LOCAL—On January 1, Glenn Dickson pledged that this would be the year he would take charge of his health: quit smoking, quit drinking, and lower his saturated fats.
“I meant it, really,” Dickson says, lighting up his fourteenth Du Maurier of the day. “It’s just something I’ll have to look at doing more gradually, eh? Major life change.”
Some cigarette ash falls into the skillet of bacon and eggs Dickson is preparing, but he is too consumed by his thoughts to notice.
“There’s so much pressure to throw yourself into these yearly resolutions. It’s well-intended, for sure, but it doesn’t take into account that life is already full of pressure. Smoking helps calm my nerves. I can’t just quit like that.”
From an overhead shelf, Dickson grabs a bottle of bourbon and pours it onto the eggs.
“I know what you’re thinking: that looked bad,” he continues, “but I don’t see the harm in continuing to use up the booze I have by cooking with it. They say that the alcohol boils away anyway.”
He takes a swig from the bottle. “To prevent the shakes, you know. I’d hate to burn myself with a slipped pan or start a grease fire. Steady hands are safe hands.”
Dickson invites me to his living room, where an assortment of nearly three dozen liquor bottles are under the Christmas tree, adorned with beautiful bows.
“From my friends, you see, plus a few others from Santa. I’m afraid I’ve got a bit of a reputation to overcome.” he explains. “Still, it would be a shame to throw them all out, wouldn’t it? Um…can I offer you a slice of fruitcake?”
From a metal tin, Dickson cuts two thick slices of fruitcake and douses them both with a generous helping of brandy.
“Sorry, I forgot to ask… did you want brandy on yours?”
Dickson takes the brandied slice onto his plate and cuts a third slice.
“Crap. I’ve gotten my cigarette ash on that one. No matter.”
Dickson douses the third slice with brandy and places it onto his own plate and cuts me a fourth slice.
“I’m still very hopeful” he smiles, and lights up a fresh cigarette. “I never managed to keep a healthy lifestyle for even a few hours before. This year was a personal best for me.”