I retired from that game years ago. It’s a great stress relief to know exactly where you left your car.
But it occurred to me, as I was paring a long list of song titles, that those days of excess and their fallout informed a number of the entries. (Here’s how this song title thing started.)
So with nothing stronger than a soft drink at my side, allow me to pour you a concept album’s worth of new song titles.
“Hey, Everybody, I’m Drinking Again!”: This doubles as the album title. It’s an imagined reaction from the friends of someone whose first act wasn’t worth repeating but who clearly has no self-awareness. You’ve heard of aha moments; this is an oh-no moment.
“Drunky Boozy”: A term I think my brother’s friend coined. To me, the drunky boozy guy is a lovable lush, one who gets sweeter the deeper he dives into his cups. This one most definitely is not autobiographical.
“Play Through the Drink”: A former “Saturday Night Live” cast member used this term on an episode of Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast. I believe it’s a sobriety check, as in “Before you start down this path, remind yourself of the negative outcomes that lie ahead.”
“Top of the Fifth”: I’m a baseball guy, so this obviously could be a reference to a game-in-progress, or it could be the tearing into a distilled beverage. I was only ever a beer guy.
“A Tough Night for the Tongue”: I am a teeth grinder, so for years I have worn a night guard when I sleep. Sometimes I wake up with noticeable pain, evidence of having bitten my tongue. But this title also takes me back to those not-so-nice nights when I said things I later wished I hadn’t.
“A Slap to the Face (And a Cut to the Heart)”: I’ve only ever been slapped in the face once, during college, on the sidewalk outside of the immortal basement nightclub Shattered in Columbia, Mo. I had it coming, and I got it. See “A Tough Night for the Tongue” above.
I suffered figurative slaps to the face, too, including the one from a now-Ivy League professor who said that going out with me would be a step backward.
And you wonder why I drank too much.