This week’s HTYH is the beginning of Allen G’s story: My early career could best be described as a working drunk. I was not overly ambitious and I really loved alcohol. Since I was born without-money, I had to suffer the indignities of labor. In those days, it seemed like I was being assigned jobs far beneath my intellect, talent and dignity. My supervisors were professional rats who had the intellect of peasants. Furthermore, I found that period of the week, Monday through Friday, to be an unpleasant interlude to my drinking. I suffered through those dry spells, by indulging in self-pity, resentment and playing the role of victim. Eventually Friday arrived and at about noon, I began to experience a most delightful glow of anticipation. I forced myself through those final hours of dismal duty in a glum, semi-hysterical condition. Finally, the blessed moment arrived at 4:30 PM Friday.


It’s an amazing feeling when a practicing alcoholic looks forward to a perspective weekend, what an imperial feeling it represents; total and absolute freedom. The chains of bondage are broken, he’s a free-agent, nobody can push him around; he has money. This is indeed the best of all possible worlds. He takes himself home, goes through the motions of dinner and then gets meticulously attired; sallies forth and walks two blocks to a gin-mill, ascends a bar stool and begins his erudition.

Usually a local garbage collector sat to my left and a salesman on my right and in the middle sat Einstein. There was no subject upon which I was not an expert. The conversations were tremendous, all encompassing and soon they progressed to where everybody talked, nobody listened and nobody gives a damn. All too quickly, it seemed the guy who owned the joint wanted to go home. But I argued for; one more round and one-for-the-road. I walked back two blocks, crawled up the stairs and collapsed into bed in another alcoholic stupor.

Saturday morning arrived. I’m sick, butterflies in the stomach and bad taste in the mouth, but with an alcoholic’s awareness that this is Saturday and I don’t have to work today. The gin-joints have opened again, I have money and not to worry, stretch out and luxuriate for another hour or two. Once again arise, wash up, get meticulously attired, sally forth two blocks, turn into the same gin-mill, and ascend the same bar stool, same characters, same conversation and by two in the afternoon; same results. Walk back two blocks, crawl up the stairs and collapse in the sack. Three or four hours of alcoholic stupor, once again arise sick, headache, upset stomach, but it’s still Saturday. Not to worry, there’s a double-header today and the second one is about to start.

Walk two blocks, same bar, same stool and everything is like it was when I left in the afternoon. Suddenly it’s 3:00 AM, the bartender wants to go home, same genius is surrounded by idiots, arguing about the same things, one-for-the-road, walk back two blocks, crawl up the stairs collapse in the sack, three or four hours of drunken stupor and it’s Sunday morning. Sick; bad taste, but no butterflies this time its buzzards and with the awareness that today is Sunday and tomorrow is Monday. Our magnificent interlude of freedom has telescoped and we can see the fast approaching agonies of Monday. We already feel the familiar feeling of our supervisor’s hot breath on our neck. We know that we’ve exhausted our vacation and sick days; how many grandparents, uncles, aunts and dear friends can we bury? And our boss is suspicious, about our frequent attacks of colitis which always occur on Monday? We need this job to support our alcoholism, so we put our giant intellects to work. To be continued.

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John Barleycorn

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