Drowning My Sorrows – A Literal Interpretation

At this week’s writer’s group meeting we were handed a challenge–write a flash piece around the old saw, “Drowning Your Sorrows” and given a fifteen minute time limit. For your potential amusement, here’s what I did.

Drowning My Sorrows

It was the opposite of transcendence – I wasn’t looking for unity with all things and detachment from the purely physical, rather I was taking something that had no separate physical existence and giving it form and substance. Something I could deal with. The other way was hard, took years and years of whatever it took. This had to be easier. Let other people seek enlightenment. Me, I had other priorities, and  I always took the easier way.

“And just what do you think you’re doing?”

I looked down. There he was, standing on the bar, and even that was a revelation. I assumed that the physical embodiment of my sorrows would be female. Lord knows there had been enough of them, and sorrow enough to go around. Yet he was a he, and despite the pointed ears, hooked nose, and wrinkled brown skin, he looked more like me than I wanted to admit. I’m sure there was a lesson to be learned there, but I had had enough of life’s lessons to last me more than this one lifetime. I simply was not interested

“I’m drowning my sorrows,” I said. “I’ve tried everything else.”

The wizened little imp scoffed. “You really think it’s that simple?”

“I do now. I’ll even give you a choice of venue. Beer? Scotch? Or are you more the white wine spritzer sort?”

He shrugged his tiny shoulders. “Pick one. Makes no difference to me.”

“Thanks. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.”

I was drinking Guinness, so I ordered another, and to my surprise, he hopped up on the edge of the glass and dove headfirst  through the foam with no further prompting from me.  I let out a long sigh.


I watched the head on his stout until the larger bubbles stopped rising, even as I continued to drink my own. Done and done….but then I noticed that the level of stout was rapidly falling. In a minute there was no more Guinness in my sorrows’ glass, just one very mellow-looking personification of trouble lounging at the bottom of the empty glass. That was impossible, of course. But then, so was he.

He belched. “I told you it wouldn’t work. Incarnate, I’m merely the physical symbol of your problems, not the actual ones.”

“Maybe,” I said, raising my own glass. “But oddly enough, I do feel better.”

“Oddly more than enough–me too,”  said the imp, looking thoughtful.  “Maybe you’re on to something.”

I signaled the bartender. “Another round for me and my friend.”