The combination of a mother who doesn’t think I eat enough and the culture that is (most of) Wisconsin has created the perfect storm of complete and total over fucking indulgence… I wish I didn’t drop an F-bomb right there but I needed it for emphasis.
Quick backstory - I left Wisconsin and moved to Los Angeles to find a career, or really any job in the entertainment industry. It took a while to figure out what the hell I was doing and I’ve often wondered if I should have prepped myself a bit more before I blindly moved. The truth is: a) nothing can “prepare” you for a move to LA and b) The other part to why I moved so quickly was because of the lifestyle I was living.
I was drinking and eating as though it was the final days of the world. A glutton who lay on a bed and was served s’mores dipped in grease and then deep fried then wrapped in cheese while I washed it down with a Keystone Light. Okay, no, not really, but almost really. I was eating but mainly because I was drinking so much, and yes, it was Keystone. Of course I was drinking so much – I was in college and this was Wisconsin.
To honestly understand the culture is to live in the Midwest, it’s difficult to express if you don’t experience it. During my early 20’s in Milwaukee I may have spent more days blacked out than I did coherent, and it felt okay, not because it was okay but because I was just one of many doing it. I thought that’s how college was but actually it’s how Milwaukee was.
Wait, am I talking about Milwaukee or having a mini intervention right now?
At some point I knew I wanted to move and I also knew I needed to stop living how I was living. I imagined my liver probably was that of a 75-year-old man and my brain was becoming deformed. So I booked it to Los Angeles and started doing coke… KIDDING. I chilled out and essentially continued on with my life in a culture that I preferred.
Over the last 7 years or so I’ve come to appreciate Milwaukee for all the things that I missed while I lived here, which is standard protocol for just about anyone who returns to somewhere. It took me a minute to realize that the culture is more than just getting black out drunk. Having said that… Drinking is still a MASSIVE part of Milwaukee and there is no getting around that.
Regardless - it’s holiday season 2012 and I’m back. I guess I’m a little wiser and I’m definitely older and I’m fully prepared to embrace the things I once couldn’t handle. The culture that I once was being tornadoed in is no more. It’s not as though I stopped drinking or something, it’s just that I’m aware of what the hell can happen to me, I’ve been down that road before.
Fuck it. Bring it on, Wisconsin. Bring on the Packers, Bucks, not the Brewers, the cold, the cold forcing me to stay inside and do nothing, the booze, and did I mention the Packers? This is a culture to embrace head on like you’re staring down a bull, and just like staring down a bull - if you’re able to coherently discuss it after it’s over, then you’ve succeeded.