# # The Necessary Year - Day 7: Disturbing Revelations or Am I All Wet?

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The Necessary Year – Day 7: Disturbing Revelations or Am I All Wet?


(this post is part of an aborted 1 year experiment in material abstinence I called The Necessary Year)


Just one full week into The Necessary Year and I have already begun to miss something in an “uh-oh, am I gonna be able to do this” kind of way:


Oh, I’m getting plenty of them but … the fluids I’m getting ain’t quite hitting the spot.

I’ve long known that the high spots in my day (and this will tell you just how simple and dull I really am) are those times I can kick back in some fashion with my coffee, or beer, or grapefruit juice, or bourbon, or tea, or whatever.

I love a beverage -more so than food, even. For me it is often the drink that makes the meal or the moment, not the meal or moment itself, and this is becoming a little disturbing to me now that I am trying to scale back such appetites.

Hardest of all is that, for virtually every night since I was old enough to buy beer, I have had at least one drink of some sort before I go to bed – and I don’t mean water.

In recent years, as my inability to properly metabolize it in any quantity has caused me to knock off alcohol before bed, I’ve switched to a large cup of herbal tea instead. Now, in The Necessary Year, I have been debating, as my supplies of said slowly dwindle, whether or not to replenish it. I mean, I don’t need it – but I seem to have trained myself to think and feel that I do!

And my coffee habit, now trimmed back, has sucked some of the joy out of my days. Is it the addiction to caffeine that has me missing it so, or that sense of having lost that little, personal treat in the afternoon that I didn’t realize I so treasured? As routine as having that afternoon coffee has become, it was a very pleasant and uplifting part of my day. And now it is gone.

Then there’s beer.

I didn’t really miss it until I barbecued without it, first some steaks and then, last night, hamburgers. I don’t believe I’ve ever barbecued without an open beer somewhere nearby and I discovered that an old aphorism of mine – “Barbecuing without beer is like having sex without a partner: the end result may still be satisfying but it’s lonely, somehow.” – is truer for me than I realized when I wrote it. I mean, barbecued burgers without beer! The horror!*

And now, here I sit, my one coffee of the day already gone and my inner voice prattling on, desperately attempting to justify having another: “It’s Saturday. You always have two coffees Saturday morning. It’s a way of saying ‘Congrats, you made it through another week!’ Just like you can sleep-in and don’t have to go to work. C’mon, bud: lighten up! It’s only wafer-thin …”

And I’ve been more testy, restless, and agitated of late. I was chalking that up to other difficulties in my life but now I’m not so sure. It is very reminiscent of the first couple of times I tried to quit cigarettes.

*sigh* I guess I’m gonna have to treat this like quitting nicotine after all. I really didn’t think it would be all that difficult …

*[Waitaminute. I did have a beer last night! Earlier this week my boss found a bottle of Thunderhead IPA in the office fridge and offered it to me. (say what? I need to see what else lurks behind that mild-mannered looking, white door …)

Now I do not like most modern, boutique-IPA’s at all – these new, super bitter beers strike me as being just like those over-the-top, super-hot foods: pre-packaged proof of machismo that tastes like shit but makes all the bully-boys stand around with their chests puffed-out sayin’: “Aint I tough? I just ate a handful of broken glass!”

Yeah, great, whatever. Good for you, Chuckles. I don’t need to prove my manhood and, thus, prefer the more subtle things in life, like flavor.

But I took that damned beer and I saved it until last night. I didn’t barbecue with it in hand, but I did have it with the meal – yet I’d forgotten about it until I was re-editing this post! What the hell does that mean?]

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4 Responses to “The Necessary Year – Day 7: Disturbing Revelations or Am I All Wet?”

  1. KJT says:

    I’ve long held the belief that beer IS food. That being said, and I hope my logic is correct here,

    Beer is food,
    Food is necessary,
    Therefore, beer is necessary.
    Logic, baby, it’s like Colt 45.

    Works every time…

    Drink up, mate.

    • cae says:

      Hah! This reminds me of something I started saying back in my under-age drinking days. Raising a beer, I’d appraise my companions and state: “As my Grandma always said: drink your bread!”

      I actually agree with your views on beer.

      My intention is to continue to treat beer as an acceptable companion to certain meals – grilled burgers for example. I certainly had no problem buying a bag of Lays Salt & Vinegar chips to accompany the meal – in my estimation they simply “belonged.”

      However, buying a six-pack so early into The Necessary Year would’ve felt like I was … cheating, if you can understand that.

      Also, being that I was already feeling serious withdrawal from such substances, I felt a certain period of abstinence was a pretty good idea.

      In my present position, no matter how illusory or affected it is, I feel a certain responsibility, especially here at the start, to police myself a little more closely than I likely will once I get into the swing of things.

      If I am going to err, let it be on the side of overzealousness (which, as loose and arbitrary as my silly little rules are at the moment, I could hardly be accused of).

      By the by, did you know that Frank Zappa considered coffee and cigarettes vegetables? Can you say “equivocation”?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to context-dependent necessity. Imagine several dimensions of living (of course there are many more too):
    ) Breath
    ) Mobility
    ) Physical comfort
    ) Social interaction
    ) Mental stimulation
    ) Pleasure
    ) Happiness
    ) Creation
    ) Joy
    The necessity of something depends on what dimensions of life you aim to satisfy. There’s no contraction in, say, ackowledging that beer isn’t necessary for breathing but that missing it takes pleasure from life.

    P.S. Stone Ruination is about as hyper-hopped as IPAs get, and it’s delicious.

    • cae says:

      > beer isn’t necessary for breathing but … missing it takes pleasure from life.

      Sometimes, delaying or limiting pleasure increases the effects of it when it is allowed. This is my goal.

      You have to understand, I’m coming out of a decade where I acted like damn near every other day was Christmas (or my birthday). I was taking an awful lot for granted and, consequently, a lot of the color drained from my life.

      I want that color back.

      > Stone Ruination … hyper-hopped … it’s delicious.

      Proving that tastes are subjective. =)

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