Cheer up my friend Joseph Barnett who last week celebrated his 30-year anniversary.

Joe Barnett celebrated thirty years SOBER
Joe Barnett celebrated thirty years SOBER

This coronavirus is making me a different person; it has now been two weeks that I have not rambled on about anyone; this week, however I would like to cheer up my friend Joseph Barnett who last week celebrated his 30-year anniversary. How can you be thirty years old when you look older than me? And what is the big deal about turning thirty? I asked my friend Joe.
And that’s the best part of turning thirty. Joe Barnett celebrated thirty years SOBER and that, in my humble opinion, is a good reason to celebrate. Congratulations, Joe!
Maybe because I was never a fan of drinking and normally steer away from people while they are drinking, I always like to point out people like Joe who can be sober for so long.
Not too many people know how to drink; they either turn into fighters or believe they are comedians with the most stupid jokes that only they believe are funny.
Once some law enforcement officers (you can tell I am in a good mood this week to call those particular officers by a respectful name even if they don’t deserve it) wanted me to write (‘create’) a story about some casino big wheels because they wanted to ‘crucify’ the two men.
“We want you to say something bad about these two men,” they told me when they visited my office a long time ago. Then, here comes the best part, when I told them that I did not know them, that they were way out of my league, they pulled out a picture of those two casino big wheels embracing me and they told me that they didn’t care if I lie or not, they wanted to ‘nail those two.’
I explained to them that the only reason I was there was because I was the best man in a wedding party but maybe because they had flown me to the East Coast to be the best man in their wedding, they thought I might be a very important person, but that was not the case. The bride was a good and close friend at the time and that was the reason I was there. Later, I paid the consequences dearly for refusing to not go along with their request, but that is a story for another weekly column with names and all.
Why don’t I drink? Not because I am some kind of saint, but because I used to know someone — a very important person in my life — who liked to drink… a lot. Never in public though and never made a fool out of herself.
My friend drank and when she thought she had enough she turned to whoever was there and said out loud, “Hasta Manana” (good night in Spanish) and went to the bedroom to sleep.
Whenever we went out, she drank and I drove and that was okay with me; I remember going to places and having a 7-Up while she had Scotch and water because, according to her, ‘the water is not fattening.’
Once I started a relationship with someone from out of Las Vegas and when she moved in, we threw a party. Back then I used to throw parties for any excuse; you sneeze and I’d throw a party; my friend changed her hair color, and I threw a party to celebrate the color change.
During the party she drank a little too much and started acting foolish. I picked up the telephone and called the airline and made a reservation for her to go back to wherever she came from.
I told her that she needed to rest for a while because her plane was leaving in eight hours. My former dear friend, the one with the wedding on the East Coast, talked me out of sending her back home and the relationship lasted almost ten years and ending that relationship was the biggest mistake of my life. She was the best thing that ever happened to me and she never drank again.
People that do not know how to drink should not drink; but then again, who knows how to drink? But if people learn how to control the way they drink there would not be so many people in Alcoholics Anonymous.
If people know how to drink there would not be so many lives lost and so many lives destroyed with people doing time in prison for driving under the influence, which leads to so many marriages ending in divorce.
Either one drinks too much and the other partner does not drink, or they both drink and that is how the whole relationship goes kaput. That is why I like to point out when someone like Joe Barnett can proudly celebrate thirty years sober. I believe that is a task not easy to perform and that is why I am so proud of Joe Barnett’s accomplishment.
Good for you, Joe! And for whatever it’s worth, I am very proud of your accomplishment. Congratulations!
My name is Rolando Larraz, and as always, I approved this column.
* * * * *
Rolando Larraz is Editor in Chief of the Las Vegas Tribune. His column appears weekly in this newspaper. To contact Rolando Larraz, email him
at: or at 702-272-4634.

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