Chapter 17: One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer

As part of Nalani’s restaurant job, she’s frequently called upon to tend bar. Bartending (or, if you want to be snooty about it, “mixology”), is one of the world’s oldest callings; humans have been mixing things together to see if they are drinkable for millions of years. Mixology is such a pervasive and ancient traditional across all cultures that, even today, many of the words we use every day come from the pocket mixing guides of long-dead bartenders.

Not the World’s Oldest Profession, but Close

As an example, the Sanskrit word for the palmyra tree is “ताल,” roughly pronounced “tala.” This word was adopted for use in the Hindi language in their word for palm sap as “tari” (the “r” pronounced similarly to a soft “d” in English). Around the early 1600’s, English-speakers, looking for a word for a drink made from fermented palm sap, borrowed this Hindi word, calling their concoction a “taddy.” Though the both the beverage and the pronunciation have changed somewhat in the intervening centuries, that word carried forward from Sanskrit is still used to describe a sweetened alcoholic beverage that is typically served warm, i.e., a hot toddy.

As the parent of a small child, I am thoroughly convinced, though I can find no definitive proof of it, that the word “toddler” comes from the same ancient Sanskrit root as “toddy,” and I am also thoroughly convinced that my child, Byrd, like all toddlers, is secretly a raging alcoholic. Bear with me here; I have plenty of proof to back this up.

I asked you to walk in a straight line, ma’am.

As Exhibit A, I present the walk. Byrd is constantly stumbling, running into things, and frequently falling flat on her face after tripping over things that aren’t there. She possesses a nearly complete lack of muscle coordination which could be the result of not quite understanding on how her body works yet, but a more logical explanation would be that she’s just shit-faced drunk.

I understand all toddlers walk like this, but hear me out: what if they’re all meeting somewhere when we’re not watching them, tossing down a few shots, throwing some darts and playing a few rounds of eight-ball, then catching a cab back and pretending they were home the whole time? What if there is some sort of ride service that only toddlers know about that picks them up, drops them off at secret toddler bars, and then brings their booze-addled little butts home before their parents realize what’s going on? Sure, it sounds unlikely, but they’re getting their drink on somewhere, and will not rest until I know where.

Hey, Mister, Got a Smoke?

Exhibit B: Her Speech. Byrd mumbles, slurs, babbles, and as a general rule tends to be completely incomprehensible. Her mouth is moving, and sounds are coming out, but none of them are anything with any kind of meaning I can discern. I’ve often heard this kind of thing before, typically around the same time as last call at the bar, when the guys who should have been cut off hours ago have continued to drink until the speech centers of their brains fail, and they can no longer form words.

Also, it should be mentioned that often, when she is spewing out this incomprehensive pseudo-language, it is very often directed at an inanimate object like one of her teddy bears, her dolls, or a blank wall.

Exhibit C: The Emotional Outbursts. Byrd will frequently break out in tears for, as far as I have been able to tell, absolutely no reason. She will cry, scream, and wail as if someone just shot her dog when absolutely nothing of any note has occurred to cause her distress. I’m sure most of you know sloppy drunks of this sort who, after tossing back a few too many, go on crying jags like Byrd’s. They can’t be consoled, and you just need to let them cry it out, or wait for them to lose consciousness. What we call “crying herself to sleep” when a toddler does it, we’d call “passing out” if it were an adult.

Life Sucks

It’s not just the crying, though. Just like a drunk, Byrd is also prone to swings of extreme affection. She will bury her face in your shoulder, happy as can be, and a completely unreasonable torrent of love will come pouring out of her. When she’s in the throes of such an episode, she will often blubber toddler equivalents of “I love you, man,” as she she cuddles up to you and dumps her love all over you, often along with prodigious amounts of saliva. Any of you with good friends who also happen to be embarrassing drunks will immediately recognize this behavior for what it surely must be.

There’s a lot more proof where that came from. In addition to her blatant physical, verbal and emotional impairment, Byrd has vomited on me on more than one occasion, is totally incapable of putting on a shirt or tying her shoes without help, and has yet to hold down any kind of gainful employment. In addition, her decision-making processes are questionable, at best — given a choice between a plate of food Nalani just cooked and a trash can full of last week’s garbage, there is no way to tell which Byrd is going to choose to eat from. She’d try to run out of the house completely nude in the middle of a blizzard if we didn’t stop her. Her ability to coordinate her clothing options is absolutely abysmal.

There is no other reasonable explanation. Her name is Byrd Rex, and she’s an alcoholic.

“…Then she detoxed, went to AA, and lived happily ever after.”

If, like Nalani and I, you also know and love a toddler, don’t wait. Encourage her to get help now.


  1. Ooh, shiny new site and no more ‘like’ button. I guess to convey my admiration I have to use actual words from now on. Sorry in advance.

    You know, over many years, my best friend has smothered me in both love and vomit. She is often crashing into things and talking to walls. Therefore, after careful thought, and based on the compelling evidence you have presented here, I have concluded that she may be… a toddler.

    And I’m caught up! Noooo! Now what will I do with my life?

  2. The “Like” button… that’s what was missing. Thanks for pointing that out… migrating stuff seemed easy enough, and then I remembered I always think that when I start something.

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