I hadn’t even heard of ‘Dry July‘ until my do-gooder wife mentioned it. Now I wish I had one of those handy Victorian-era time-travel contraptions in the basement so that I could sneak back sixteen days in time and distract her at the crucial moment. “Look!” I would cry, pointing over her shoulder, “Where are those bloody Morlocks dragging my handy Victorian-era time-travel contraption?” an while thus distracted I’d plant a goblet in her hand and it would be all “My God, doesn’t all this tinkering with the space/time continuum build up a thirst! Bottoms up!” and we’d be back off the wagon. Not that we were ever on the wagon, you understand. This ‘Dry July’ business is a break from what had become a bit of a daily habit, to be replaced in August by a much more moderate regime of therapeutic libation.
To make matters worse, my birthday falls in July. So instead of a cheeky cab sav or perhaps a risqué little malbec to celebrate the occasion, we’ve been on the sparkling mineral water. We laugh about it through gritted teeth, with a faintly hysterical edge to our voices, but I truly hope those bastards at S.Pellegrino show some appreciation. I hope they flick a few dollars to the real ‘Dry July‘ campaigners in appreciation for sending their monthly sales through the roof. And to tell the truth, if I pinch my nose and swallow really quickly, I can almost imagine that I’m drinking a chilled Sancerre from the shady side of the hill in Crézancy. But then my brain registers the lack of interference with its communication pathways, and my self-deception crumbles.
In an effort to line this cloud in silver, I can at least rationalise that it’s got to be doing me good, all this not-drinking. For all the slightly unbelievable suggestions that a couple of glasses of red might actually do a body good, it’s hard to imagine that going without your nightly vat of booze would not be doing a body even more good. Plus, there’s less of the blackouts, memory loss, aggression, depression, wobbly-boot syndrome, and all that unfortunate falling down. Forget about your chances of developing GAD — play the drink/drank/drunk game often enough, and you will eventually shiver yourself awake on a Western Line train totally empty of witnesses except for you and the 300-pound Islander going through your pockets.
That said, having no alcohol in your blood has its downside too. You don’t find as many jokes nearly as funny; your kung-fu skills suddenly disappear, you can’t dance anymore, and you stop being so wildly attractive to members of the opposite sex. But if you want to keep your job because you have a mortgage to pay and a wife who collects Italian shoes, then it might be better to call it a night when the work function peters out to the drunken dregs and folk start drawing on each other and mms’ing pictures of their genitalia to the HR manager.
For my part, it’s never been like that, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t admit that I am counting down the days until ‘Dry July’ ends, and ‘Ample August’ begins!