Punch Drunk 

This Week: Death and the Titanic

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Death and the Titanic

Last week I went to my doctor's office to have her write me a new prescription for an existing skin condition. (A nonsexually transmitted, noncontagious skin condition. Relax, ex-girlfriends.) An hour and a battery of tests later I left her office staring down the barrel of mortality. She dropped a bomb on me that no 55-year-old man ever wants to hear: slightly elevated blood pressure. Oh, and I'm 27.

OK, so maybe I smoke, drink and abuse pretty much everything. I still feel healthy unless it's the morning after all those things. And pointing out that I still look fantastic shirtless did not allay the doc's concerns about my lifestyle. Apparently my professions as a drinks columnist and bartender didn't help my case either. When it comes to death, doctors tend to have a very nonexistent sense of humor. I left her office with an order to clean up for a week and then return.

Like many bartenders and industry peons, it can be a gargantuan task to stay sober, even if just for a week. We feel immortal. We dress and act younger. Other bartenders give us free shots just for stopping in to say hi. Happy hour comes twice, at 4 p.m. and 4 a.m. And even on days off we're the kinds of people who treat alcohol-heavy brunches as mandatory life events, like going to grade school or watching “The Shawshank Redemption.”

It's not so shocking. Isn't the point of what we do for a living to make our customers feel invincible, too? To stop time for you — or at least make it pass by a little less painfully?

As for my artery walls whining about my life choices — turns out that was a blip on the radar. Stupid circulatory-system crybabies. But it was a reminder that even in bar life, where time can stand still, the clock always wins, last call always comes around and we pay our dues for the pleasure.

Also, and I can't stress this enough, it's a nonsexually transmitted skin condition.

Ticket to Paradise: About this time next week I'll be foolishly taking my clean bill of health to the Caribbean, where tanned and relaxed, I'll float on a lazy ocean of Bud Light.

Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light Port Paradise cruise embarks from Miami on Dec. 2. In addition to a private performance by the Stone Temple Pilots and live shows by Howard Stern, the cruise will feature enough free booze to sink a ship. Figuratively, I hope.

I also hope that a few sexy ladies will be aboard the boat and not just a bunch of frat-boy, Bud Light-fueled morons like me, although if the YouTube videos of previous cruises are any indication, I might as well pack my Greek letter shirts and a beer bong.

And no, I don't mention my trip because of how delicious, crisp and refreshing Bud Light is. That I choose Bud as the brand superior to all others has nothing to do with nearly naked Bud Light-hired models gently rubbing suntan lotion all over my back. Listen, just because a cold Bud is completely invigorating at the end of a long day doesn't mean I can be swayed by such frivolities. No sir.

So if my heart doesn't explode in the Bahamas, check back for a recap of my escapades on the cruise. I can already feel your hands trembling with excitement as you crush up that issue of Style Weekly in disgust.

Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback slings and consumes drinks at a number of local establishments. He blogs at jackgoesforth.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter @jackgoesforth. E-mail: bartender@styleweekly.com.

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