These days, my favourite brain candy — my term for the sort of light reading that one brings to pass away the time on the subway, at lunch, in the waiting room at the doctor’s or mechanic’s — is books on how to be a gentleman. I’ve mentioned The Modern Gentleman before, and I occasionally pop it open at a random chapter and find something that makes me sit up and take notice.
Here’s its wisdom on controlling your alcohol intake, sound advice for the holidays:
Recall the flower of youth, when running on slippery pool decks before hurtling into a cannonball seemed a biological imperative; later in life, wait an extra ten seconds before launching into a graceful swan dive. These boyhood lessons translate into all social behaviors, especially drinking. Be a refined tippler, the part-time, lovable degenerate. Impetuousness ripens into spontaneity, impatience into timely verve, unbridled energy into charisma and elan. Mastering alchohol means picking times to roar, not becoming the nightly wet rag or fun vaccuum. Instead of floundering into slurred oblivion, revel in a sustained buzz of balance and loose chat. Aspire to be “the man that can hold his liqour” as opposed to “that old pathetic drunk”. Get in touch with your chakras and vitality; the venerable vices are not an intrusive competition, but a limbering stretch of control. The ethic of alcohol is about acknolwedging personal limits, even as you intentionally step past them.