Saturday, September 24, 2005 | My daughter is barely 2-and-a-half years old. That’s hardly enough time to make assumptions about her life or personality but I can already tell one thing about her: Drunks and boozehounds really like her a lot.

I don’t know how soon after she was born that her appeal to alcoholics first appeared. Actually, I didn’t notice at first because most of the people drinking alcohol around her during her first few months were family and friends, so their interest in my child didn’t seem booze-influenced.

We were living in University Heights at the time and I used to walk her down Park Boulevard, past bars and restaurants, and I noticed that many of the folks who used to make baby faces or funny noises at my daughter were at the restaurants that served wine or beer.

Funny thing is, the sober people basically ignored my child.

As much as any parent wants their child to be “special” (but not too special), I’m not sure I understand why my daughter is so charismatic to tipsy people. But I first began to understand her power over boozehounds last year on Maui, at a wine and food festival.

My wife and I did get slightly buzzed but not as much those adults who didn’t bring their children to an adult event. When Alex was waking up (and I was close to falling asleep), a fellow attendee started looking at her and saying how beautiful she was.

Then she started doing a hula version of “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” complete with hand gestures, and my then 1-year-old couldn’t blink.

Then the happy hula dancer got a revelation. “Your daughter is so spiritual. She didn’t blink once while I was singing.”

That isn’t the only experience. I live in a La Mesa condo complex and spent many afternoons with my daughter swimming in the pool. Many of our neighbors were also there, often with a box of Franzia wine.

The panic-prone might view the combination of drunken neighbors, a 2-year-old and me as potentially dangerous but I found advantages to have tipsy neighbors.

For instance, the wine-soaked neighbors were very generous about lending their pool toys and one woozy woman – the “Earth Mother” – was willing to watch my daughter do the same pool trick over and over and over again and be suitably impressed each time.

I expect my daughter’s popularity will rise to new heights this fall. She has a whole new batch of skills that are sure to worm their way into any drinker’s heart.

Because the Padres are going to be in the playoffs, chances are, I’ll take my family to a viewing party. Well, my daughter can say, “Go Padres!” Trust me, drunks love it. She also says, “Go Chargers!” and I’m working on, “Go L.T.”

I am also planning for Christmas parties by teaching her to sing, “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’” and recite the Nativity speech spoken by Linus in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.

Granted, not every one of her bits is perfect for every drunk audience but I think she’ll be way ahead of her schoolmates in terms of impressing social drinkers.

The big upside to turning Alex into the drunk’s favorite kid has paid off in dividends. We have lots of free time thanks to the number of single and soused people who meet our child at a party and offer to baby-sit.

To some, my beliefs that my daughter should be well-versed in dealing with drunks seems counterintuitive but hear me out. Alcohol plays a big part in a baby’s life – mostly in conception – and maybe kids should learn at a young age not just to say no to booze but also to recognize signs of inebriation.

As for me, I am avoiding booze mostly so when I am with Alex, she knows how a sober person acts when excited and she’ll learn the difference between beer compliments and the real thing.

David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer. He craved a dirty vodka martini while writing this story.

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