When I was at university, I had about a hundred different jobs, one of which was tending bar in a karaoke bar that sat alongside a Chinese restaurant in Oceanside. We had these two regulars, who I’ll refer to here as Dave and Sam. They came in absolutely every night. The nights I worked, the nights I didn’t – they were there. They always sat at the end of the bar, about two seats apart, Sam nearest the exit so he could go out and smoke. My boss was this knock-out Filipina single mom in her late 30s, and I’m pretty sure they and every dude in that restaurant were head over heels for her.
Sam was really smooth – almost like something out of a movie. He smiled, but never too much, and was only really nice after he’d had one too many, so usually quite late in the evening, when he’d started buying rounds and killing my tips (he was a very bad tipper). He was in his late 50s or maybe even early 60s by that point, and he was always well-dressed, in slacks and a button-up shirt, never jeans – I doubt he even owned a pair. He drank something classic – martinis I think, or maybe old fashioneds – and he didn’t talk too much. He’d go crazy when I’d sing “My Funny Valentine” – that was how I won him over, actually – and though he was reserved, he was a good guy.
Dave, however, wasn’t reserved at all. He was one of those guys who just exudes generosity and kindness. Dave was heavyset – probably weighed just under 300 lbs – and didn’t drink a drop. He was in recovery. He didn’t smoke, either, as he’d quit that not long after he gave up booze. So nobody gave him any trouble for chowing down on as much deep-fried bar food as he fancied…Dave had already made some very difficult decisions in the name of his health and wellbeing.
Here’s the thing: Dave was a recovering alcoholic who spent every single night (except meeting nights) at a bar, and never drank. Still, he was addicted to food – maybe before he gave up drink too – I wouldn’t know – but I imagine it got a lot easier to eat too much after he gave up drinking and smoking. Meanwhile, Sam was also most definitely an addict. Don’t get me wrong – he was very responsible with his addiction, always handed his keys over when he needed to and was never disrespectful to anybody. But he was in that bar every single night. And every night he put back at least 4 or 5 of whatever highball it was he drank.