Vigilant to Danger


Sitting in a night club, I observed an elderly man delivering a martini to his well-dressed  wife.  She finished the drink and with her legs tightly tucked together, rolled out of her seat and fell to the floor.  Almost at once, waiters and managers appeared and helped return her to her chair, where she laid her head on the table.

Placing a kiss on the back of her head as he stood, her husband unsteadily exited the room.  I was concerned about her being left alone until I spotted him reentering: wobbling and precariously balancing two martinis in his hands.

The over consumption of alcoholic drinks can lead to unintended, embarrassing and sometimes dangerous occurrences.  Consisting of almost straight alcohol, a martini is a particularly potent cocktail.  An insidious concoction, the strong concentration of spirit erases inhibitions and good judgment.

In his later years, my father decided to become a martini drinker.  Not realizing the potency of the drink, he unintentionally embarrassed my mother and she asked me to speak to him.

On a Friday afternoon, I cautioned him that a martini was too strong of a cocktail for a man of his age.  I suggested a glass of wine before and during dinner would be more appropriate and safer.  He sat quietly for a while and then said, “Thank you for the concern, but what I drink is none of your business.”

The next evening at a local restaurant, my father stared at me as he ordered a vodka martini.  Determined to keep him from over consuming, when he turned away, I grabbed his glass and gulped down half of the vodka mix.

After a puzzled glance at an almost empty glass, he ordered another martini. Again, when he wasn’t looking, I drank most of the potent drink; and as before, when he saw the glass was almost empty, he ordered another one.  Once more, I emptied most of the glass.  Only dinner being served stopped my insane consumption of my father’s drinks.

Monday morning, dad entered my office, closed the door and said, “So you believe I have a drinking problem—that’s the pot calling the kettle black!  I had four martinis and was just fine; you had one drink and we had to help you out of the restaurant.  I suggest you limit yourself to a glass of wine before and one during dinner.”

Friday evenings Terri and I enjoy a martini.  After arriving home we will exercise, change clothes and prepare dinner.  Shortly before the meal is ready we will fix our drinks and then—with our favorite music playing in the background—we’ll retire to the living room and spend time together.  By the time we finish the cocktail, dinner is ready to be served and there is little temptation to have another.  It is a ritual we look forward to: a quiet time spent putting the week behind and preparing for the weekend to come.

Upon reading a sign warning to “Drive With Caution,” you proceed with care.  Like driving on a road under construction, the consumption of alcohol requires you to be vigilant to the dangers that are present.

 A Treacherous Friend

Wine is a treacherous friend who you must always be on guard for.”-Christian Nevell Bovee

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5 responses to “Vigilant to Danger

  1. I love your story Bill. I have a martini almost every night. I fix it around 7:00 and sip on it until bedtime. As the ice melts I continue to add a little more ice to keep the drink cold. Sometimes I don’t finish it so I put it in the refrigerator and start on it again the next night by adding another shot of vodka and a little more olive juice to the glass. What a divine drink.
    You are right about overdoing it. I used to do that when I was young and stupid, but thanks to maturity, I’ve learned the value of sipping a martini rather than gulping.

    • I’m sometimes surprised I survived the young and stupid days; it scares me to think about them. Slowly sipping a near -frozen martini while listening to great music is one of life’s great pleasures.

  2. What a great story, Bill, so well constructed, beginning with the couple in the restaurant. A great set up. I’ve never tried anything stronger than a Bloody Mary, but it is a pleasant thing to share a drink at the end of a long day. My husband and I usually save that for Friday nights when we can heave a sigh of relief that another work week is over. If people want to make asses of themselves by drinking too much, that is their business unless they decide to get in a car and drive. That’s when I get angry.

    • There’s something special about ending the week spending quiet time with the one you love; a drink makes it even more relaxing. Thank you for your kind comment.

  3. What a great post for a Friday, Bill. I think I would really have liked your father. I have to admit that I find ‘advice’ from my son hard to take. Seriously, if you can’t enjoy a little tipple in your senior years, it’s a poor state of affairs. I’ve never acquired the Martini habit (being a Brit) but a good bottle of wine is another matter…..
    I remember a French colleague firmly informing me that it was impossible have a healthy meal without an aperitif (or two) before the meal ‘to sharpen the appetite’, a bottle of wine with the meal ‘to permit good digestion’ and, finally, a digestif with the coffee ‘to settle the stomach’. He forgot to mention the taxi home.
    There you have it, folks. As it’s Friday, I’ll prepare to celebrate these little cultural differences with my good lady wife.

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