Last Saturday morning, I arrived at Lambert Airport for a flight to Las Vegas. After breezing through security and getting some breakfast, I arrived at the gate around 9am, an hour before boarding time.

As I sat down, I noticed that there was a bar across the hall. Since I have just marked 23 years of sobriety, I wasn’t interested in a drink, but couldn’t help but notice that a half a dozen guys had bellied up to have a beer. This was before flying to Vegas, where the free booze would no doubt flow into them as quickly as the cash flows out of their pockets and into a casino’s blackjack coffers.

Even though I don’t indulge, I have no problem with anyone else putting whatever they want into their own bodies, as long as they maintain control (don’t get behind the wheel, and don’t get loud and obnoxious). The last thing I need is to have to make an emergency stop in Omaha because some guy who can’t handle his alcohol has gotten too rowdy and insists on running up and down the aisle wearing only his tighty-whities.

I hoped they weren’t on my flight, but of course they were, probably with some Southwest free-drink coupons in their pockets to enjoy a few more cold ones on the plane. Because it’s a good idea to be drunk before you start your weekend in Vegas.

It reminded me of when I took my wife and daughter to Cancun, Mexico. It takes about an hour to get from the airport to the hotel zone, and we shared a shuttle bus with about 8 other people. Once the driver had checked everyone in and secured our luggage, he opened up a cooler next to him on the front seat and offered cold beers for $2 each.

Two guys on the shuttle smiled and replied, “Hell, yes, pass ’em back!” Along the way, they easily consumed a six-pack, at ten in the morning, on the way to an all-inclusive resort where it was clear they would be loss-leaders for the hotel operator when it came to alcohol.

On that trip, as on my recent Vegas flight, all I could think was, “Pace yourself, dudes!”