To Raise a Warrior

vikings-headlineI went to a Viking Age society life exhibition at the local museum last month. I’m a Norse spirituality fan, so how I could I miss it? Beautiful exhibition, very well presented and explained. Besides the display of the artifacts excavated from the Norse soil, such as the swords, the ships, and the amulets, the museum provided a warrior battle presentation, played out by the Viking warrior and folk fans, travelling around the world. The brave folks dressed themselves in the Norse people garments and used the replica weapons to bring one another down in front of the packed auditorium, a crowd of which at least half were kids.

Each time a warrior fell in the one-on-one fight, the leader of the pack that explained the event to the audience, invited us to bring the dead fighter back to life. It was explained to the guests that the warriors who fought so brave must be on the way to Hall of Valour where they were so eager to go and party until the end of time. The only thing that could possibly bring them back to life is… well, party on earth. “Anybody knows what mead is?” the leader of the pack yelled into the crowd. “That’s right, Viking alcohol drink!” The crowd was then encouraged to yell “Mead! Mead! Mead!” to bring the soul of the dead fighter back to join the body so he could join the rank of the armed folks on stage. And so it went after each fight.

I thought it was fascinating, because the kids in the crowd, were brought to believe, for some odd reason, that an alcoholic beverage could bring one back to life from death. Yes, those are Vikings, to the majority they are all extinct for a thousand years except for TV series legacy. Yes, there is folklore, mythology, and other fun stuff to read about, and maybe forget in a month or so. Yet some stuff, especially fun stuff like that, it stays somewhere in the mind. What enters the mind acts out at some point, in ways we find unexpected and fascinating. How many future punters sat in that room? How many of them, like me, won’t be able to let go off booze easily in ten years?

Yes, me. I never heard of mead raising the dead, but I was actively addicted to alcohol for years, and without my version of mead, such as beer, I felt like a living dead. With it I was alive and could rage like a warrior running through enemy shores and their castle walls of the modern world, or at least I thought so. It made up fun reality for me. It was a kingdom of illusion I loved to keep alive for many years. It didn’t do me much good.

Blame on the Viking fans? No. that’s not what I write this for. This one is as usual for opening eyes. For thinking, while it’s still allowed to do so. The Gods brought us enlightenment for a reason.


the image was copied from https://royalalbertamuseum.ca/visit/galleries/feature-gallery/index.cfm and pillaged by me. thank you.

drink u pretty

Godwin Austen (K2) - 8611 mHe sang

He couldn’t drink the girl pretty

She really wasn’t it, I guess.

I tried to drink her pretty,

And I failed too.

Her name was Life,

Her last name was On-its-terms.

Must be French.

I was stubborn though.

I tried, and I tried, and I tried.

She wasn’t. Stubborn, I mean.

She just was.

She sat there like a rock

And smiled sadly,

Probably hoping I’d get it,

But it took me a while:

Years of anger,

Brain cells wasted in millions,

And hope in fellow men – in shovels,

Only it wasn’t their fault.

False hopes and unrealistic expectations did it.

I cared for things that wasn’t there,

Although all that time I had people

Telling the truth to my face,

Truth I didn’t like.

I always thought Plan B would work,

But I got to letter Z and I was still profoundly fucked.

Now I look at the sky with eyes sober

As the morning dew,

(unless the air got drunk on a whim)

And say “thank you” a lot.

I still try,

You know, coffee it pretty.

But I think it’s a different kick –

No one gets hurt,

And the bills get paid.

She still sits there like a rock,

But I know her smile is happier now.


the front image was copied from https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/k2-last-problem-of-the-himalayas/554618/. thanks.

Eating at the Bar

oSo, we went out for a dinner. Girlfriend felt more uncomfortable than I did.

We had no reservation. We didn’t think we needed one on a Saturday afternoon, figured the place was large enough to fit in all… well, were wrong about that one. The only spots available were at the bar. My girlfriend, knowing of my life in sobriety, turned around to me and said that we could go somewhere else. I said it was not an issue. She asked me a couple more times if I was sure about that, and I said that I was sure. We were seated at the bar. Opposite of us stood a fridge full of booze. To my side – an altar of booze. Right in front of us the bartender was mixing a series of cocktails. I’m gonna be OK, I told myself and to my girlfriend who was twisting and turning on her bar stool and looking way less serene than I was.

We ordered food and then there was not much to do for a bit. We had some small talk. There was a party going on behind our backs. The bartender was fixing a massive jar of a cocktail. I don’t what it was. I used to chug beer and vodka and occasionally a wine, but I never had money for cocktails, so I am rather illiterate in that regard. But it was a captivating sight. So many shot glasses of whiskey looking substance was poured into that jar, I’ve lost count. I was really hoping there would be more than ten people drinking that thing. I was seriously worrying for those folks, whoever they were.

Overhead the TV screen was showing a hockey game. I don’t care for hockey, or sports altogether, but I had to look somewhere but at the booze all around me, so watched the game for a bit. When the commercial of alcohol came on, I had to look away. And to my surprise I realized that besides the alcohol, beers and wines, the fridge opposite us also contained a shelf full of sodas. On the lower shelf stood a four-liter jug of milk. Man, was I happy to see that jug! I just looked at it, and then at my girlfriend, and I felt happy J I wasn’t compelled to drink before that, and I didn’t feel intimidated by the walls of alcohol, my world was not going upside down, threatened by a compulsion or temptations, but the milk certainly provided some reassurance of some kind.

Thinking of it, I recalled several times when I’d head to a show and it would be held at a bar. In fact, those were so many. In the book of our guidance and inspiration it says we should be careful about where we go and if it is at a place where alcohol is served, what is our purpose of being there? And what an alcoholic music fan to do? Well, bang your head, or slam, or sit there and enjoy the slow dance, or what have you, but I never felt threatened by the presence of alcohol, although the people sometimes did cause some trouble under the influence.

However, no, I do remember a couple of times within the first three years of sobriety when I did feel intimidated by the mass of booze in my sight. First time, I opened the door to the club and the bar was right in front of the doors, no farther than two steps! I was shocked for a couple of seconds, but then the person at the door asked me to pay for the entry and was I ever happy to comply!

Second time it was a bit more intense. During a show at a different place I was looking around the place, at the crowd, at the stage, and then I looked closer to me and saw the bar. The lady at the bar looked quite attractive and with her, the whole bar seemed to shine brighter than the stage with all the strobes. I couldn’t look away. It was a rather amazing experience. I didn’t see the bartender anymore, just the bottles. Many. Shiny. Shit! I was sober for enough time to know that wanting booze and getting it would in turn get me in nothing but trouble, and I kept telling myself that. So, what I did was slide my gaze along all those wonderfully looking objects and move it up the ceiling. It took some time, but it worked. From there I moved my sight all along the ceiling toward the stage and lowered it to see the musicians rocking away. Form then on, the whole concert went fine without issues. Each time I am at that venue, though, I recall that incident, and I feel better and reassured, somehow, each time I look around and, all of a sudden, saw the bar. No more ‘freeze’ incidents like that occurred.

So, that latest time after being placed at the bar, we ate, paid for our food, thanked the very accommodating and welcoming bartender that served us, and fucked off. Yes, we were both very ready to go, even though the service and the food itself was quite good.

What have I learned from that? If there is a lesson in everything, then “take on an opportunity and respond with your best”, I guess. Man, was I happy to see that milk jar. I think there is always a milk jar somewhere when I go through times I am not particularly happy to go through. Hope it is there for you too.


the image was copied from https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/st-james-place-bar-and-grill-goose-creek?select=lzAQ_f8F996Kn-lkGy9UDQ and messed with by me. thank you.