It’s been a long time since I’ve woken up looking at a ceiling I didn’t recognise but feeling proud that I had actually made it indoors. Only to look down and realise that, for some strange reason I was naked except for my left shoe and a large blue ribbon tied around my plonker. The next step would be to make sure that all my limbs were still there (note, as a guy I checked for my plonker first and the means to pull it second) and then to establish: (a) where I was and; (b) if the party was still in progress or whether I was going to have to deal with reality just yet. Serious benders (for the uninitiated) last days not hours and usually involve you piecing the events together gradually over the following week. Usually with the help of an attorney and a police report.

It’s been a while since I’ve been out on what you might term a serious bender. And there’s a reason for it: you seldom go out on a serious bender while you can still remember your last one. And the memories are all too vivid. I’ve always believed that a good measure of how much fun you’re having is whether your parents or the authorities would disapprove, and there are many who would agree with me.

A lot of children of my generation had huge problems with this initially, as our parents grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and the odds on us actually outdoing them weren’t very high in the boring ‘ol 80’s. It meant that we weren’t able to properly break out during our rebellious phase, or at least it would have meant that if our parents had stayed true to their youthful beliefs.

It is a sad truth that as we get older we get more conservative. You would think that learning a sense of mortality and the realisation that life is fleeting might spur people to be more daring but it doesn’t. It makes them try to extend that fleeting existance as long as possible. Even, I personally quit alcohol afterbeing told that if I give up drinking that I will live longer. I disagree: it’ll just seem like longer. Those were a truly rough few hours.

So us kids with the ex-hippie now semi-serious parents really had to get in trouble in order to be absolutely sure we were having fun. Okay, so there weren’t that many of us but what we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality. But even getting arrested pales after a while and we begin to grow older, “grow up,” and learn to be responsible.

Well, some of them did. Personally I don’t get it. Why cave? Why give in? They’re all out there after the religious buck. The biggest religion of all. The one they think will make them happy and be their saviour. Money=security=stability=happiness is the 80’s and 90’s all-consuming equation. It is the 80’s money-mad gospel and although it is not entirely wrong it lacks detail. The real equation reads: Money=financial security=financial stability=?

There is no such phrase as “financial happiness” for the same reason that there is no such phrase as “pretty as an airport”. Neither concept exists on any sort of level. Money is not the route to happiness any more than it is the route of all evil. Money is a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Money can be used to do things that may bring you joy, but more than likely the joy that you will get will be in sharing it with other people. People are the route of all evil, also all happiness and joy and sorrow and melancholy. They are all emotions and they’re all ours to revel in as much as we can. Sure we don’t get to choose exactly what emotion we get when, but that’s the risk and that’s exciting.

And on that note I think it’s time for that bender. It’s time to take a risk, spend some of that cash I was saving for a rainy day because it’s pissing down outside. It’s raining unhappy people who bought the 80’s dream lock, stocks and barrel. It’s time to remind them that there’s another way to do it. Another option out there; and it’s never too late to say “I was wrong.”

I was wrong. I don’t have to forget my last bender before my next one. I can go out, cause trouble dance on tables, tell jokes, take drugs, and spread a little joy tonight and worry about the consequences tomorrow. Or the day after, or next week, depending on how long this body and the drugs hold out.

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