This weekend I face, possibly the biggest challenge I have ever faced in my, soon to be, 41 years on this planet. I have jumped from a plane, fired a plethora of dangerous weaponry, completed bungee jumps, raced fast cars, run marathons and I once killed a shark with desert spoon.
This is something to do with kids isn't it? I hear you cry as the expected punchline comes thundering forth like a group of piss-heads in sight of a curry house. However you would be wrong.
Yes I am a dad. Yes being a parent is hard.............by god it's hard. Yes my kids are not the easiest, what with their incredibly early wake up times and the ability to come to blows over a packet of crisps.
However this is more of a challenge than I have ever encountered.
I CAN'T DRINK ALCOHOL!!!!
I feel the need to retype that in order to emphasise the point. However I'm not sure I can bring myself to do it. To cut a long story short the doctor has put me on some tablets. Now, we all know that some medication is best not mixed with alcohol as it reduces the effect. We all do it anyway. This medication, on the other hand, clearly states that if I drink alcohol my head will actually fall off and be dragged down the street by a pack of rabid Alsatians.
Just for a bit of background, I do like a drink. I'm really rather good at it. All my socialising revolves around alcohol. All my relaxation time revolves around alcohol. All my major decisions are made in the pub. Every girl I have ever been with including the present Mrs Hapless was hunted down and bagged between the four walls of a local hostelry. To put it bluntly the only time I don't drink is when I'm asleep and when I'm in work. Quite a large part of my life.
I've been on the meds for about a week and so far it's ok, albeit a struggle at times. Most notably at the end of a stressful day when that first sip of Vicar's Scrotum (I like real ale) or Chateux Thames Embankment 2013 brings such blessed relief. I've made it through the week using a combination of soda water and lime and electric shock therapy.
However this weekend takes it to a whole new level. I'm attending a wedding. Not just a wedding. A two day wedding. Party on the Friday night. Blessing, grub, speeches and another party on the whole of Saturday.
Firstly let me make something clear. I fully understand that you can enjoy yourself without alcohol. I see people do it all the time. I just don't know how. I fully understand that a man can hang a sizeable weight from his penis without it coming off. I don't know how to do that either.
I don't even know what to order. On previous, one off, evenings when I haven't been able to drink I have been woefully short of inspiration. When Mrs Hapless was in the later phases of pregnancy I went out on a works do and drove just in case. I had 14 different types of drink, including a coffee and had run out of ideas by 10 pm.
I don't really do sweet drinks, which cuts out most of the soft ones. Non alcoholic beer tastes like rats urine and ordering tap water just makes you look like you've lost all your money at the greyhounds.
My biggest worry is the social aspects of being sober. Again, don't get me wrong, I can make small talk with the best of them. I don't drink for confidence. However alcohol helps you to let your hair down. If this wasn't true there wouldn't be such a massive 'weddings' category on 'You've been Framed'.
This particular wedding involves Mrs Hapless's best mate. Mrs H is a bridesmaid. The wedding will be full of friends and family of the bride and groom that I have never met but that my wife knows rather well. Therefore the following things will happen:
- Before the event Mrs Hapless will tell me how much she is looking forward to having a nice time with me. She will then proceed to leave me on my own for the entire day.
- Mrs Hapless will get blind drunk.
- Mrs Hapless and her friends will stagger around the dance floor like John Travolta after a hip operation. They will only stop long enough to come over, on mass, to loudly try to get me on the dance floor even though the most alcoholic thing I have had to drink that day is some cough medicine.
- I will be left making small talk with another unfortunate husband who has to drive home.
- Mrs Hapless will be annoyed with me because I'm being grumpy.
You may think I am being unduly negative and may cause these events with my mental attitude. All I can say in my defence is that this has been the outcome every single time so far.
I must also say that Mrs Hapless has had to endure the same from me on numerous occasions. Particularly through two pregnancies. I was once best man at a wedding when Mrs Hapless was 9 months pregnant. She went to bed particularly early on the Friday night to be fully rested for the wedding the following day. I 'helped' by arriving in the room blind drunk at 4am and throwing up until breakfast.
So dear reader, and that bloke from Taiwan who arrives at my blog by googling leather trousers, the challenge is set.
I'm hoping it'll be fun as I do love weddings. The happy and positive atmosphere makes for a great party. Lets see if I can make it through without succumbing to the temptation of beer, or drinking two gallons of Cilit Bang stolen from the cleaner's trolley at the hotel.
Wish me luck. I'll keep you posted.