Like a lot men in their thirties with a job, a mortgage, and a functioning pair of testicles, I’m toying the with the idea of having children. Failing that, the plural, I can at least imagine having one.
Right at the point when I’m about to pull the trigger—to make a decision, not in a biological sense—I become hesitant.
I think of Saturdays. And how I’d feel giving up the endless hours when I plan on doing everything I thought about during workdays, but which I never get around to doing.
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with alcoholism, and, per the title of this blog, comedy. In the case of the latter, this shit hasn’t gotten funny yet, but stick with it, the comedy cogs might start turning in my head in a couple hundred words.
In the case of the former, this mindset of giving up my precious Saturdays was precisely one of my barriers to getting sober.
From graduating ten years ago until around two years ago, I developed a nice routine on Saturdays of refusing to do anything else apart from getting shitfaced. If you haven’t tried it, it’s real fun.
It didn’t have to be a special occasion, like someone’s wedding or birthday—hell, I didn’t even have to be well. I’d drink until I couldn’t drink anymore, making various visits to the local convenience store to re-up. And for those eight or so years, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Then it had to stop. Saturdays started leaking into Sundays, and Sundays into Monday evenings, until every day was a Saturday, just some Saturdays I had to go into work before the fun could start.
I wasn’t a turn-up-to-work-shitfaced alcoholic who washed his FrootLoops down with a margarita, but I was an alcoholic of sorts.
Fast forward two years and more than my fair share of relapses, I’ve grown accustomed to drinking carbonated water and enduring the boredom of Saturdays with a smile.
I still don’t get anything done, especially not all the shit I think up when trapped at work, but I’ve grown into a moderately responsible person who pragmatically accepts every Saturday can’t be a wild party.
Which brings us to now, and the nagging feeling I should level up my adulthood and take the big leap of being a father.
Two hundred years ago, I imagine the choice would’ve been a more simple one. Having kids was a no-brainer or, failing that, an accident waiting to happen: You either had kids or there was no one to look after you or the farm when you started going pee-pee in your pants again.
Now things are a little different. Condoms and the pill, for instance, and the fact that I don’t know how to water rhododendrons, let alone provide a living by raising plants.
And when the effort to get up to go to the bathroom outweighs the feeling of sitting in my favorite chair without having soiled my pants, if that day comes, I can get in-home assistance from someone who’ll slap me around a little when we’re alone or grab my arm a little too tight when escorting me to my bath elevator.
They didn’t realize it, but people had it much easier when they couldn’t choose to be selfish, which I for some reason am programmed to think of choosing not to have kids as being.
Selfishness was also what I thought about my lifestyle choice a couple years ago. That I was being selfish by choosing to get shitfaced every Saturday. But am I being selfish by not having children? Fuck yeah.
Here’s why: The only reason I exist is because someone decided to give up their Saturdays for me. Instead of going to see the latest Denzel Washington movie, they bought tickets to some piece of shit set in a universe where pets talk, and they sat there and pretended to laugh, so that I’d have a good time.
And I’m going to what? Not take my turn? Shake my head while I mumble that shit’s for someone else?
When you get sober, you’re not just quitting boozing, you’re quitting being a selfish jerk every minute of every day. You’re becoming responsible.
That shit takes time. This isn’t going to be a caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation that happens in days and with seemingly no effort, apart from hanging from the branch of some tree while Mother Nature takes over.
I’m not there yet; shit, I haven’t yet fully let go of the caterpillar lifestyle, despite being sober. Not quite. As much I like to think I have sober Saturdays nailed—and I do, when there’s no adversity—I still miss those heady Saturdays when the only selfless thing I’d do was get up off the sofa to go the refrigerator for the next round of beers.
But if I had to choose between going back to those Saturdays and watching the occasional kiddy movie, I know which I’d choose.
So what are you waiting for, Dan? Stop being selfish and take your turn. Who knows, you might actually like the latest Eddie Murphy movie.
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