We Can’t Stop

For the past couple of weeks, my friend and I have been sneaking out for beers. The bartender knows us by name, knows when we come and what we want. Hell, she even has it ready for us when we come in — lines up the Guinesses and everything. You’d think that somebody would kick us out — tell us to get a job and bum our liquor from the street, like every other broke college student, but we’re the only ones who are keeping that place alive. I mean, maybe there are a couple of other schmucks who stumble in at 12 PM — guys with loose ties and shirts that barely fit over their pot bellies, who wreak of loneliness and whatever girl they slept with the night before, but they don’t ever actually order anything. They just sit there and complain about politics or unemployment or why their wives are never home anymore. And it’s real sad to listen to, but it’s ruining me little by little inside, to think that that’s what I have to look forward to when I get out of school. So I try to cover my ears or take our my iPhone — anything really, that would make you forget where you are or why you would want to be there. And I feel like between the booze and the texting and the endless amounts of music that come up, it should be enough, but something always leaks in — job search results or a phone call from an ex. My friend says I should try harder — find new music, join new groups — something, anything, that will keep my mind away from the fact that we’re growing up. I’ve tried to tell him that it’s inevitable, that someday, we’re going to have to stop this party and learn how to pay rent and buy food and all those other things our parents do every day, but it just makes him drink until he pukes blood. Everyone I see on campus tells me that guy’s going to be found in a ditch somewhere, and I’m going to join him if I don’t take a cold shower and sober the fuck up. What they don’t understand is that I don’t want to be sober if it means making big mistakes, like losing a job or getting divorced. Those kinds of things take years to figure out afterwards–why it happened, what you’re going to do next, and in between, you’re ripping your hair out trying to decide what you’ll need to sell if you want to keep your home. Maybe my classmates can take a life like that. Maybe they can hop from failure to failure and never lose a single tooth over it, but I binge drink until my mouth loses all feeling every time I think someone doesn’t like me. There’s no way I could deal with a mess up as big as that, let alone move on to something else. I’ve tried to expose myself to failure, to start a couple of businesses and take a couple of classes I wasn’t good at. It only took away my appetite and made me afraid to leave my home without a bottle of wine in my hand. My mom says that I should keep throwing myself into different things — failure makes you grow up if you learn how to deal with it, and after all, nobody can be a little kid forever. Sometimes though, when the failures become big enough, growing up doesn’t work. Sometimes growing up is just a way to disappear.

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