A Bit of Truth About Booze (From Dorothy Parker)

In Dorothy Parker’s short story, “Big Blonde,” the main character is living an empty, lonely life where she nevertheless has to appear happy. She goes out most evenings, and no one would stand her if she didn’t smile and laugh. But she needs a little help with that.

Drinking helps her, at first. But then the cracks to that strategy begin to show:

“She was beginning to feel toward alcohol a little puzzled distrust, as toward an old friend who has refused a simple favor. Whisky could still soothe her for most of the time, but there were sudden, inexplicable moments when the cloud fell treacherously away from her, and she was sawed by the sorrow and bewilderment and nuisance of all living.”

It’s a good illustration of how drinking to self-soothe is, at best, a temporary solution. Or the illusion of a solution. It also extracts a steep cost.