Of Alcohol and Men

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About 30 years ago I watched my next door neighbour standing on his front lawn, as he raised his clenched fists to the sky in a drunken rage, proclaiming he was the last real man on Earth. Five minutes earlier his wife had rung our doorbell asking if she could take shelter with her two young children until her husband had calmed down from his anger.  I went outside to talk to him but he just looked at me with unseeing drunken eyes and continued his rant to the heavens. Later that night when he had fallen asleep his wife and two young children returned home. I spoke to him the next day, asking him why he thought he was the last real man left on this planet, but he couldn’t explain and never even remembered the previous evenings episode. A few weeks later he had given up drinking and turned out to be a very considerate, engaging happy man for the rest of the time we were neighbours.

Another neighbour, about five houses down, rang our doorbell one Saturday night around 11:30 p.m. asking if we had any alcohol in the house as the stores were closed and he had run out. I gave him half a bottle of Captain Morgan’s spiced rum which he accepted with eternal gratitude. He came back at about the same time in subsequent weeks but I always pleaded poverty and he eventually stopped coming.

At the same house, again on a Saturday night, I was in the basement watching TV, when I heard footsteps on the stairs and turned around to see a roughly 20 year old stranger stumbling drunkenly down the stairs, combing his hair with a brush.    ” Where’s the party man” he enquired. I explained he had the wrong house, there was no party, and escorted him off the premises. He had even used our bathroom and taken the brush from the drawer to brush his hair. When we reached the street I heard some loud music coming from up the road and escorted him to the correct house he was looking for. When I later related this story to friends they said I should have called the police. But the young man had made a genuine drunken mistake, was conversational rather than violent and I never felt threatened, so why escalate the event.

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I had my first drink after a boy scouts Christmas party when I was fourteen or fifteen. About five of us had gone to a friends house after the party and passed around a bottle of something alcoholic,  reddish and strong. It could have been wine, sherry or port. I don’t remember getting home, I assume a parent must have driven me. I also don’t remember much of the next two days confined to my bed.

When I was eighteen I was friends with a guy a few years older, Mickey Ullah, who every time he got drunk started looking for his ship. A group of us would leave the pub and he would always try and wander off from the group saying ” where’s my ship, I have to find my ship”. He was an ex. navy guy.

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When I was twenty I played for a soccer team called the Taverners. In the spring of each year we would take a single engine, 20 seater plane over to Belgium from London to play in a Belgium soccer tournament. Immediately after checking into the hotel we would search out the nearest night club and party till three a.m. We would then turn up to the soccer tournament for 10:00 a.m. and try our best to get through the game. We were used to playing Sunday morning soccer in the mud and rain of Hackney Marshes with no spectators. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the soccer tournament to see large banners advertising our team and to see actual stands surrounding the field filled with spectators. I think we acquitted our selves well. We had to stand up for England after all.

Know your limits and drink within it. Sound advice.

 

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