Don’t You Want Your Badass Friends to be Sober?

cowboys shadow


Kim sent me an aphorism this weekend. It was about the kind of friend I am – a cowgirl, blasting through a door with a shovel and a plan. I am that kind of friend and I have always been good in an emergency. The adage also mentions whiskey and the fact that some friends offer “wisdom and advice” while my kind of camaraderie is more POW, BAM, BOOM! It hints at illegality if necessary, as if I’d bury a body and ask questions later.


I am that kind of friend.


But I’m a better friend now that I’m sober. In my old, drinking days I was sloppy. I was quick to combat and quick to peter out. I can picture myself with good intentions, a rope and a hatchet and a blackout drunk’s sketchy memory. Feeling queasy in the morning, with dirt on the sheets and my boots on…


I started thinking about what it takes to be a good pal. And that got me thinking about badasses. Those people who stand up for their loved ones with the adoring zeal of a Doberman. Those folks we turn to when the boat capsizes or the tsunami hits, to guide us to safety. Wisdom and advice is great, but sometimes you just want your friend to put up their dukes and flatten the bad guy on your behalf. And whiskey does not fit in the plan. Think about it – every badass you can name is sober.


There’s a decided advantage to being sober in a tight spot.


Sober people are more articulate, more agile and more focused. Remember those old spaghetti Westerns? Clint Eastwood, flapping through the saloon doors, scowling beneath a black hat and packing a couple of smoking six shooters? Before the boozers, playing cards with floozies on their laps, could get to their holsters, Clint had shot the place up and tipped his hat to the bartender. He was the poster-boy for badass sobriety.


Some of those buddy movies, where a group of guys get together after twenty years to pull off a heist, have a drunk among them. But he’s the one everyone worries about and he’s either sweating over an impenetrable safe or asleep at the wheel of the getaway car. They pull off the caper in spite of that guy.


I am a good friend. I’ll do what it takes to help a loved one. Most of my friends don’t have the kind of problems that require digging holes at midnight, but we all have our bullies and our crises. It’s nice to know that clear headed, I can formulate a plan and remember the details of the schematic…






Today I’m not drinking because I might have to drive the getaway car or ride off into the sunset…


How come you’re not drinking?