Michael Battalio


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

a milestone

Having turned 21 just a couple of weeks ago, and being a reasonably
literate person, I thought this would make a good blog entry. In the
last week or so I have discovered that alcohol tastes pretty good.
When I went home for Thanksgiving I decided that one afternoon when
the whole family was out of the house I would take my first drink.
Wednesday afternoon my brother and father went hunting and my mother
went to work. After they left, I sorted through the myriad of
bottles we have stashed away. (My parents don't drink, but my dad's
parents owned a liquor store, "Battalio's Beverages." Ah,
alliteration. So, we have a lot of liquor that no one ever drinks
left over from the closing of the store.) At the very back of the
shelf, I found a bottle of golden sherry. I don't know why it's
golden. It's actually red. I dug through the kitchen cabinets and
uncovered a sherry glass. (In hindsight, I have no idea how I know
that that was a sherry glass. I still don't know it's a sherry
glass. The only cue I could be taking it from would be watching a
lot of reruns of Frasier.) With bottle of sherry and glass in hand,
I marched to the front porch. I think I've described the porch
before, so here's the short version: we live in a small
neighborhood, as in very little traffic. Our front porch has a swing
off to one side that overlooks all my gardens. Every morning I drink
a cup of coffee there. It is completely relaxing. I decided a
while ago that there, by myself with no pressure and no one to see,
would be where I took my first drink. I filled the small glass, set
the bottle down, began swinging, and took a sip of the sherry. This
is now going to sound naive, even for me, but that was one of the
best moments of my life. Prior to that experience, I had no idea
what alcohol tasted like (sans church wine, which is not a very good
representative sample of what alcohol should taste like) At first
there was a slight burning sensation, but that quickly wore off,
blending into a slightly sweet, yet tart warmth that once swallowed
pervaded my entire body. I let out a long sigh. I had made it.
After six years of high school, and two and a half more of college
all the peer pressure, all the jeering, all the wanting to fit in but
failing miserably came down to a sip of that red liquid. Suddenly
all the teasing was worth it. I had made it.
No, waiting to start drinking until I turned 21 doesn't make me
better than all the people who decide, or have it decided for them,
to start drinking when they are young, sometimes very young, but it
does make me better than all the people who said I couldn't do it.

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