Thursday, January 04, 2007

To be reborn

I don't very often suffer a complete alcohol-induced memory wipe.

In fact, I don't think I've ever suffered a classic 'blackout', which, I understand from doctor friends, only results from prolonged periods of self-destructive excess, and typically erases periods of at least several hours, if not whole days together, from the memory.

No, a slightly sketchy recall of the latter stages of the evening (when my brain is three-quarters shut down, and getting me home on 'auto-pilot') is the worst that I can usually claim.

More thoroughgoing memory-loss incidents happened to me a few times in my wild youth - and I somehow rather miss them. To wake up after a huge bender, convinced that you have probably done bad things the night before, but having no recollection whatsoever of what they were, was a strangely invigorating sensation. It was like being pardoned for your sins, being given a clean slate..... almost as though you could begin your whole life again anew from that point.

I have quite often fantasized about how liberating, how empowering a dose of total amnesia might be!

The only time I've had such an episode recently was at the going-away session for my pal Big Frank 10 or 11 months ago. Strangely enough, on that occasion, it was a segment from the middle of the evening that went missing (perhaps I had been caning the double JD & cokes a little too vigorously during the extended afternoon 'happy hour' in the bar where we kicked things off), but I got a 'second wind' later on..... and can remember the later parts of that long, long bar crawl in rather too much detail.

It's a strange business, to be sure.

I have - for some years now! - been playing around with a possible structure for a 'drinking' novel ('Barstool Blues'), in which the protagonist is perpetually waking up without a clue where he is, and - trying to reconstruct the memories of the previous day - finds himself reminiscing about things that may perhaps have happened years before.... or indeed, perhaps about things that have yet to happen. The same sort of time-jumping, reality-flipping, multi-strand narrative structure used by Vonnegut in 'Slaughterhouse 5', in fact - "Listen. Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time." No new thing under the sun.

What do you think, though? Any mileage in it??


The British Cowboy said...

Maybe he could go to a tattoo parlor each night and have that evening's activities permanently engraved upon his body so he could remember when he woke up.

You could then have a movie made of it. I understand Guy Pierce is looking for work these days.

Froog said...

I've always thought I'd rather have Ewan MacGregor play me on screen.

Tattooing is very painful and time-consuming - a waste of "valuable drinking time", I feel.

The British Cowboy said...

Please tell me I am missing your humour and you got the reference I was making.

Froog said...

Do I have to SAY it?!

'Memento', of course. A fine film. Although I was never convinced that that guy was together enough to get himself into a tattoo parlour every time he found a 'clue'....

Anonymous said...

So "I don't think I've ever suffered a classic 'blackout"; really? I remember a prawn curry which definitely had nothing to do with you.
"The Lunch"

Froog said...


How does something YOU remember signify something I'VE forgotten??

Prawn curries never do have anything to do with me, nor I with them. Allergic to seafood, and all that.

Identify yourself, 'Anonymous'! And stop writing so damned elliptically!!