April/May 2006 (v8 i6)
Crossing Your Border 1997
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Born-again Christian finds booze
by Eric Seufert, Associate Editor

This woman is 42-years-old? Wow, she could
pass for 20.
AUSTIN — Joanne Dougherty, a 42-year-old accountant who four years ago devoted her life to Christianity and espousing the word of God, experienced a philosophical and metaphysical catharsis this past Sunday when she inadvertently became intoxicated after drinking two Bloody Mary cocktails.

“Some of the families in the neighborhood have a potluck dinner after church on Sundays, and this week we met at the Jackson’s. Anna, Jim Jackson’s wife, offered me a Bloody Mary, so I drank it,” Dougherty said between sips of a Long Island iced tea. “It turns out that I actually wasn’t making a political statement against reform doctrine within the Church of England — I was just drinking booze.”

Sam Dougherty, Joanne’s husband, was confused by his wife’s erratic, uncharacteristic behavior at the event but wasn’t prepared for the complete change in her personality that it would precipitate. While many of Dougherty’s loved ones applaud her reinvention, a few have become frustrated with how liquor now dominates her life.

“Look, I’m glad Joanne has branched out into other interests, because honestly the Christian thing was starting to get on my nerves,” said Jack O’Reilly, one of Dougherty’s co-workers. “But I’m getting sick of hearing myself say things like, ‘No, I don’t want to guzzle a half-handle of Vodka, I’ve got a presentation in half an hour,’ ‘Sorry, I can’t bong that beer with you, my kid has a piano recital tonight,’ and ‘Actually, I don’t think the juice machine in the break room should have a Tequila Sunrise option.’ She needs to tone her latest devotion down a notch.”

Some of Dougherty’s peers, however, are delighted by her recent social exploration.

“Thank God she found booze,” confided her Church’s reverend, Father Thomas Johnson. “I don’t think I could have lived through another minute of her sanctimonious preaching. Some people ask me how I can justify my faith — how I can completely adhere to the concept of a God. You know what I tell them? That night at the potluck dinner when Joanne was wearing the Johnson’s fish-bowl like a helmet and playing air guitar to “Voodoo Chile” is unequivocal proof that God exists. The miracle He performed that night reapplies itself each time Joanne tips back a whiskey sour instead of telling me about how she saw Jesus in a box of thumbtacks or in a bottle of heartburn suppressant.”

Taking a second to calm himself and regain his composure, Father Johnson added: “Did you hear about her car getting keyed in the church parking lot? Let’s just say I don’t wear this collar 24/7.”

Dougherty has not been affected by the opinions surrounding her identity revival, maintaining a positive attitude and upbeat disposition.

“There will always be a doubting Thomas who needs some sort of proof that one course of action is the right thing to do,” Mrs. Dougherty said, searching furiously through her purse for a four-ounce bottle of Jack Daniels. “What I’m doing has purpose, and I’m totally devoted to my cause. For me, completely dedicating myself to a belief is how I transcend the evils and worries of reality.”

After adding the contents of her bottle of whiskey to her coffee, Dougherty added, “Well, that and getting loaded.”

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