Thursday, April 14, 2005

Mayberry Not

I have been a drunk.

In fact I'm certain there was a time in my life when many people described me as "a drunk." It was an accurate description. I'm fond of saying I think most people are entitled to an Olympic sized swimming pool worth of alcohol over the course of their lives and I had mine...and probably a few gulps of yours.

Twelve or thirteen years ago I quit drinking for ten years. I didn't drink a drop. In recent years I have cautiously allowed myself a modest amount of wine. I seem to be able to control it now, although I don't recommend folks who've conquered the demon of booze to follow my example.

I credit having God and Amy to lean on.

I'm sure there are people from my past who have no idea that I ever sobered up and if they think of me the first word that comes to mind is "drunk."

Remember Otis from Mayberry?

Back when The Andy Griffith Show was on TV it was sort of cute to have a town drunk. Being a raging alcoholic is not quite as charming these days

Evidence Henry Earl of Lexington, Kentucky.

Maybe I'm the last one to know about Henry. He's apparently an Internet phenom with dozens of websites devoted to keeping tabs on him, some of them are quite cruel and I warn you some of the sites are flat out racist.

Henry Earl has been arrested more than 800 times, mostly for public intoxication. He's currently in jail after being arrested a day or two ago.

Don't believe me? You can keep tabs on him and check out his various mug shots and arrests at this website. Scroll down the is a stunning record.

Being a drunk is one thing...being a drunk who gets arrested for being drunk every other day for more than a decade is quite another.

The town drunk has morphed into the world's drunk thanks to the Internet.

I know from personal experience that you can't force a drunk to sober up, but surely we can do better.

Or am I'm still living in Mayberry?