… the first time
I heard that expression, I was sitting on a deserted island in the Exumas, with a jaundiced Bahamian named Sands. I think it is also the first time a Bahamian man has ever refused a free drink. What Sands meant, was that the icy beer I offered would lead to another, and another and another; it was safer to keep the Ghost in check by not drinking at all.
The fact is, some of us can’t just place flowers on the grave and remember the good times. We find ourselves as the sun comes up, passed out in the graveyard: covered in dirt, a rusted shovel, a deep hole, and oh shit – an empty casket …
Sands is dead now, in no small part because of his extreme drinking, but I think of him often in my struggle to keep my own demons securely where they rest. My bête noire is white wine. At the end of my tenure as a drinker, I had a consistent, three-bottle a day habit. There was really not a lot of time for anything else. Eight years of living dangerously in the Bahamas, with a drinking culture so accommodating, they call booze in the morning “Bahamian breakfast,” didn’t help.