As happens all too often these days, I wake up feeling bummed out. Of course, it's not a surprise, really. The explanation for this unhappy state of affairs is apparent just outside my bedroom window: It is cold outside, gray and raining. Not a hard, cleansing rain, but a tinkling drizzle that eats away, slowly but surely, at the equilibrium of the soul. The weather was like this yesterday and the day before. It will be like this tomorrow and the day after that. It is always the same around here: depressing, depressing, depressing. It is Seattle in winter, and it has worn me down.

Oh, sure: One beautiful snowy day may temporarily lift your spirits, but 24 hours later the gray and the rain are back, and so is the depression.

If you've lived here more than a week, I know you know exactly how I feel. People suffer from seasonal affective disorder in Seattle the way people in New York suffer neuroses, or the way people in the South suffer from being drooling inbred yokels. If you don't think SAD can affect an entire city, you haven't spent a winter in this godforsaken little third-rate provincial burg.

There's nothing our shrinks can say or we can do that will make our condition any better. The rain keeps falling, the light keeps fading, and, left untreated, our collective mood keeps sinking. There is no cure for these Seattle winter blues, but thankfully there is an effective treatment. We can, as a community, place our faith in a higher power. And that higher power, of course, is alcohol.

Take my example. Upon waking, I stare blankly at my ugly mug in the mirrored ceiling for a minute, groan, and then reach for the bourbon bottle strategically placed on the bedside nightstand. Twenty minutes and seven or eight shots later, my funk has magically disappeared. I feel so good that I might just decide to act like a big, angry monkey. I might knuckle-walk down the hallway. I might flash my bared teeth and chase my wife around the dining room. When she runs away screaming, I might beat my chest in triumph. Then I might fixate on my pretend big red baboon ass, which I might just slap and fondle admiringly as I squat on the coffee table. I might do anything I want, because I am drunk, and alive, and all is well with the world.

Sounds like heaven, you say? Fuckin' A, you know it is, motherfucker.

And all because I had the courage to binge drink in the morning. Because I had the insight to understand that alcohol is Seattle's collective nerve medicine, the only legal mood-elevating substance powerful enough to counteract the punishing psychological effects of the grim Northwest weather. If you want to be smart and sane like me, you should be drinking heavily too.

Now, I am well aware that your parents and other so-called "authority figures"--whether they be over-50 hectoring liberal schoolmarm types (i.e., Seattle Weekly readers) or over-60 pinched-face Bible-thumping sorts (Seattle Times readers)--will try to tell you that excessive consumption of alcohol is bad for you. That it is wrong and dangerous to binge drink. That alcohol is a nervous-system depressant, and therefore any lightening of mood you experience will be short-lived, and that as the booze wears off you will sink even further into a depressive funk. Well, they used to say that any drinking was unhealthy. Now the Surgeon General practically demands that everyone in American drink a couple glasses of wine with dinner. Next year doctors will no doubt discover that swilling a half rack before going to work in the morning will ensure a long and happy life.

So as a well-respected man of science, I can assure you that your authority figures are full of shit. Why, you ask, would they utter such pernicious falsehoods? Well, since I am also a famous cultural analyst with impeccable Ivy League academic credentials, I have an airtight explanation for their behavior. You see, I have discovered that old people are bitter assholes who will lie to you to keep you from having any fun, and sometimes lie to you for the sheer perverted pleasure they derive from doing so. (Plus, if your parents read the Weekly, they are, by definition, either current stinky hippies or former stinky hippies, and that means they got hooked on grass in the '60s and by now their brains are completely addled.)

No, the simple truth is that alcohol never hurt anyone, and besides, even if it did, it was his or her own fault and not the fault of the booze. Our society is so deeply afflicted by a culture of victimology that people are constantly trying to blame outside forces rather than taking personal responsibility for their own destructive actions. Blame the hooch, my ass. Besides, look at me. I'm a huge success in life and I stay drunk all the time. As soon as I finish writing this sentence I'm going to have another double Jim Beam on the rocks. Then, if I feel like it, I'm going to go diddle my young wife. What do you think of that?

I know, I know, you think I'm a tremendous stud. Of course, you're right. You may not be able to emulate me in every respect, but you can be a little bit like me if you try really hard. And that means you have to drink a lot.

Okay, so I enjoy drinking to excess. So what? The serious point I'm trying to make here is that even if it weren't an incredible amount of fun, I'd still have to do it because here in shitty Seattle hooch is an indispensable medication, at least during the six to nine continuous months of rain we're treated to every year. So as your mentor and caregiver, I order you to go out to a bar--preferably one that advertises in The Stranger--and get your SAD-ass self shitfaced. And if you're under 21, I order you to get a fake ID first. And if you're driving, I order you to pick a responsible desig-nated drunk driver. And I'm issuing this order not because I want you to have fun--though I do want that--but rather for your own emotional well-being.

Oh, I know if you call your shrink first he'll tell you that alcohol is not an accepted treatment for SAD. First of all, if you drank like I do you wouldn't need a shrink. But since you don't (yet), you know what you should say in reply? Try something like this: "Well, Doctor (if that's your real title), I was just reading The Stranger, the only paper in this town willing to stand up for truth and justice, and in that particular issue the ever-brilliant Sandeep Kaushik, The Stranger's vastly underpaid star writer, said alcohol is the cure for what ails me, and he's the H. L. Mencken and Erma Bombeck of his generation (not to mention a tremendous stud), and you're nothing but a fraudulent hack who couldn't cure a ham, so I'm going to hang up now and drink vodka martinis until I'm drunk enough to go out and have meaningless, perfunctory sex with whatever schmuck or bitch I happen to come across first." That'll fix him, the dirty fraud.

"But there are side effects to treating seasonal depression with alcohol!" that fraud of a shrink is likely to respond. The short answer: Bullshit. The long answer: What a total load of ludicrous bullshit. Listen to your Uncle Sandeep. The only side effect you're likely to encounter is that you might get your ugly, pathetic ass laid for once.

So here's the real question: Where to drink? Personally, I like to drink alone plunked down in a darkened, foul-smelling room across from a blaring TV, but that's because--unlike you--I'm way too cool to hang with the riffraff. And by riffraff I mean the Stranger staff, as motley a crew of moronic drunken louts as are ever likely to darken a barroom door. As they go out every night (and most days), I've asked them to recommend bars for people suffering from the various symptoms of the Seattle winter blues. So peruse this useful information immediately, because the sooner you get drinking, the sooner you'll turn that frown upside down.

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