In Boozo Veritas #16 by Teege Braune
I used to see fun as a kind of commitment, a form of work that I did at night, no less important despite the fact that I had to spend money to do it. My dedication to fun meant staying out, drinking in bars, knowing that I had to be at my real job early the next morning. If eating cheeseburgers at Steak ‘n Shake at three o’clock in the morning meant that I only got two hours of sleep and added gastrointestinal pain to my list of discomforts, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make for fun. Headaches, hangovers, and fatigue may have been unfortunate side-effects, but red eyes, a wan, sallow countenance, and a hoarse, raspy throat were badges of honor, indicating just how much fun I had achieved. If abject exhaustion made a regular eight hour shift of work feel like an endurance test, it only proved that I was worth my grit in the labor of fun.
When I read The Sun Also Rises, I wanted to be there with Jake Barnes, Lady Brett Ashley, and their friends in Pamplona, drinking fighting, and horrifying the locals. If an acquaintance confronted her ex-boyfriend’s date and then I had to comfort this person I barely knew while she wept hysterically, I understood that this was just the kind of thing that sometimes happens when people get together to have fun. If a friend got us kicked out of a bar for puking in a garbage can and continued to throw up in the street outside, we didn’t fret. He was only a casualty in the name of fun.
No matter how tired I might be, no matter how nice it would be to just climb into bed with a good book, no matter how tedious the routine of parking and waiting in line to get a drink, these were tasks that were well worth the frustration on the way to fun. Every night I stayed home was a night I wondered if the love of my life sat at the bar, lonely and forlorn, waiting for me to arrive. The fact, that I never successfully met women at bars did not indicate that I wouldn’t eventually. Whenever I settled myself in for an early evening, knowing people were having fun without me, I lived with the anxiety that the fun might reach such a pique of intensity that those involved would be transcended to another plain of existence. There was no feeling worse than opting out, only to hear the next day that I had missed out on all the fun.
If sometimes fun was boring, irritating, or even depressing, if sometimes I became so drowsy in midst of all the fun I was having that I fell asleep in a booth and my friends simply propped me up while the went about the business of having fun, it was okay. It wasn’t so bad to overdo it, vomit, and embarrass myself because it meant I had simply had too much fun. Making an honest effort was the important thing. It was unrealistic to expect every evening to be enjoyable just because I was out having fun.
I used to be a disciple in the church of fun. Now I am a deacon or priest. As a bartender, I collect tithes as I droll out pints of liquid fun. I try to keep my acolytes safe without diminishing their experience of fun. If sometimes I have to ask them to leave, I am merely urging them to seek another location in which to have fun. As they stumble out the door, I do not envy them, but I do not judge them either. After all, my livelihood is directly dependent on my ability to ensure that those around me have fun. In my free time, I still enjoy hanging out in bars, but I’ve learned that these are not the only places one can have fun. Furthermore, I’ve learned to have fun without the intensity that it once required, which is good because it’s becoming more and more difficult to recover, and I find I am seldom more miserable than the morning after a night of raucous fun.
Teege Braune (episode 72) is a writer of literary fiction, horror, essays, and poetry. Recently he has discovered the joys of drinking responsibly. He may or may not be a werewolf.