3. enjoy beer.

Were I a writer of odes, I’d dedicate a book of them to my beverage of choice.  O, the bitter bite of hops, the sting of bubbles on my tongue, the heady scent of yeast that fills the head with a nostalgia for a life not even lived—full of knights and castles and beer goddesses with trays (and corsets) overflowing with nectar and big tables of heavy wooden planks, a visual and aromatic palimpsest of rings of ales sweated down the stein and spilt from the tankard!  And laughter.  (“Does anybody remember laughter?”)
Ahem.  It’s been 18 days since I’ve drunk a beer. I embarked on this endeavor to eliminate mother’s hoppy helper because I wanted to deflate my beer belly, and I was certain this, along with a sugar ban, would work. 
My company’s diet plan recommends you make goals that are SMART—that is  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based.  Specific: I gave up beer and sugar—mostly for weight loss.  Measureable: My clothes should fit better; I can count the beers I don’t drink.  Achievable: I can go a month without beer and sugar.  Realistic: People don’t have to drink beer or eat sugar.  Time-based: What the hell—it’s a month.
But does this make my goal smart
In the eighteen nights, the more than 400 beerless hours, I have lost at least 216 ounces—13.5 pounds.  Of beer.  My body, on the other hand, empty of sugar and wheat, deprived of beer, has lost not a sip of weight.
And I am sad—perhaps sadder than I’ve ever been.  And it’s not the alcohol.  I’ve had a couple shots of frozen cake vodka.  Not beer.  I’ve had some gin and diet tonic.  Also not beer. Could I go a month without it?  Yes.  I could go a month without playing my guitar or taking a picture.  But why would I? Why should I?
My husband would argue that I should because it’s good discipline.  He once stopped drinking beer for a year.  The following year, he gave up ice cream.  To what end?  Some people climb mountains because mountains are there.  Others climb them to get to the top and experience the breathtaking view.  That’s me.  I want the cherry on top.  (Not only because I enjoy tying the stem in a knot with my tongue and teeth.)
Every day, just like most other people I know—happy or unhappy—I go to work.  I have a long commute and a nine-hour day.  It’s dark when I wake up, and it’s dark when I get home.  And life, as the death of my 75-year-old father proved, is just too short.  In half of the time I’ve already lived, I’ll be his age.  Twenty-five years.  That’s 9,125 beers.  Of course, I don’t have to drink one every day.  But unless my physical and emotional health and those of my family and friends are impinged by my 12-ounce golden-brown liquid in my special snifter, the goal to go even another day without a can of joy, a bottle of pleasure, is stupid.

Why live without the things that bring delight to your life and cause others no displeasure?  Put a beer in my hand, and a smile will light up my face.  And you will be happier, too. 

So tonight, all ale (well, one) will break loose.  In the words of a band whose very name is something I’d banned this month:  “Stick around for joy.”  

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  1. Corinne January 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    I totally agree. Why not enjoy what we enjoy, there are so many things we HAVE to do, but we shouldn't not do the things that make us feel better. So cheers tonight and I will drink one in your direction too 😉

  2. Richard Gilbert February 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    I can only recommend my current diet and approach, Leslie, and I have lost almost ten pounds in a month. Noting my brother's success with Timothy Ferris's The Four-Hour Body, I looked into it. Basically no carbs again—for six days a week. On one's cheat day, Saturday for me, one can and is advised to pig out on whatever. Ferris says this satisfies our cravings and keeps our metabolism perking along.

    So yesterday I ate toast, had popcorn, and drank a nice dark Guiness Stout. Now, I'm afraid to weigh myself today but will tomorrow. I will see some spike but it will come back down, like Ferris says. His book is a mix of weird and useful and interesting. I don't necessarily recommend it but the principles I have just outlined appear to be working for me.

  3. Corinne February 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    I totally agree. Why not enjoy what we enjoy, there are so many things we HAVE to do, but we shouldn't not do the things that make us feel better. So cheers tonight and I will drink one in your direction too 😉

  4. Blogger February 18, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

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