Why Campbell Didnít Drink

   Campbell wasnít a social drinker. He didnít drink because
carrying around a glass of merlot among friends made him jolly.
A clear plastic cup filled with foamy keg beer didnít make his
jokes any funnier and it certainly didnít make those of his
friends any better either. He saw no need to attend a beachside
bonfire. He never held a desire to be popular. Campbell cared
very little for small, meaningless chit-chat around a pitcher of
margaritas or a fancy martini shaker.

   Campbell was simple. He didnít wear beer goggles, ever.
His wife was beautiful. Alcohol didnít make him a love-maker
and he had no need to use it to soften up an attractive woman.
He was a handsome man, a good catch. Dancing was not his
style and no cocktail would ever change that. He danced at his
wedding, but that was encouraged by love, not the bottle. That
was so long ago.

   Nope, Campbell didnít drink like other people. The Super
Bowl was just another meaningless game. New Yearís Eve was
amateur night. St. Patrickís Day: just a poor excuse to drink
beer, even if it is green. Campbell made no excuses to drink.
He needed no artificial event to mask a reason to indulge.

   Campbell never drank alone either. Nobody drinks alone;
they always have their demons to keep them company.
He certainly didnít partake of the spirits because of a
loss on the stock market. His wife left him, but that was no
reason for Campbell to drink. Many people drink to drown the
skeleton of depression, but not this man. He didnít drink
because he was unemployable. And he didnít drink because he
lacked a left leg below the knee. It was hard when it happened,
but his memories faded over time.

   The poor man didnít drink to get a buzzó that high had left
him long ago. At that point, he didnít even get drunk anymore.
You wouldnít find a shot glass in his home, but he never used
them anyway.

   Silencing his demons was no reason. Addiction wasnít either.
Campbell might have thought that the drink could remove
the pain of suicide, but no one can really know for sure.
He lost a child at an early age, but that wasnít why he
drank. He didnít drink to forget reaching back behind the seat
to grab the pacifier for his crying little girl. He crossed the
double yellow; but he didnít drink for that thin, endless line.
He thought about it often, but thatís not why he drank.

   Sitting in his unfinished basement, Campbell couldnít think
of one single reason why he didnít drink. They all seemed like
good enough reasons to him, every one. But none of those
reasons were why. For hours in his basement, he couldnít think
of one reason; he just drank. To strangers it seemed like he
was always a drunk; he certainly looked it. But those who knew
him before knew otherwise. Campbell just ran out of reasons,
plain and simple. In the foundation of a broken house of dreams,
he set himself to finishing what he started so long ago.

After serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army, Bryan Catherman now
lives in Utah with his wife and two Labrador Retrievers. To pay
the bills, he removes the hopeless writer hat and dons his
Realtor cap. He enjoys motorcycling and drinking, but not at the
same time.

"Bryan's website, the Hopeless Writer, can be found at

© 2006 Underground Voices