You also become, in a way, more narcissistic. You'll feel yourself wittier, better-looking, and tougher than you are. (Who wouldn't want to be those things?)
Of course, when you're under the influence, other people can seem more charming and attractive too. (Who wouldn't want friends like that?)
People who drink are essentially making a deal: you become a less appealing person, but the world becomes a more appealing place. And that's not an entirely bad trade.
Occasionally people will comment on this blog when they're drunk. I can't know that for sure, of course, but they leave that impression. For instance, Mistie Johnson, who objected in strong terms to this post on "dime pieces" from 2013. It seemed to me that she entirely missed the point of the post, which was the effect that an incredibly beautiful woman can have on you.
Mistie made her comment at 12:37 AM on a Sunday morning. Out of curiosity, I Googled her, and it turns out she lives in southern California, which means she wrote in at 9:37 PM on a Saturday evening, a time when people are more likely to have imbibed. Again, I don't know that she had imbibed; but that was my impression.
A couple of drinks actually can make you seem "wittier" -- by virtue of your freshly-uninhibited tongue. But they really don't make you any smarter. And more than a couple will definitely make you dumber.
Think of the impression you get of drunks when you're stone cold sober.
They lean in close to you as if they have something significant to say, then recite some tired old cliche as if they're letting you in on the most fascinating secret of the universe. You look at them and nod, but inside, you're thinking, I can't wait to get away from this bore.
Or they say something banal and think it's funny.
They throw up and think that's funny.
Think of rock stars who trash their hotel rooms. I've never quite gotten that: what's fun about breaking a lamp, or turning a bed upside down? I guess you have to be drunk to understand. This is how a one year old behaves: walking along a bookshelf, pulling out all the books. Or, maybe, how a not-yet-house-trained dog will.
There's nothing wrong with being in touch with one's inner child -- as long as the outer grownup is in charge.
The saddest cases are people who drink all the time, and effectively make themselves stupider on a more permanent basis.
I've never known an alcoholic who wasn't missing something upstairs. It's almost as if they want to be stupider.
Think of the public embarrassments who are described as "a hot mess." They're usually alcoholic.
Think Lindsay Lohan. Mel Gibson. Tracy Morgan. Charlie Sheen. Joaquin Phoenix. David Hasselhoff.
Think of Boris Yeltsin, the ineffectual slob who presided over the handing over of formerly nationalized Soviet enterprises to the oligarchs:
If either his predecessor, Mikhail Gorbachev, or his successor, Vladimir Putin, had been in charge during that period, that wouldn't have happened, and Russia wouldn't be quite the vast criminal enterprise it is today.
Speaking of Putin, George W. Bush once said about him, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul." When I heard that, all I could think was, that's an alcoholic talking. (Bush is a supposedly reformed alcoholic.)
Putin, knowing Bush was a reformed alcoholic -- and therefore vulnerable -- must have proposed a couple of toasts, knowing that Bush would accept from a sense of diplomatic obligation. And Putin, sly former KGB agent that he is, would have known that he would then have Bush at a disadvantage.
And sure enough, Putin then allowed Bush to gaze into his "soul."
Alcoholics talk, but don't listen. They don't fulfill their responsibilities. They usually can't stay married for long. And they walk around in a self-imposed fog. After a while, they start to act befuddled even when they haven't had anything to drink.
Alcoholics act as if they're you're best friend one minute (for no reason), then turn temperamental the next, both with equally little reason. They lose their inhibitions, and effectively turn into children. (Our inhibitions may be a burden to us, but they are a boon for those around us.)
And if you try to hang out with them, you'll find the day revolves around the imbibing of beverages.
They may have all the promise in the world, like the 21-year-old Johnny Manziel, but they casually just toss it away. And you always end up wondering, what exactly is going through their minds?
The answer is, alcohol.
This isn't even to mention the physical side effects. Their midsections grow larger as their arms and legs shrink. Their skin becomes papery, and their faces take on a slack look. These things are inevitable as we age, but why hurry the process along?
It's all about self-indulgence, and a lack of self-respect.
Some say that alcoholism isn't a vice, but a disease. Yes and no. It's a vice that, indulged often enough, becomes a disease.
Should I be more sympathetic? Maybe. But there are plenty of people far more deserving of sympathy: people with genetic disorders, or who catch a real disease, or who are exposed to toxins through no fault of their own.
I think I'll save my sympathy for them.
(I know, this sounds as if it could have been written by the Ladies' Temperance Union. Or maybe Ebeneezer Scrooge. But, it's still all true.)