DEAR ABBY: I have been blessed with success over the years and continue to provide a comfortable lifestyle for my wife and me. I will be celebrating my 74th birthday soon, and 55 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart.
When I come home from a busy day, I enjoy sitting down and having two generous cocktails while I listen to my favorite news station. I espouse my views on the political events of the day. And always, without exception, I verbalize my adoration for my wife and our family, and express how beautiful my wife is and how much I love her.
My wife becomes somewhat annoyed because I get loose with my opinions and comments because of the alcohol. She wants me to quit drinking every night before dinner. I feel there's no harm because I have only two drinks. At my age, I feel entitled, but I don't want to make my wife feel like she is married to an alcoholic. What do you suggest I do? -- MY AMERICAN DREAM INCLUDES COCKTAILS
DEAR AMERICAN DREAM: For openers, try laying off the sauce for a week or so -- if you can manage it -- or cut back to one drink in a smaller glass. When you say you consume two "generous" drinks a day, I can't help but wonder how generous and what you're using to measure. While you may have been able to drink two generous drinks when you were younger with no negative effects, as folks get older (and 74 would qualify as "older"), they don't metabolize alcohol as well.
One of the signs of problem drinking is when it starts to cause problems with others. Another is belligerence, and if that's the way you become as you listen to your news programs, you can't blame your wife for being upset. And as to the endearments you utter while under the influence -- while they may be sweet, take it from me that women much prefer to hear them from men who are sober.