Quest For Firewater
When it comes to seeking out adventure, there is no better companion than alcohol. Think back to the greatest adventures of your life, those scenes so wild you sometimes wonder if you saw them in a movie and merely adopted them as your own. It’s a pretty good bet that alcohol had at least a cameo, if not a leading role.
Which makes it a very valuable asset, for there is very little adventure to be had in today’s humdrum world. All the cool stuff has already been done. The highest mountain tops are littered with dozens of flags, the deepest jungles are thick with tourists with camcorders blazing, and at least three different minisubs have probed the inky recesses of Loch Ness. Let’s face it: we are the inheritors of a second-hand planet.
Which is why we have to rely so heavily on alcohol. It’s the original genie in a bottle and it can grant you three very important wishes that will help you seek out adventure, even if your expedition only takes you as far your local bar. Namely:
Self confidence. Pour a couple drinks down your throat and suddenly you’re a man with possibilities, with a real (if not entirely understood) purpose in life. Most of all, you’re a man willing to take chances, because you believe you can actually pull it off, whether it be winning over the girl at the next table or picking her boyfriend’s pocket. As Admiral Peary pointed out, “You will never reach your goal unless you are already there in your mind.” And we both know there’s nothing better than a skin full of liquor to get us out of our minds.
Big ideas. Alcohol is an excellent and extremely willing accomplice for any kooky idea you might come up with. And if you don’t have any kooky ideas in the hopper, it’s more than happy to supply a few of its own. Van Gogh noted, “You can never have enough ideas, so long as you’re willing to discard the bad ones.” Is flying to Prague to mastermind a pickpocket ring a bad idea? Maybe. But so is whipping dogs across a sheet of ice and cutting off your ear. But that didn’t stop Peary or Van Gogh, now did it?
Identifying your desires. Your real desires, not the desires society tries to foist on you. A sober person can wander around a mall all day without figuring out what sort of shirt he should buy, but a drunk knows exactly what he wants. He wants the girl at the next table, he wants a chili dog with all the fixings, and he wants to fly to Prague and mastermind a pickpocket ring. But first he’d like another drink.
With alcohol as your native guide, finding adventure is so easy you’ll probably stumble right over it. It’s getting the hungover guy to book the ticket to Prague that’s hard.
Frank Kelly Rich