the table like a bad character actor. It will quietly salute you. You can get as maudlin, dramatic and sentimental as you wish, without anyone telling you to snap out of it, cheer up, or cool out.

Meet Your Monkey
“You don’t know a damn thing about a man until you’ve gotten stinking drunk with him.” Charles Russell

After about five drinks the monkey will start rattling the cage. Let him out.

Examine his fine smile. This is the giddy you that is so charming with the ladies at the bar. Note the wily gleam in his eyes. This is the happy-go-lucky sport that comes up with wholly improbable, yet wildly optimistic schemes while loaded. Sense his light heart. This is the jovial soul that will laugh at the worst bar joke ever told.

Doesn’t seem like such a bad guy at all, does he? Introduce yourself. Buy him a drink. Let him buy you a drink. Anyone who buys you a drink can’t be all bad, right?

It is now that you will recognize the monkey for who he truly is: he is you without social constraints. A slave unchained. He is you without the worry of what other people think. He is what you want to be, not what your parents, friends, lover, boss and God want you to be.

After a couple more rounds, a rich warmness will settle upon you as the alcohol rallies your collective self esteem. At this point you’ll start to think, Hell, this guy is a fucking prince.

Understand that this is the guy who has stuck with you every step of the way, he stood with you in every fistfight, he was there when you were struggling through the blackest shadows of depression, he helped you plant the flag on the tallest peaks of success. All this time you were hoping everyone else was watching, and all along it was always you, gazing from within.

Wallow in nostalgia. Everyone loves a good story and your inner self remembers them all. Revel in all the good things you’ve done, laugh off the mistakes you’ve made. Realize that every step and misstep of your life has led you unremittingly to this single pristine moment: Drinking with the best friend you ever had or ever will have.

Don’t be afraid to get emotional. In a crowd you are not likely to follow your own emotional path, you adopt the emotional direction and tone of the gang. Now you can feel anyway you want. Laugh. Cry. Do whatever the hell you like. If you catch yourself feeling self-conscious or foolish, pause and remind yourself you are your only audience. Who’s going to tell on you? The bottle? No. I know the bottle, and the bottle ain’t talkin’.

As you dive deeper into the bottle, and deeper within yourself, you will start feeling a strange wholeness. The surface you will blend with the submerged you, and though the pair will never entirely merge (if you pull that one off, you should put in an application for the position of Dalai Lama), they will mingle and they will learn to like each other. And that’s the whole point.

Before your inner journey ends, make certain you realize exactly what you’ve pulled off. Look at yourself in the mirror and fairly tremble with your newfound power. You have built bonds and allied yourself with the one person who will determine more than anyone else on the planet whether you fuck up or seize your dreams.

* * *

In the morning you may not remember much of your adventure, but that’s okay, because the monkey never forgets. And a stranger who genuinely likes you is a very powerful ally, because he will come to your aid when you least expect it.

The next time you get loaded with the gang, gaze into your drink, your secret mirror, and think: “Hey, old friend. Remember our quiet time together? Remember the thoughts we shared? We’ll meet up again down the road. Just you, me, and the bottle.” —Frank Kelly Rich

Modern Drunkard Magazine

Someone you want to give a second chance to

Dear Frankie,

You were part of the dream team. The York crew. We had some totally awesome days and nights out and it’s such a shame that after you got married you felt it was best to ditch your friends. Friends are for life, mate. Through it all, and in a totally non-gay way, we would always have each other. I imagined the four of us doing York still in our fifties and beyond. Sure, we’d probably not have the stamina for twelve hours of boozing like we do now, but dammit we’d give it a shot.

When you stopped coming with us, and we were reduced from a foursome to just three, part of the group dynamic changed. We miss you. The other guys won’t admit it, but fuck them, ha! I’d always be prepared to welcome you back to York. It doesn’t matter that we haven’t talked in over a year or more, come back with us. Let’s do it like we used to. Yeah?


Eugh. Back to work tomorrow. I hate my job. There, I said it. Last week I got a verbal warning for sending an inappropriate email. What was so inappropriate? I criticised management. Hey, you’re a manager, expect people to criticise. It goes with the territory. When the days are passed where you can form an opinion, you know things are messed up.

I was talking to one of the other guys in the office last week, and we decided that we have a woman’s job. Now now, don’t get all antsy about my gender stereotyping. I have soft hands. I have the job of a girl. I need the job of a man. Something physical so I’m not sat getting soft and fat all day long. I want to work hard and get tired and come home happy and satisfied. Anything but more time spent in that hellhole.

Short week for me though this week. Only two days. I need some time out. I intend to be busy getting ready for our house move. Last week’s crap got cleaned up easy enough on Friday. We just needed to talk about stuff. She actually apologised for giving me a hard time too. Haha.

The one that broke your heart the hardest

Dear Jacqui,

I was 17 when I met you, and you a year younger. I was devoid of cash, devoid of transport and living 200 miles from you. We met on holiday in Newquay in what was the last summer of my youth. I was young and handsome, and you were young and pretty. You were a good catholic girl and I loved you. I kept the letters you wrote me for years afterwards and only recently parted with them. Considering we were so young, and considering we lived so far away and only saw each other a few times after the holiday, it’s incredible to me, that I still remember you to this day. I bet you don’t remember me.

I actually still remember when you told me it was over and that the distance was too great, that you needed to focus on your studies. That is just insane. It’s fifteen years ago!

You came along and you experienced me at my most loving. I don’t think I ever felt about anyone else the way I felt about you.

I just hope that you’re happy and successful. You deserve it.


Cold Feet

It could be that the recent trouble is just cold feet, probably on we’re both suffering a little bit from freezing extremities. When you consider it, it really is a huge commitment. Both financially and in terms of relationships. Buying a house. Buying a home. It’s a thirty year term. You get less for murder, isn’t that the saying?

I think that right up until this point I have taken things are temporary. I could leave at any time. Last night when she said ‘get out my house’ I wasn’t bothered, because I realised I could. I could just simply leave. I have a couple of places to go, and I have a house too that I can reclaim in a couple of months. I don’t have to be here. Sometimes, admittedly, I don’t want to be here. So why am I here? Because it’s easy? Because I love her less and therefore control this relationship? Is that what this is all about? Control? What am I so scared of? What do I think would happen if I walked out? Would I make it? Could I make it?

When I moved in here in July, I didn’t even unpack my stuff. It sat in boxes in the back room with my computer, and now sits in the garage ready to move to the new house at a moment’s notice. My packing, my things, were packed up and ready to go within an hour. That is temporary. This is not my home. Tom and I both call where I sleep, ‘Mammy’s room’.

And the sad fact is that I am comfortable with the status quo. I don’t have any issues with my lack of permanence here. It has suited me. Perhaps that speaks volumes about my commitment to this relationship. Happy it doesn’t mean much, because that way it’s easier to dispose of. Is this why I don’t form close relationships? Does this, as most things, hark back to my relationship with my father?

Man, this is so screwed. We’ve not talked about last night. We’ve not really talked. Once again she is in bed, and I have come downstairs out the way. I’m tired but I don’t want to go to bed. I have a disciplinary at work tomorrow (probably come to nothing) and should be resting, but my head is abuzz with the mess I’m contending with and I can’t even contemplate sleep.

It’s the fear. I am scared to let go because I fear I will be making a mistake. There can be no going back this time. Better the devil you know and all that. But time is short. Each day that passes is a day that I could be spending being really happy.

Hit me baby, one more time

Last night I was wired and tired. Went to bed after letting off some blog style steam and put last nights events to the back of my mind. Woke up this morning though, and those three little words greeted me.

“She hit me”.

Really? I mean, seriously, really, did that happen? I think back to last night and I can’t quite believe it. W T F ???

I shrug it off, because, well no man worth his salt is going to complain that he was slapped by a woman. Part of me is saying, ‘it was nothing’, but the other part of me is hands clamped over ears to block out the alarm bells going off in my head. She hit me. It’s difficult to swallow. The act hurt not at all, but the intent was there. I keep asking myself, playing it over in my head, there must be a mistake, I must have got it wrong. She hit me? No way. That can’t be right, maybe I dreamt it. The ramifications of this are huge, but it is in the – well, it probably resides in our socio-genetic makeup of what makes up man. It’s in our make up to ignore it, forget it. Pretend it never happened.

First, I’m a big guy. She’s smaller, lighter, weaker. Does one raise complaint when struck by a smaller assailant? It didn’t hurt; and that is not just macho bravado. I was stunned by what she did because she did it rather than because it hurt.

Second, is this going to be the way she vents frustration in future? By lashing out physically? Do I want any part of that? What I shrug off as nothing would hurt Tom. If she gets as angry with him as she did with me, will she hit him too?

I’m playing this down. Not making a fuss. Pretending it doesn’t mean anything. I’m not a victim! She hit me, but I am not a victim! I feel foolish even talking about it. What does it all mean?

“She hit me”.

It is not my fault you’re ill, or a miserable hag.

It’s not my fault you’re ill. I didn’t sneak the cold virus into your food or anything like that. It’s not my fault that you’re tired. You came in from work at 5, and I had dinner on the table ready for you. You spent the evening, until you went to bed at half past seven, generally complaining about stuff – and wonder why I don’t listen.

It wasn’t my fault that I didn’t hear the cat scratching to go out for a piss. It was only half past nine and I had headphones on to help keep the noise down because I am respectful of your decision to go to bed early. Just don’t expect me to join you.

When you got up, I offered to take the cat down and let him out. But Martyrdom set in and you did it yourself, then complained that I didn’t do it.

Don’t slam doors and think I won’t say something or do something equally childish. You slammed one, pissed off because you wouldn’t let me help you, and I slammed one. Tit for tat.

Don’t come storming into my sanctuary and hit me. Doesn’t matter it didn’t hurt. If I hit you, you’d be on the phone to the Police or your Dad to complain. Don’t EVER hit me, for I would never hit you.

Don’t then cry and wonder why I’m ‘stony faced’ about your door slamming and physical assault. You are tired, you say? Heed my advice and get back to bed.

Don’t tell me to get out your house unless you really mean it. I DO have somewhere, many places, to go. Don’t go down that road unless you have the guts to finish the journey.

Don’t tell me to ‘not come to your bed’, because, baby, that’s an easy one for me to deal with. And, it’s MY bed, k? K.

I know you’re worried about stuff. And I try to allay your fears and apprehensions all the time. But sometimes, duck, you just gotta deal with it.

So deal with it.

That’s all.

drunk women turn me off

J came in after being in the pub all afternoon. Stinking of booze, slurring her words. Not at all attractive. I’ve had a pretty good day with Tom. We watched the entire first season of Ben 10 Alien Force, played with playdoh and wrestled a bit. Tom let me practice my body slams on him. I held off on tombstones – will wait until he’s 4 before we try that one. All in all, a good day. Tom falls asleep, I put him to bed, and I’m chatting to Kory on MSN when J gets in from the pub.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t want to be this late.”

“Its fine, I don’t mind.”

She then goes into an indepth explanation of her friends emotional state (I’m not interested) and then starts reading me text messages she’s been sent by someone (I’m not interested) before reciting the daily updates from Facebook. The reason I cancelled my Facebook account was to avoid the daily updates.

“What’s this on the t.v.? I don’t think I’ve seen this one. Xmen and its Wolverine.”

“This is the Fantastic 4.”

“Oh. Can we watch Million Pound Drop?”

“Davina annoys me.”

“We can play along.”

I guess I don’t have much choice really. Davina does annoy me, but not as much as drunk females who insist on leaning on my arm with their elbows sticking in my ribs. Especially when I’m typing. I’m having an MSN chat, but now I have to do it one handed. This is uncomfortable, your elbow is in my ribs, and you stink. Please get off me.

I excused myself to go to the toilet and now I’m in bed writing this to get the frustration out. Then I hope to fall asleep quickly to avoid further drunken associations.