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Punch Drunk

This Week: Intervening Myself



“Falling off the wagon” means that one has fallen off the water cart, and is a metaphor that implies that one is imbibing (heavily) after a period of sobriety.

The reason I bring this up is because of a recent breakup and my ensuing bender. Not that I was ever on the wagon myself, and this “bender” was probably just a continuation of the minor tippling spree that I was on before the breakup, but it made me realize how thin the line is between fun-time drinker and problematic, train-wreck alcoholic.

Does it take blacking out an entire day, getting in a fight (apparently), taking some stranger into a dirty Fan alley to look at her unmentionables and then only hearing about your idiocy later on from multiple people that you don't even recall seeing, to hit rock bottom?

I think maybe it does.

The bartender sees the desperate plight of the gin-soaked soul every day, and a few of us barmen (and bar ladies) are just as irresolute in our lives and our imbibing habits. The question is, when does it really become a problem? When you get fired? Get charged with drunken driving? Accidentally kill a kitten? Impregnate a stranger? End up in jail?

Well, I'm too pretty and too fragile to survive in jail, so if that's the next step then it's high time that I chill the F out.

As a professional dispenser of booze and advice (although my advice is dubious at best), I need to start practicing moderation in my life. This column entry has been my confessional and you people are my priests. If you ever see me drinking the devil's holy water (Rumple Minze) again, please smite me down right in the middle of the bar. Hail Mary, Mother of Bob, etc.

While we're on the subject of drunken morons. ...

I Laughed
Recently a concealed weapons permit holder shot himself in the leg while ordering an alcoholic beverage in a Lynchburg bar (Roanoke Times). And all this time I was being told that permit holders were angels who could do no wrong. They would never drink while carrying their concealed weapons! Impossible!

I believe my gun debate opponent and head of the Virginia Citizens Defense League Mr. Philip Van Cleave's exact words were, “a one in a zillion chance,” in reference to a permit holder breaking the law.

Well hell, looks like this Lynchburg fella won the Powerball, got struck by lightning and had sextuplets all in the same day!

I hate to say that I told you so but wait, I love to say it. Here we go: I told you so.

Next time an innocent bystander will get hit with that bullet and not the drunk jackass who's packing the pistol. Oh well, the new concealed carry law is the law in Virginia and we know who to thank for it.

Now let there be blood. ...

Jack in Berlin
I've been invited to cover one of Europe's largest bar conventions (Bar Convent Berlin) for Mixology Magazine, a German-based trade publication. The next Punch Drunk will recount my experiences there, and some of the more cutting-edge bar presentations I plan to take in. Starting Oct. 1 you can also keep up with my daily reports at and

Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback consumes and slings drinks at a number of local establishments. He also writes a surly blog at Find him on Twitter @jackgoesforth. Have a question or comment for the bartender? E-mail:

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