Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lessons Learned in 2009 - First in a Series

Lessons Learned in 2009, #1: Life Is Too Short to Drink Cheap Vodka

Cheap vodka does not pay for itself. It does not return the investment you make in it. It results in a net loss in your quality of life. To wit: I recently bought my annual bottle of Bailey's, to be drunk with copious amounts of strong coffee over the holidays. (In a word: Yum.) My budget being what it is this year (mostly non-existent), I decided to forego my preferred brand of vodka, Smirnoff (which itself is a recessionary substitute for my beloved and fiscally impractical Stolichnaya), for a more economical brand. I chose a slim bottle of Fleischman's. What the heck, I thought, potatoes are potatoes, vodka is vodka, right?

Wrong. What I discovered almost immediately is that a couple of shots of Fleischman's produce a hangover equivalent to a far greater intake of higher-quality liquor. Boo. If I have a drink or two in the evening, it's because I want to relax and enjoy a mild buzz, not wake up feeling like the inside of a sorority pledge's fuck-me pump during rush week. I'm old enough to know that when I imbibe immoderately, I deserve the sensation of a mongrel gnawing on my intestines through my belly button while it sits on my head. Shame on me for acting half my age.

But if all I'm doing is pouring a couple of shots into a glass of Diet Coke (diet, for chrissakes) to watch "Lost," I don't think I should pay for it with locusts dancing a conga line in my head. Mind you, I'm not driving or dancing on tables; I'm not seducing strange men in bars. I'm sitting in my family room, trying to figure out what the hell is up with Ben Linus. But if I'm drinking Fleischman's, I'm asking for pain the next morning.

So the lesson learned is this: Pay for quality. An extra ten dollars for Smirnoff or Stoli (or Absolut Mandarin, a tasty Christmas present from my dear sister) pays off every time with smoother taste, a more delectable buzz, and a better morning after. Or maybe I'm just an incipient alcoholic for whom a hangover implies a moral judgment I'm not psychically able to accept or deal with. Whatever. That's an issue for 2010. For 2009, I say: Indulge your vices well.

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