There is a saying, no good story begins with a salad, and the same could be said of most things that are good for you. On the other hand, it seems that a large proportion of good stories do begin when a few drinks turn into your liver's worst nightmare, and it's funny how tequila always seems to be involved.
How often have you found yourself in this situation?
You're meeting a friend for a drink, and when you get there you tell him you're not going large tonight, you've got a big day tomorrow. Ja me too, he says gravely, important meetings in the morning. When the bartender arrives you both order a beer, or possibly a single whisky and soda; you know, a long drink that you can sip on while you shoot the breeze. Tomorrow both of you have things to do and you need to be on top of your game, so a little bit of responsibility is in order.
The first beer slides down nicely so you order another, and after the third the music starts to sound better and everyone in the bar suddenly looks more attractive. You take a deep breath as you realise you're at a crossroad; either you're going to call it a night and be fighting fit the next day or to hell with tomorrow, you're going to live for the moment! No, you say to yourself, I'm going to do the right thing and head home.
It's at this moment, almost as if on cue, a shot of party-in-a-glass materialises, taunting you in a Mexican accent. Where do you think you're going Amigo? You walk out that door, you're walking out on living! So as if you've never fallen for that one before, you decide to have just one tequila. What could it hurt?
Suddenly the fork in the road becomes a highway to hell, but oh what a ride! One after the other the shots flow like a legion off banditos attacking the Alamo, each one chipping away large chunks of your resolve to keep things tidy tonight. Once the tequila takes over it commandeers your body and you're powerless to resist. By this stage you are a passenger so you may as well sit back and enjoy the trip as you're hauled off in search of members of the opposite sex to dazzle with your dance moves.
The next morning you wake up in bed with little idea of how you got home and no idea who the smudged phone number written on your hand belongs to. You feel your pockets for the three-point check – wallet, phone and keys. They're all there! Then your brief sense of relief is drowned out by the Mariachi band that strikes up in your head, and The Day of the Dead takes on a whole new meaning.
The hours that follow are spent rueing the sight of tequila and, in fact, the day you were born. However, once the nebula of regret and hangover dissipates, you're left with a story that will live on, often getting better with each passing year.
It's funny how often I get to the crossroads of an evening and sitting there, leaning against the signpost, is my Mexican friend, ready to point the way.