As I write this, I am running out of scotch. A decently tasting 12-year-old single malt, being poured delicately into a petite lowball glass with a single ice cube. I maybe have two glasses left. I prefer my alcohol straight, or maybe on a few ice cubes, for a simple reason: I like to taste it. I somehow enjoy the experience of new distressing alcohol-tastes. There is a certain goodness to the specific horrors of straight alcohol. Some refer to a quality bourbon drank straight as "battery acid", but I see it as a worthwhile pain. A deliberate, constructed choice is a good one. This is not to say that drinking is a good choice; I am merely examining what drinking "responsibly" means to me.

Honestly, I loathed alcohol and those who drank it excessively until after I turned 21. Timing was just on my side somehow. I still loathe those who drink excessively, but now I have an honest vocabulary and experience to argue with them about the means of drinking. My stance is simple: don't get drunk if you don't know you're getting drunk. Some drink smirnoff ice and cherry-flavored beer and get drunk and say they realize it, but I disagree. Their detachment is regrettable, like the consenting adolescent who refuses to experiment with sex. There is nothing more wonderful than a body informing you of its immediate distaste for what you are consuming, nothing more assuring than that kind of symbiosis and self-reliance. Not the flat-out rejection of the drink, then you know you have gone too far, but rather the cringe and the displeasure are important signs of a healthy relationship with one's physical form. It is a kind of self-control, a checks-and-balances for getting drunk. Yes, eventually you will become inebriated enough to no longer wince at a swing of kentucky whiskey, but at least you know how you got there. The journey was yours and not the bottle's. A tolerance for alcohol is like a tolerance for people: you can grow some balls and accept them for their bitter taste (and maybe enjoy its diversity), or you can drown everyone out with the wasteful noise of PBR.

Don't play beer pong. Don't drink tequila straight. If you have to drink something, pick only what is not immediately available, and never drink out of anything plastic. Drinking water from plastic bottles is bad enough. What famous writer or poet do you know who isn't sipping something while they're writing? What man is happy at home with his wife and kids, and then recedes to his study to explain the holocaust in iambic pentameter? Is a man interesting for having done so, or is one amiable for never trying? Poetry itself is inhibition; much the same as what drinking leads to. But like poetry, the knowledge of drinking is best served when one knows it, as I am explaining. Good poetry occurs when the writer is aware of their own openness. A good drunk is someone who is aware of how drunk they are getting; to live with no regrets.

These questions aside, anyone who uses their drinking as the platform itself is false. A good writer can write at any time, the sure sign of a terrible artist of any sort is one who cannot. Nobody ever saw Earnest Hemingway walk around at a party with his Moleskine in one hand and a bottle of Jack Daniels in the other.