Dr. Adam Avitable knows all.

An Unofficial Study Of Alcoholism And Judginess

(via text message)

Me: Do you need a date to the wedding?
Rebekah: I don’t think it’s your kind of wedding.
Me: What does that mean? You know I actually can walk into churches without catching fire, right?
Rebekah: Right. Sure you can. Also, it’s a dry wedding.
Me: That’s what flasks are for.
Rebekah: No flasks!
Me: Okay, fine. I don’t need alcohol to have fun. I only drink 1-3 nights a week.
Rebekah: Only? Haha!
Me: That’s not bad!
Rebekah: Not bad compared to what? That’s a lot! Three times a month is not a lot.
Me: You know me. I can’t leave it at this. To the Internet!

Rebekah (r) holding a bottle of vodka she won at The Other Bar with her teammate, Mari (l).

Rebekah (r) holding a bottle of vodka she won at The Other Bar with her teammate, Mari (l).

 

So I went to Facebook, and posted a poll, asking people to tell me how frequently they consumed alcohol if they were to look at a three month average. The amount consumed each time wasn’t considered, because that’s another poll altogether. I got 178 responses, and here are the results:

As you can see, after we get rid of the people who don’t drink at all, we see that approximately 40% of the people polled consume alcohol two or less days a week on average. And approximately 48% consume alcohol three or more days a week on average.

What this demonstrates to me is that consuming alcohol three days a week is not a lot. In fact, it’s almost completely average! And that doesn’t take into account at all the sheer number of people who were too drunk to answer the poll.

What this pie chart doesn’t show is some other surprising statistics from my poll. I thought I’d share them here. Out of 178 people polled:

Two percent

prefer being self-satisfied judgmental douches over consuming alcohol

Four percent

feel bad about not drinking so we could probably peer pressure them into it

Six percent

would rather just tell me I drink too much rather than answer (read: dodge) the question

Seven percent

are allergic to alcohol, which is apparently a real thing. Probably more real than gluten allergies.

Nine percent

had to quickly explain that it’s only in moderation, as if they were going to get extra points for being the hall monitors of consuming alcohol

Ten percent

typed the answer to their poll with nicotine-stained fingers while explaining that drinking alcohol is unhealthy

Thirteen percent

have the reading comprehension of a four year old and are unable to simply choose a letter but needed to tell their life stories

Fifteen percent

felt compelled to justify their adult decision to consume alcohol because someone in their life must make them feel guilty about it

Sixteen percent

said they had only been drinking one day or less when the truth is that they’ve been drinking constantly for so long that it just seems like one really, really, really long day

Eighteen percent

had a drink in their hand as they answered the poll and lied blatantly about how infrequently they drink

Twenty-two percent

have no problem admitting that they enjoy drinking occasionally and understand that people who are judgmental are just kind of sad

Thirty-one percent

smoke weed so they were probably high and skewed my poll with the wrong answer

Forty percent

have consumed so much alcohol in one sitting at least once in their lives that it would forever change their average to at least twice a week

Fifty-three percent

are either strippers, comedians, bartenders, or otherwise work in an environment where they are constantly surrounded by alcohol, so their “normal” is different than someone who stays home all day and night and never leaves the house

Eighty-nine percent

were on the toilet when they answered the poll and then they went back to playing Angry Birds

Ninety-two percent

thought to themselves “Avitable is a weird fucking dude with a weird fucking life”

One hundred percent

will need a few stiff drinks after they see the next naked birthday card I’m coming up with for Facebook

 

What about you?

How many nights a week do you consume alcohol, on average?

View Results

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It's not always about being funny.

Oh Fadda, My Fadda

My dad shows me how to tie a tie.

 

My father would have been just as happy if he and my mother never had children. Don’t let this thought evoke shock, horror, or pity. Just continue reading his tale, straight out of the movies, and forgive me a little artistic license, as I wasn’t there to witness what happened:

In the late 1960s, James Robert Avitable, an Italian hothead, caught Robyn’s eye. Two years older than my mother and a physical embodiment of the devil-may-care attitude, he drove fast, thumbed his nose at the consequences, and lived on the other side of the tracks, perfect for my conservatively raised, snuck cigarettes in the bathroom when she was 12, fiery redhead mother. He was her rebellion, tougher than her uncles, the Irish hooligans who started fights and hung boyfriends out of third-story windows, and he was there to stay.

But then time, as it has a frustrating tendency to do, passed. Maybe my mother saw her life taking shape and a path forming as she approached the end of her teenage years. Maybe my dad reveled in his adolescence too much.  Maybe there was other love on the horizon – someone more similar. I don’t know.

But I know that for these two stah-crossed lovahs, everything hung in the balance. A burgeoning relationship, a blooming love, hovering on the edge of becoming something greater. And Dad left. He and a childhood friend began walking across America on a journey of self discovery that couldn’t happen today,  lost to the fear and paranoia of our modern society. From Boston, they walked, hitchhiked, hopped trains, and traveled all the way to the West Coast. His friend gave up and called home for a plane ticket, but Dad persisted.

Alone, he traveled road after road back to Boston. Harassed by the police who saw this unwashed hippie as a threat to their whitewashed ways of life, he continued nonetheless, refusing to give in. And while he walked, while he endured the idle chatter of truckers and itinerant travelers, he found himself.  Dad found his core. His reason for moving forward and facing each day. And he kept moving.

In my head, it was a cold rainy spring night. Weary, unshaven, and dirty, he thanks the old man who drops him off in front of her house. His backpack, held together with little more than hope, trails behind him as he rings the doorbell. She answers the door, expecting anyone but him. In a rush, his words spill out as he tells her how much she means to him. As she steps back and cries, he gets down on one knee and asks her to be with him forever. And she tells him to go take a shower first but yes. Yes.

Jim and Robyn Avitable

My father would have been just as happy if he and my mother never had children. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s an amazing thing. The examples he sets in dedication, love, and commitment are stronger than anyone I’ve ever met. With my mother, he has what he wants in life, and every action is designed to ensure the satisfaction and happiness of the woman he loves.

The further we troublemakers three get away from our parents and from upsetting our mother with the banalities of our lives, the more mellow he’s become. He absolutely loves us, and he deeply cares for us, and he wants us to succeed in life and make him proud, but nothing is stronger than the love he feels for our mother.

And I just can’t fault him for that. Can you?

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you.

It's not always about being funny.

Nub

The sun, my natural alarm clock, paints my unshaven face with heat. Four steps from my bed sits my computer. I write for hours, only venturing outside once for some quick sustenance among people speaking a language I haven’t yet learned. Then it’s back to my words. My creations appearing on a screen in front of me. 

I’ve been waking up, in a sweat, to this vision every morning for the last week. It’s not a nightmare, though. It’s freeing.

My brain is overflowing with projects and ideas and whole worlds I can picture as if they were real and I want to develop and write and just . . . just create. For over a decade I’ve tried to balance a career with my creativity, but I’m gradually being ground down to nothing.

I hear my parents in my head as I type this. For baby boomers, life = work = money. You work hard because that’s how you support yourself and you don’t have to like it, but you do it so that eventually you can retire. By my age, my parents had three kids, two careers, two cars, a house with a pool, and a retirement fund. I have nothing. Zero. And I want even less.

A plan coalesces, piecing together every time those arctic fingers of depression crawl over me. All I need is the space to put it into play. Six months? A year? I need time to end this life, repay those who have been there, and rid myself of this detritus – this fucking debris that has become my life.

Why shouldn’t I? What can I possibly lose?

I’d rather live at a subsistence level and have the freedom to create than keep striving for this American dream, this nightmare that belongs to another generation, and be stifled. What I want out of this life, more than anything, is to make my mark. And that can’t happen right now. Not when I just keep grinding myself down to a nub.

therapy

Moms

Mine didn’t have dinner on the table every night, but she tried to. She worked sixty-plus hours a week, most of it standing up, staring into chest cavities, performing intricate procedures that required acuity and precision. She came home to three kids – the intellectual smart-ass who most resembled her and challenged her at every turn, the sweet yet temperamental daughter with perfect symptoms of the middle child syndrome, and the mischievious bright-eyed brat who got into everything and got away with most of it. She helped save lives all day long, a drastically more essential role in society, and then came home to the entirely marginal problems of children living in an upper-middle class family. My father would try to help, but he was the Judge Dredd of our little world, and his solutions tended to veer towards draconian.

Mine was the one who tried to be neutral and understanding, even when she just wanted to relax with a cigarette and a beer. She was the manipulative one, too – saying yes to the softballs but sending us to the enforcer for any favors she knew shouldn’t be allowed. I can’t blame her for that, though; it made the most sense given our family dynamic and as long as we always thought of her as the reasonable one, we gave her a break, which she has always deserved. Her snapping point was a distant point on the horizon and the only time she ever reached it was with all three of us, behind her, pushing her as hard as we could across that infinite space until it exploded in a flash of light and heat. The fact that all three of us survived to adulthood is a testament to her grace and serenity.

Mine was the smartest person I knew, with every adult in her circle treating her with respect and deference. She was the encyclopedia and the one who always knew how to figure out any answer. She was the lightning wit and biting sarcasm followed by the forgivable chuckle. Outsmarting her – outwitting her – outdoing her in any endeavor – those were my goals as a child, because that truly would be like stealing fire from the gods.

Mine is retired now, and enjoying the fruits of all of those years of her labor with my father, many miles away from the three of us – the genius narcissist who throws away his education, the sweet and fair-minded teacher who just wants all of us to always get along and love each other, and the salesman who will do whatever it takes and say whatever he needs to so he can close his next deal. Now when any of us, all adults in our own right, get to be too much, she can hang up the phone and relax and know that we’ll figure it out. We’ll do it because that’s how she and my father raised us.

Happy Mother’s Day to mine. You can’t have her.

Adam Avitable and his mother

therapy

New Phobias For Modern Society

Do you have a fear of flutes? Aulophobia. 

Does a bratwurst give you anxiety? Teutophobia.

Terrified of virgins?  Parthenophobia.

Gary Larson's Far Side cartoon on lupaslipophobia

There are literally hundreds of phobias. But as we become more and more connected as a global society and with the advent of new technology and new social behaviors and activities, there is a whole new crop of phobias that haven’t even been documented. Until now. I present to you:

Dr. Adam Heath Avitable’s Phobias for the Twenty-First Century

 

Sundayfundayproofophobia:  The fear of what your children will find years from now when they Google your name

Allcapsaphobia: Anxiety caused from the uncertainty of what any of your older relatives will comment on your Facebook posts

Skynethomicidaphobia: A fear that you will be caught committing a crime by the Google Maps car

LGBWTFophobia: The fear of offending someone by accidentally referring to them by the wrong gender

iFlushaphobia: Fear of dropping your phone in a public toilet while playing a game.

Carrrrrllllllllphobia: Fear of the zombie apocalypse

Carl Walking Dead Meme

Laundrydayaphobia: Anxiety caused by going out in public and being photographed for the People of Walmart site

Numberinacirclophobia: Anxiety caused by having unread notifications and unread emails

Peebeearrraphobia: The fear of hipsters

Pseudoexercisaphobia: Fear of mud runs and color runs

Foreveralonaphobia: The fear of accidentally swiping left on a good profile on Tinder

Foxnewsaphobia: Anxiety induced from having a black President

Mexicasiatexafrenchinesitalianaphobia: A fear of fusion restaurants

Trendsheepaphobia: Fear of people who insist they have a gluten allergy

Duckfaciaphobia: The fear that you’re going to take an unflattering selfie

Needmygameofthronesfixaphobia: Anxiety caused when you can’t get your friend’s dad’s buddy’s uncle’s daughter’s friend’s grandmother’s HBO Go password to work

Boobapaloozaphobia: The fear that you will accidentally send a nude snapchat to everyone

Whydoesshehatemephobia: The anxiety when your FB message has been marked “Seen” four hours ago but you haven’t received a reply

Urbandictionariaphobia: Anxiety caused by not knowing or understanding the latest trendy fake words like “fleek” and “thot”

Siriyoubitchaphobia: The fear that your phone will autocorrect your innocuous text into something offensive

Comedian Adam Avitable talks about autocorrect

And, finally:

Avitaphobia: The fear that Adam Avitable will post yet another naked picture somewhere on the Internet.

Thanks to Ree for the inspiration to write this post!

What new phobias do you foresee?

 

Where Avitable lives.