Continuing from yesterday's post.
And so I lived, thinking that my own natural status was the standard others should judge the truth by.
All on my own I decided that the Catholics were messed up, that my parents were overzealous and that I wasn't going to make some of the mistakes my brothers stumbled over either.
After four years of an all boy seminary boarding school, and I was finally exposed to GIRLS when I went to public college in Wisconsin, I began to discover how naive I was. I invited one girl to my dorm room to "play cards" and when all we did was play cards (no quotation marks required) she tried dropping hints on my numb skull when I walked her home. She told me she collected Playgirl magazines. That was too much for me; and anyway, she was a Lutheran!
Most of my HS friends had followed our priestly examples and had learned to drink beer and mixed drinks. I never could stand beer, though I learned to hold a full can long enough to blend in with the gang. And I guess I could stand a screwdriver as long as it was mostly orange juice. One time, our math teacher took a bunch of us (underage students) to the pizza place in town and I drank too much dark beer (which I could actually imbibe, probably because it was mostly sugar). I remember getting out of his car and running across the front lawn of the school that night thinking; "So this is what drunk is!" Even though I did fall down once (Egad!), I had to drum up the realization that I was drunk because it wasn't any more of a thrill than a good book, or a good grade on a math test might produce. And that has been my only "drunk." I have never experienced all the excitement of puking on a girlfriend or standing and peeing in my parent's bedroom garbage can. I don't really get it when coworkers talk about such "exploits" or boast about their hangovers. Woe is me!
But as a college freshman, when Wisconsin's drinking age was 18, I did fall for the marketing maneuvers of a certain company. "Riunite on ice; that's nice!" they told me in their commercials, and I started buying and drinking wine all alone in my single room. I felt no serious outside pressure from my friends to drink, nor any to abstain, from my parental home, though Mom and Dad never did know what I was doing in my isolated world.
Finally I found an alcoholic drink that I liked! But as I was carefully experimenting with life choices, all on my own, it occurred to me that when I drank wine, I became different. "Duh! That's the idea right?" Yes, but remember I was "born right the first time...blah blah blah" and I did not like my spirit being altered by other spirits, so to speak, and I quit drinking.
(Skipping ahead a bit: My first very serious girlfriend (and present first wife) told me about the trauma of her childhood alcoholic home. I quickly resolved that, if we married, she would never have to fear a similar situation in her own new home with me. Nor would she ever have the near temptation alcohol might provide if it came into our future family life. "Thanks Riunite, for helping me settle the matter early!")
Then came the "knock on the door"!
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