Do you like to make lists?
I do. I like to make lists. And a driving force behind how much I like to make lists is how much I like to count.
Also I’m an Obsessive Compulsive.
Whether these urges are related or not I can’t say—but if they are I blame Sesame Street (and especially The Count*). And okay, though I haven’t actually been diagnosed with OCD that doesn’t stop me counting things
ALL THE TIME occasionally.
I like to make lists and I like to count. To prove my point here is…
A Sober List of Seven Lists I’ve Made
“Ah, ah, ah, ah AHHHHH!”*
1. I made a list of all the places where I’ve spent New Years Eve, from my first, in Manchester (where I was born) to the most recent in Melbourne (where I’ve lived most of my life)—and every year in between.
From the age of sixteen or seventeen, for over two decades, I’ve been drunk going into the vast majority of new years. I think maybe half-a-dozen times I was sober (or close to sober) as the clock chimed twelve?
Come to think of it, it’s probably more like only two or three times when I didn’t get drunk on NYE. And one of those times I was flying with a Muslim carrier and the one plastic ‘glass’ of ‘champagne’ they gave out might have already got the cat who drank it (and pissed it out again) drunk but it wasn’t doing any of us western riff-raff any tipsy favors!
2. I made a list of all the acting jobs I’ve ever had.
It was called an Actor’s Biog and I only retired it when I took a semi-permanent-maybe-permanent break from acting a couple of years ago. Alcohol and acting never mixed for me. Unlike some of the old pantomime vaudeville-trained actors I met in England, I never was one to take a swig from a hidden flask before taking the stage. I did, however get wild drunk after the show. Lots of shows; lots of wilds. Will there be an encore? Who knows.
3. I made a list of all the schools I’ve been to.
- 9 primary schools (including multiples in Ballarat, Sydney, Perth and Los Angeles)
- 3 high schools (one in Sydney, two in Melbourne)
- 2 universities
- 2 TAFE colleges
Total ‘schools’: 16
Having experienced so many different curriculums I reckon I have a good excuse for any bad spelling and grammar I might still have. It is also my excuse for my hidden resentment of anyone who did hang on long enough to get their degree. Bastards. Educated Bastards.
My gypsy childhood may also have contributed to a belief I held for many years that I needed to do whatever it took to fit in with each new group of people I met. Often, that meant drinking alcohol. From high school parties to University orientation days, there was always another excuse to get blind and HILARIOUS!
4. I made a list of all the songs I’ve ever written.
Granted, since I’m up to about 267 songs, this one is helpful. It’s fun to look back and play some oldies (to me!) but goodies by picking out random titles. Interestingly, in terms of this YOLS caper, I have never
written finished writing one song drunk or while drinking. A few have spilled out the morning after but most of my songs—and all my other ‘writings’—have emerged from a clear sober state. My quiet mind is plenty busy with creativity without being disturbed by da drink.
5. I made a list of all the books I gave away or sold when I moved back to Melbourne after living in London for six years.
This list was made with the idea I could replace all my ‘cherished but heavy’ books upon my ‘travelling light’ return (I haven’t yet but maybe that list will prove handy someday?). Reading is like writing for me—something else I can’t do drunk. In fact, mostly, I don’t even like to have one or two drinks when I read. I need me my focus.
6. I made a list of domain names I’ve bought thinking they might be good to use one day.
Still not exactly sure what I’m going to do with yisyot.com (though it did inspire the working title of a novel I’ve drafted). Also, though I try not to drink and shop online, I think I may have had a few bevvies when I considered buying www.whats-it-all-about.com and www.why-is-my-life-a-mess.com. Luckily I sobered up in time before typing in my credit-card number.
7. I made a list of all the girls I ever slept with.
It probably goes without saying how alcohol played a part in the creation of this list too. I mean, I can’t remember for sure (there’s a hint, Ben) but I reckon I was probably boozed up for, oh, let’s just say 90% (?) of my first sexual encounters with new lovers. I’m sure it didn’t affect my performance at all though (if any ex-girlfriends do feel the need to comment on this post all I ask is PLEASE remember the good times).
It probably also goes without saying that as I’m now a happily married man, these days my wife remembers that last list better than me. Especially the final number.
I’ve made other lists too. Many of which are useful lists which serve a definite purpose. Things like a wedding invitation list, a book launch invitation list and a list of things we were meant to take to the hospital in case of an emergency C-section (lucky we did make that list).
And then I guess this blog is a list too. In a way. It’s a list of the days during my Year of Living Sober when I’ve felt I had something to share about my booze-free journey which might be interesting, entertaining—or hopefully a little bit of both—to someone, somewhere out there in interworldwidewebdom.
So if you’ve come this far in today’s post, and especially if you happen to be interested in exploring the idea of disciplining your drinking a bit, maybe you’d like to start a list of your own? If you’d like a kickstarter for your list here’s another one of mine: Ten Reasons to Give Up Alcohol For One Year.
Today is Day 215 of my YOLS (Year Of Living Sober).
Little Booze Joke
An obsessive compulsive walks into a bar and starts counting the pretzels. Then he counts the beer mats. Then he counts the light-fittings. Then he counts…
Badda boom boom!
How about you? How’s your NYE sober-to-drunk ratio? Do you remember many of them? Maybe you like making other kind of lists? Love to get your comment.