“Why are you drinking?” the little prince asked.
“To forget,” replied the drunkard.
“To forget what?” inquired the little prince, who was already feeling sorry for him.
“To forget that I’m ashamed,” confessed the drunkard, hanging his head.
“What are you ashamed of?” inquired the little prince, who wanted to help.
“Of drinking!”[translation by Richard Howard]“Why are you drinking?” demanded the little prince.
“So that I may forget,” replied the tippler.
“Forget what?” inquired the little prince, who already was sorry for him.
“Forget that I am ashamed,” the tippler confessed, hanging his head.
“Ashamed of what?” insisted the little prince, who wanted to help him.
“Ashamed of drinking!”[translation by Katherine Woods][ Pourquoi bois-tu? – lui demanda le petit prince.
– Pour oublier – répondit le buveur.
– Pour oublier quoi? – s’enquit le petit prince qui déjà le plaignait.
– Pour oublier que j’ai honte – avoua le buveur en baissant la tête.
– Honte de quoi? – s’informa le petit prince qui désirait le secourir.
-Honte de boire!]
The drink made past happy things contemporary with the present, as if they were still going on, contemporary even with the future as if they were about to happen again.
That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.
Talking to a drunk person was like talking to an extremely happy, severely brain-damaged three-year-old.
Often people display a curious respect for a man drunk, rather like the respect of simple races for the insane. Respect rather than fear. There is something awe-inspiring in one who has lost all inhibitions, who will do anything.