You’ve written about quitting drinking. Have you otherwise had to be more mindful of your health—how you eat or otherwise take care of yourself—after this horrible thing happened?
Apart from alcohol? No, I don’t think so. I get more rest than I used to, but I think that’s more because the accident drained my battery a bit more than before. So I nap every day now and I didn’t used to do that. But it’s not something I do like, oh, I got to take a nap because of my brain. I just nap.
I try to make sure I’m mentally stimulated. I took up Sudoku afterward, which I sucked at. And then I got better at it and I started playing lots of puzzle games—that’s proven to be good for brain health.
But alcohol is not a part of your diet anymore.
Not any more. I talk about this in the book, but we were never able to sort out what caused my hemorrhage or my fall—or if one caused the other. There’s no definitive proof that alcohol caused it, particularly because my blood alcohol level that night was not particularly high.
But then I woke up and I was coming out of a coma and I was potentially going through alcohol withdrawal symptoms but also completely high on all the coma drugs they had given me, and I was asking people to smuggle in beer. I thought there was a bar in the hospital. No hospital has a fucking bar? But I kept asking people to go down to the gift shop and bring me a six pack from the hospital lobby.
A few months into my recovery I got the blessing to drink from one doctor, who said I could do it in moderation—but I knew I couldn’t do it in moderation. I had gotten this far without drinking and there was still a possibility that alcohol played a role in my accident. So I just stopped.
As you’ve written for GQ, you’re not 100% sober, right?
Green and sober. I think that does the job nicely. It’s like, oh, okay, well, instead of poisoning your body with alcohol over the course of years and years and years, you can just be green and sober and you can be uninhibited but you’re not going to wake up feeling like absolute shit the next morning.
We covered breakfast. What do you usually eat for lunch?
If I haven’t had a bagel or a toad in the hole, that’s what I get to have for lunch. But I’ve also gotten on a burrata kick. Because I thought burrata was something you really only find on the menu at fancy restaurants, but I was going around the fucking Giant supermarket and they were selling it in the deli case. It was like $8 and one tub will make two lunches. So that’s four bucks a lunch. That’s not bad to get to feel like fancy pants.
I used to be more ornate with lunches: I would make breakfast tacos with eggs and feta, sometimes I would put some gochujang in there, or I would soak some glass noodles and sautée that with kale, or I would make ramen. Not packaged ramen, but I would use a little canister of pork bouillon ans shrimp paste and make ramen broth and use the good ramen noodles from H-Mart. But I don’t do that as much any more, because I’d rather nap.
It sounds like you really love food, though.
I was an overweight kid because I love eating food, and that’s still true to this day. I think and talk about food all the time. I think I got it from my grandma—she would always talk about whenever she had eaten or what she was about to eat, and I always do the same thing to my wife. She’s like: we have to talk about something else instead of just what we’re going to eat for dinner. But it’s the big part of my day. If I we’re having boeuf Bourguignon for dinner, that’s where my mind is for most of the day. That’s my reward for the day’s toil.