My dad started out his working life as an electrician. To make more money he took remote jobs (mostly on hydro electric plant construction) that paid better hourly rates and had way more hours. There wasn't much to do during the off hours so many guys drank and played poker. He said every pay day there would be guys phoning their wives back home telling them they'd have to get by another two weeks without any money as they had lost it in a poker game. He was very disciplined about this and sent almost everything to my mom and kept a small amount back for cigarettes and poker. When he was 30 he got out of that industry to help his dad run a small trucking company. The trucking company was successful and when he was about 65 he and my mom bought a place in south Texas and spent their winters there. My wife and I went down to Texas to visit and one day my dad and I went for a ride around the park in his golf cart. He recognized a last name on a camper trailer and we stopped in. It was a retired electrician that my dad had worked with back in the day and they hadn't seen each other since the early 1970's. They got to talking and my dad started asking about other guys they had worked with and what they were doing now. I think my dad was shocked that most of them were dead. For most of them it was booze. They drank themselves into a hole they never got out of and were dead in their 40's, 50's or early 60's. My dad has had cancer four times in the last 20 years but is still going strong at 78 years old.I used to work with another guy called Glenn who had it bad. He’d worked abroad a lot in places were there was nothing else to do but hang around in the hotel bar. He was banned from driving and he never bothered to re-apply for his licence because he couldn’t stay sober for long enough to pass the mandatory blood test.
My drinking buddy and I used to finish our evening with a glass of a spirit we’d never had before. One night we tried “ Stroh 80 “ . It blew my socks off.
One day I mentioned this to Glenn. I asked him if he’d ever heard of it ? He said “ Oh Yeah, there are a lot of Eastern European pilots in central African countries. They drink it all the time ! “