April 18, 2007

First of all -- and this is WAY overdue -- a sincere public thanks for everyone who called, emailed, or told one of us in passing some sort of congratulations in the past few weeks. I won't get too sentimental, but we have great friends, none of whom has ever received a Christmas card from us.

(Except for Crystal and Brent. Crystal always used to bitch and bitch about sending us a card and not getting one in return. So I would take the pre-prented card that we got every year from the president of my company, and without opening it, I would scribble out our name and address, put their address in its place, re-stamp it, and drop it in the mail. Perhaps I would write who it was from on the back of the envelope, lest they think some stranger named Steve Uffman sent them a card in a scribbled out envelope by mistake.)

Of all of the messages that I received, this was perhaps the most surprising:

That's quite a cat that you let out of the bag on theskinnyonbenny.com! I picked a fine year to give up the internet for Lent (really - except for work duties). Should have given up sniffing glue, I guess.

Giving up the internet? Could that really be true? I dare say that this news was more a surprise to me than my news was to Tim. I could sacrifice things for a million years, but I would never have thought to include the internet.

Better the internet than chocolate chip cookies, I suppose.

Coincidentally, Mrs. theskinnyonbenny and I were recently talking about how inconvenient it must be for pregnant women to give up drinking. This isn't going to sound like I intend it to, but we drink quite a bit. But we don't need AA. We don't get drunk every day or every week or even every month, but I drink a beer or a glass of wine while I cook. We might sit outside on the patio and drink after work in the evening. When we gather with our frinds, we have drinks. So to give up alcohol altogether for nine months would be a bit of a strain.

The first month or two might be okay. But sooner or later, you'll be somewhere where everyone cuts loose. On top of being the only sober one, your clothes don't fit right, you're roasting from the summer heat, and your feet look like baseball mits. By then, all of the happy-go-lucky drinkers would be on your last damned nerve.

I have a close friend who just let us in on the news that she's expecting. Happy times! (Note to the annoyed: at least when your husband is drunk as a skunk this hot, sober summer, he'll be just as likely to be agressivly fondling his good buddy Benny as annoying you.)

There was a spring semester in college where one of the guys we hung around with bet my buddy Eddie a good amount of money for poor college boys that he couldn't go a month without drinking. I don't remember who the other gambler was, exactly, but it's not important to the story. I think it might have been the guy who grew up to be Morris Bart's errand boy.

Eddie insisted that he definitely could go a full month without a drink. I didn't want the bet to take place. Drunk partners-in-crime weren't exactly hard to come by in our world, but Eddie was certainly my most frequent co-conspirator. Besides, I didn't want him to miss out on all of the fun. And honestly, I didn't think he had a chance.

Alas, he took the bet. Over the next set of weeks, he came to parties, went to bars, hung out after class, and never touched a drop of alcohol. It got to day 30 of the 31 day month, and a group of us went to the bar called Ernie's. We were having a good time while Eddie stood around with his coke or water, knowing that he was just 12 hours or so from winning his bet.

Then, he blew it. He couldn't take one more night of missing out on our hooliganism, and he figured that he had already proved the point that he "could" go for the month. Hell, if it had been a 30-day month, he would have won the bet outright.

The next day, he paid the winner of the bet, and didn't regret the decision at all.

(I am such a jackass. See if you can get a count of all of the friends that I made fun of in the course of this post. Glad I got those kind wishes when I did. I should be down to zero friends by August.)

Now, I'm going to go pour a drink.