Monday, December 11, 2006

I almost deleted the previous post, “It's A Coffee Shop...”. I felt like doing it last night and I felt like doing it again this morning. The entry is basically just me being an ass without any redeeming entertainment value whatsoever, and I frankly prefer to be thought of as an entertaining ass when I am thought of at all.

It wasn't because in my writing I skated around the edge of castigating the institution of Alcoholics Anonymous. I enjoy turning bigger sacred cows than AA into White Castles. I didn't even feel too guilty for thinking evil thoughts about the obviously sincere and committed people who attended the meeting. It was simply that I thought the entry sucked. “So what?” was my reaction to rereading it, and I wrote it, for chrissake.

But I decided to leave it posted. People need to know that I'm human just like they are, even though I put my pants on three legs at a time. Not every entry can be Pulitzer material. Sometimes you just have a loud fart in a crowded elevator, figuratively speaking. So I let it stand.

Since I was thinking about it, however, I found myself wondering the same thing as Heart of Darkness in her comment: why would you bare your soul in a coffee shop, where any cruel and demented blogger could hear you do so and make fun of you in front of 650 million people? A more private venue might be a little better suited for soul-baring. The exception to this is the zaftig blond-like woman that had a sordid history that I could listen to for hours on end. I'm sure her Higher Power was as interested as I was in how things were going to turn out, prior to his smacking her upside the head with a reality bat. This woman needs a public forum. The rest of you, rent an American Legion hall.

And why did I ever imagine I was a moron for thinking a coffee shop is an inevitable locale for AA meetings? Just because you don't drink alcoholic beverages in a coffee shop doesn't necessarily entail that it's an okay place to publicly expose your tawdry sins and ultimate redemption. For example, I don't (often) drink during a racquetball game, but that doesn't mean I'd be particularly tolerant of fifteen people on the court with me having a come-to-jeebus meeting. (I once put twenty stitches in my first wife's head with my backhand, and this was before we were married – imagine what bloody carnage I could wreak upon an AA meeting.)

You could make the argument that, after giving up drinking what I consider to be a normal amount of booze, recovering alcoholics notoriously switch to imbibing gallons of coffee strong enough to actually do a respectable job of defoliating the DMZ1 in Viet Nam (look it up, children). Because of this, you might claim that a coffee shop is a natural location for an AA meeting. This is sort of the opposite of the argument in the previous paragraph: the venue is fine because the people copiously partake of the product.

Well, this doesn't really hold up either. Vibrator stores don't have weekly meetings of the Business Women's Mastubatory Club on the premises. I know this because I always ask. So why should coffee shops host AA meetings? They shouldn't. End of story.

If you bothered to read the earlier entry, you might be curious if I did manage to keep my mouth shut on my exit through the middle of the gathered throng. The answer is, yes I did keep my mouth shut. If you too are a smartass and are someday faced with the same dilemma, this is the method I came up with: wait for the prayer, then leave with as little fuss as possible. I wasn't even tempted to say anything, let alone ridicule anyone.

So I guess I have to grudgingly admit that I got some good out of the AA meeting -- I found out that there are some things even I respect. Some times it's nice to rediscover that you have moral limits. Thank goodness for me it happens so seldom.

-- Hulles

1I originally wrote “defoliating the DMV,” which makes little sense but I find myself wanting to do it anyway.

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