The following is a transcription of an article from a short-lived publication in Athens, GA circa 1989. No record of Nyborg Batfish or this essay exists so far on the web, but we’ve been wanting to share it for some time. If the author wishes to contact us, we’d love to buy him a drink.
THE POWER OF POSITIVE DRINKING
By Nyborg Batfish
(Editorial note: Athens is justifiably famous for its hard drinking populace. Yet, in this town there is a serious dearth of informed philosophical commentary regarding the drunken arts. To rectify this situation we have engaged the services of noted tippler and savant Nyborg Batfish. Mr. Batfish is a professional drinker of many years standing and has lectured extensively in public restrooms, throughout the Americas and Europe. This month’s article is excerpted from his book “Dialectical Speed Carfind vs. Astral Vomiting — a Century of Nausea.”)
I. Drinking as Being
I am drunk. I am terribly drunk. I am the most drunken person I have ever known. Just now, I pushed over a cigarette machine in a vain attempt to smash a cockroach the size of New England.
The proprietor of the bar approaches me, screaming. Is he screaming? Is he screaming at me? Or is he screaming at my drunkenness? What do I mean by “me”? How many drinks have I had? Where the hell am I? (“I” being equivalent to the “me-ness” which we all seem to possess. “You” are a discrete entity apart from “me”. “You” could in fact, buy “me” a drink.)
II. Drinking in the Twentieth Century
Ego considerations aside we can rest assured that this is the most convenient century to be drunk in. If I wanted to get drunk in, say, the fourteenth century, I would need to build a time machine.
Now operating a time machine while under the influence of alcohol is a galactic felony code 4-R. Entire solar systems have been annihilated by some juiced-up bozo exceeding the temporal limits of the space-time fabric. Thus the conclusion is forced upon us – be drunk now.
III. Modern Consciousness and Bourbon-on-the-Rocks
Contemporary philosophers tell us that man, and man alone, is the sole conscious being on this planet. Does this then mean that women are unconscious? And if so, where are they? Are they good looking? Are they single? Can I buy them a drink? These important questions need to be answered as soon as possible.
IV. Category Definition vs. Dry Heaves
Category definition, though one of the most abstruse, esoteric and recondite branches of modem thought is still vastly preferable to dry heaves. To understand category definition one need have only a working knowledge of Boolean algebra and General Systems Theory. To understand dry heaves, however, one must know why a grown man, in the prime of his life, gets off work Friday evening and drinks till he throws up.
V. Alcohol and Creativity
Does alcohol subtly enhance creativity? Or does it merely cause oneself to wet the bed?
I sit down at the piano and play an etude in D minor. Then I drink several cocktails and play the same exercise, altering some of the notes. Are the notes “wrong” or are they “right”? Is the nature of my music contextual? Why does my landlady bang on the wall and scream so loudly? Why does my drink keep falling over?
In summation, I believe that alcoholism may be likened to Catholicism except for the fact that they are, of course, completely different.
VI. Drinking and Destiny
Do we drink because are spirits are athirst for nectars yet more ineffable? Or do we just like to get buzzed.
To answer these questions I got drunk. I awoke in the bushes behind the Golden Pantry with a gnawing uncertainty about life’s purpose. A stray dog urinated on my chest and then growled at me.
Was this dog angry, rabid or perhaps merely “expressive”? Was he being territorial? Or was he just being a pain in the ass?
When I jumped up screaming was I being “reactive”? When I hit the dog with a two by four was I being cruel or was I merely “completely hungover”. Are dogs really man’s best friend or are they just after our women?
As Descartes, in his magniloquence, stated so aptly, “I drink, therefore I am hungover.”
Great thinkers down through the ages have borne testimony to the exquisite enlightenment achieved through gulping copious draughts of alcohol.
Historiographers often recall the famous soliloquy by Herman Melville, spoken when he came upon Edgar Allen Poe wandering drunken through the streets of Providence.
“My child,” (spake Melville) “thou hast partaken of the blood of the vine and they spirit gambols now in realms of faerie. Yet it is in your own souls’ blood that dwelleth the true faerie wine-the elixir of God our father.”
It is said that Poe wept when he heard these words and thanked Melville in the only way he could-by throwing up on his knees.