Here's an interesting thing, to me: I get about the same number of questions about my relationship to alcohol from adults as I do from kids about my relationship to hair.
Mister Caven, why don't you have any hair?
Mister Caven, what happened to all your hair?
Dave, why don't you drink?
Dave, what made you stop?
The difference, apparently, is in the mode of address. Kids tend to be a little more formal, where adults are a tad familiar. Which is fine, since in those cases where I am being offered a drink, I have already been offered something and turned it down.
Still, it's those moments of mild intrusion into my personal business that chafe ever-so-slightly. If I had my way, I expect I might be enjoying a full head of hair, rocking all the latest in styling products and taking those extra minutes in front of the mirror that hair can require. By the time I was in my twenties, my hairline had crept back past my forehead and was retreating back across my skull. My nominal solution was to let it grow wild and as curly as possible, since the air that I induced gave the impression of volume. It was my father's voice, one of quiet confidence in his disappearing hairline, that told me that true surrender came in the form of a comb-over, not the simple acceptance of baldness.
I don't drink because I was no good at it. Or perhaps I was too good at it. It kind of depends on the way you slice it. I do not remember a time when I had "a couple of drinks." That was a skill that I lacked and seemed determined not to pick up until my drunken behavior brought me far too close to the edge of a cliff where my personal relationships began to disappear.
Like my hair.
If I was able to sport an award-winning haircut and sip a cocktail at a party, I think this would be a relief of galactic proportions. The fact that this experience has somehow evaded me throughout my adult life is a nagging if not persistent thorn in my side.
The good news is that I have been able to find comfort and solace in shaving my head smooth, and avoiding hangovers for the second half of my life. So far.
Meanwhile, the nagging question persists: Do you miss it?
Not when I have those extra minutes each day that could have been spent on hair maintenance. Or the time it took on a somewhat frequent basis to make those phone calls of apology for my drunken behavior. I don't miss that at all.
And neither should you.