There are three types of drunks. The first, the primary, are the mean drunks. The fighting Irish. The type who spend their solitary, sober, stressed-out, teeth-rattling lives pushing down their bile and storing up every petty resentment they’ve ever experienced for the glorious drunken moment when they can vomit their anger and hatred onto the nearest convenient target. They should never touch the stuff. Inevitably, they come to recognize that fact, put the drink behind them, and learn to submerge their rage in more creative ways. They will die young.
The second type is the joyous drunk, the drinker whose life is expanded to lunatic proportions when under the influence, gregarious, loud, uncouth and unstoppable. The joyous drunk loves everyone and is not the slightest bit shy about sharing that tender emotion with anyone in earshot. They throw their arms around the shoulder of the casualest acquaintance and cry “I love you.” The joyous drunks learn, as they age and their organs send angry messages to their brains, that they must slow down, which they will. But they will not come to a complete stop until the ride is over. They are the smokers with terminal lung cancer who take a deep drag into their clogged, deteriorating lungs and smile with uncontrollable pleasure. They will live longer than they’ve any right to and die with a smile on their face.
The third type of drunk enjoys nothing in the world so much as the numbing effect of the sauce. Their favorite state of consciousness is the one between waking and sleeping, where perceptions are filtered so delicately that you are only aware of what you wish to be aware of. Softly reverberating sounds and vaguely indecipherable images sift comfortably through their permeable consciousness. Their minds drift and follow ideas with all the fascination of a dog chasing a runaway balloon, continually surprised by each windblown change of direction. They are engrossed in the dance of veils that separate the dream world from the one that is presented to them as “the real world”. These drunks are not demonstrative. They do not scream in anger or joy. They do not smile or shout, hug or hit. Instead, they withdraw into their own ever-shrinking shell. They will never stop drinking. They will never slow down. How long they live depends entirely on their genes.