Okay! Here is a link to a story I wrote for my friend Roy’s Blog!
And here is the Full Text Version If you don’t feel like going nowhere!:
The Story of My Step-Grandpa’s Destroyed Liver
Every year when October 31st rolls around, I always think of my step-grandpa Frank, because October 31st, Halloween, was his birthday. He passed away several years ago. When I was a teenager, we would visit our grandmother and our step-grandfather in their apartment in Guelph, Ontario. My siblings and I never called our step-grandpa “grandpa”, we just called him by his first name: Frank.
And Frank. Well. He liked to drink. Or at least, he used to. His liver gave out, and then he couldn’t drink at all without getting violently sick. Drinking just didn’t feel good to him anymore.
The doctor told him, he was about to get cirrhosis of the liver, if he didn’t quit drinking, and the organ wouldn’t be able to recover. He was at the point of no return. The organ could recover to a certain extent, but only if he quit drinking. If he didn’t quit, he’d get Cirrhosis. He had to give up beer and alcohol or face the prospect of Cirrhosis and ultimately death, which isn’t much of a choice at all.
My brothers and I were not yet nineteen yeas old, which is the drinking age in Ontario. Not that we didn’t drink already. We’d been to our fair share of house parties, drunken field parties, or just hanging out drinking a few beers on a Friday night. Someone’s older brother or sister would always buy us beer.
So it wasn’t all that strange that Frank would always offer us a Beer. Just because he couldn’t drink without getting violently sick, didn’t mean that he didn’t still yearn for a drink. He always kept the fridge well stocked with beer though he never drank it himself. Not anymore. It was only a short distance from his favorite chair in front of the T.V. in the living room to the fridge in the kitchen.
Perfectly chilled. Ice cold. Beer.
So every time we’d visit, he’d reach into the fridge and hand us a beer. It could be 11:00 AM on a Sunday morning, we could already be hung-over from the night before, we could be sick; but it didn’t matter. He’d hand us that perfectly chilled, ice cold, beer with a look of thirsty expectation on his face.
Thirsty anticipation. The anticipation of a dry alcoholic tongue, that hadn’t tasted a drop in years. The anticipation of vicarious satiation, vicarious sensation and the long-missed absence of blessed intoxication; it was impossible to refuse. It was usually Molson, Miller, or Labatt 50. Nothing fancy or imported. Then he’d watch as we cracked the puckered metal seal, the mist rising out of the brown glass like early morning fog. He’d watch as we raised the beer bottles to our lips, and took that first swig, Adam’s apple bobbing, the quiet shook shook sound, as we swallowed, and the air pressure tightened with the transfer of cold beer and the surrounding air re-filling the previously occupied vacuum. A big smile plastered on his face as he watched with rapt attention, and re-lived the experience he had once enjoyed.
My grandparents kept the heat in their apartment cranked, so we usually did get thirsty.
Frank had a seven-inch scar on his abdomen where he’d stabbed himself with a knife attempting to commit suicide. I don’t know whether it’s easier to stab yourself in the stomach than it is to stab yourself in the heart, but I imagine the grinding of metal on bone as you tried to force the blade past your rib-cage, would be a lot more difficult than simply stabbing yourself in the soft fleshy pulp of your stomach. Unfortunately, or luckily, depending on the way you looked at it, stabbing yourself in the stomach isn’t as lethal as stabbing yourself in the heart. Although I don’t recommend trying it.
I guess those shakes of withdrawal as your coming down from a lifetime of the over-drinking, must be pretty rough. Maybe when you get over wanting to kill yourself, it might be a good idea to keep a stockpile of beer in your fridge, just in case your grandkids come by to visit, and you can enjoy a nice, ice cold, perfectly chilled beer. Vicariously. I’m sure that if they have a working liver to spare, they won’t mind lending you theirs.
Even if it is 11:00 AM on a Sunday morning.
Let that be a warning to those of you who like to drink, a little bit too much. If you really enjoy drinking, then it might be a good idea to practice moderation, or your liver could give out, you’ll have to face the prospect of Cirrhosis and death, and then where will you be? Not drinking anything at all, that’s where.
And that would suck, big-time!