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Updated: Nov 13, 2023

I wish that I could drink like I used to in my twenties

Sucking down whiskey shots

Lapping up Scooby snacks

Burning my hair as I lean in for a flaming Dr. Pepper

With my hands gripped tightly behind my back

And funneling every buttery yellow ice-cold brew in sight

Swinging from the rafters with my friends rooting for me from below

And my dignity stuffed snuggly in my pants back pocket

But I’m too old to handle the hang over

For the shame of wearing sunglasses inside CVS

Searching wobbly for the infant isle where the Pedialyte lives

Proves to be the most depressing part of my booze-soaked, mid-thirties morning.

As I meander past the cotton balls and laundry detergent

Passing ever so unsteadily around the mouthwash and Vagisil

A mother with her newborn cozy in his stroller staggers down the baby isle

Her stares are like daggers toward me

“Thank god I’m not like that anymore” she thinks

As she stabs me with eye swords of pity

Her dirty looks slash through me like a samurai sword dripping with derision

I turn to the shelves of glory

As I reach my trembling hand with vibrating fingers towards the magic juice that will bring me back to life

I glance at the baby

In an instant, I am a child again

At 35, I am relying on the same apple flavored concoction as a slobbering milk-guzzler to save me from dehydration - or worse.

We share a second's worth of wisdom

And in the blink of an eye we are one

And the baby feels my pain

For in a few decades, he will know what it feels like to traipse the florescent isles of inconvenience

Up and down the cold half hallways with your coattails unridden and dragging far past your ankles.

Drab and bleak.

I grab the wizard’s drink, pay the lady at the counter and scurry back to my overpriced Chicago hole.

Empty and Dark.

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