Friday, January 23, 2009


drunk girl train platform
A drunk girl sits on a dirty train station platform.
Twelve years old. Summer. New England. Vacation. The Complete and Total Loser learns to ride a horse, which soon sizes him up and goes very much where he wants to go. The Loser doesn't mind much as where the horse wants to go is often more interesting to him as well as to the horse. A man named Frank often stops by the stable where that horse and another are housed. A telephone lineman, he shoes horses in his free time. He wears denim and a cowboy hat and is having a love affair of sorts with the girl who owns the horses. His wife was in a terrible car accident years before and is in a coma. Loyal to her, he does not let the affair come to full fruition until her death some years later.
Frank smokes unfiltered cigarettes and talks as if he was from Montana, which he may have been. The Loser is too dim to ask. Frank does not, however, drink alcohol. He sums up his reasons simply in sentences the Loser remembers nearly four decades later.
"If a man's got to drink to live with his environment, there must be something wrong with his environment. He's got to change it."
As he goes into his teens the Loser drinks nonetheless, but less often and less vigorously than his peers. He likes to think it's the wisdom of the man who spoke to him on a summer day long ago and that is part of it. Another part is what drinking does to him: It magnifies his loserdom. His jokes are unfunny and coarse, his approaches to women clumsy and lead only to humiliation.
Losers should keep their drinking to a minimum. It will not make them succeed, nor will it help them cope with failure. It will only make them fail more often.
Winners can drink but, when older, should limit their drinking to proper venues. The woman in the accompanying photograph is drunk in broad daylight and sitting on a train platform at a busy station. The platform is often marked with globs of mucous and bits of food. Pigeons walk on it freely. No sober person would sit there. Yet the girl is young enough, pretty enough and enough of a winner to make this rare discretion bearable to witnesses. She boarded the train with a man several years older than she and debarked by chance at the same station as did the Loser. They entered a nice bar, in a hurry because the girl had to urinate immediately, and presumably enjoyed their evening together.

No comments:

Post a Comment