Alan L. Winters

(The Guilt We Share)

I was a latecomer to the social drinking society and didn’t even start consuming beer until I was in Basic Training when I was 20. It never took long back then to get drunk so maybe I was doing it wrong. When I got the Viet Nam and went to my first duty assignment in the Can Tho airbase MARS station I started to drink on a more regular basis. I was still 20 and had progressed to the harder stuff… rum and coke. One day the EM club ran out of coke and began substituting rum and Fanta diet root beer which lost a great deal in interpretation. It was at that moment I realized that there was no redeeming value to Fanta diet root beer so I switched to Seagram’s 7 straight.

While still at the MARS Station so still 20 was when I had my first official hangover. I had bought a liter of Taylor New York State Champagne at the PX and offered to share it with the guys. They said if I like it, I should drink it. It was about 95 that day with an equal amount of humidity and the wine had been chilled to a fine 85 degrees form being in the PX So I went outside under a tree and chugged the entire bottle on an empty stomach in 20 minutes. Besides an oversized headache, every time I would get a drink of water for three days it felt like the effervescence had started all over again. I never liked Champagne after that time but nor will I ever forget what it was like on a hot day.

Still sadly remembering those few days, I am