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If I were asked to nominate a nontraditional day as The Drinking Day of the Year, today might get my nod.

The Friday before Memorial Day has a ton to recommend it. It is, of course, the start of a three-day weekend, which is always nice. But it's also the official unofficial start of summer, which is always worth celebrating. It's also in May, which is the second most beautiful month of the year (October is first) and the first month that has fully shaken off Persephone's descent, so outdoor drinking still has a novel feeling to it. The bugs aren't out in full force yet. And perhaps most significantly (for me anyway): It's a free weekend. Late April and May always bring a ton of events, primarily kids' sports, but also concerts and miscellaneous other matters. This is a weekend of freedom.

So why (oh why, oh why) do organizers schedule events for this weekend? My local little league has for the past twelve years scheduled games for this evening. A few years ago, I asked, "Why not schedule the customary Saturday and Monday games that weekend?" The response was, "It's a holiday weekend. People like to get away." To which I wanted to respond, "Damn right they do, and they want to get started at 5:00 on Friday. They don't want to camp out at the baseball desert until 8:30."

I have a friend who sits on a local school board. He has to attend the district's high school graduation . . . tonight. I asked him why in the world they scheduled it for tonight, and he disdained, "I have no idea." My son Michael has to attend a state track meet tomorrow. It's an all-day affair. Fortunately, it's nearly three hours from my house and it's not the "official" state meet, so no reasonable person would expect me to sober the trip.

And finally, the Detroit Audubon Society holds an annual bird outing far north of here, which Marie and my children attend with her family. It is, to be honest, three days and nights with some of the nicest people in the world (my in-laws) in a setting from Dante (not the third book). Needless to say, I don't attend. I like to push the release valve on the pressure (driving five hours through holiday weekend getaway traffic to northern Michigan is about as relaxing as participating in a genital-kicking contest), and the single lodge for two dozen people, mosquitoes (spring or not, they swarm in the woods), and other rustic stress tests like dang near kill me.

Which leaves me totally free for three days. I will be celebrating with a bottle of vodka this evening . . . while working at the office. I know, I know: It sounds lame, but it's become an annual tradition for me and one that I've really come to enjoy. I drink, listen to soft music, and go through the piles of paperwork that have accumulated over the past few months. There are no distractions, external (people bopping into my office) or internal (me worrying about billing time). I have little doubt this event is perverse, but I can't help it: I really enjoy it and look forward to it for months. I used to deny that I'd become such a workaholic, but I no longer deny it. It is what it is, and I embrace it.

Albeit a bit drunkenly at time.