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Letters 03-02-2015

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Real Science Wolfgang Pauli, the Nobel Prize winning Austrian-born theoretical physicist, was known not only for his work in postulating the existence of the neutrino but feared for his razor-edged humor.

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Drinking: Is it really...
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Drinking: Is it really worth it?

Scott Straley - October 3rd, 2007
In reference to the cover story titled “The Drinking Debate,” I doubt that I am a minority of one in believing it is utterly wasteful to devote that much time, ink, and paper to questioning the illegality of 18-20-year-olds drinking alcohol. This is a truly somnolent non-issue (at best). I did not lose one second of the sleep that was induced by Mr. Coates’s article over the fact that members of society’s most reckless, immature, irresponsible, hormone-inflamed age-group are, by law, encouraged to remain sober until they reach the ripe old age of 21. Do the people of this town wash down so many handfuls of pharmaceutical narcotics with martinis that this is what passes for a “social problem” around here?
As of today, people have to live a whopping 21 years before Big Brother allows them to use their bodies and brains for alcoholic chemistry/biology experiments! Doesn’t it just bring tears to your eyes? Aren’t you just sobbing uncontrollably? How can we, as a free people in a free country, stand idly by and allow such callous injustice to flourish in This Great Land of Ours? Let’s have a shot and a beer and go to war over this, and forcibly take this asylum back from the lunatics! Am I just oozing disingenuousness, or is this more like coarse sarcastic rancor?
You make the call.
I do not feel strongly enough to climb on a soapbox and scream about this non-issue until I blow a head-pipe out of some puritanical religious fervor; I simply don’t give the business end of a rat that the law prohibits 18-20-year-old “adults” from drinking alcohol. Like anyone with at least a thimble-full of common sense, I realize that kids who want to drink alcohol will go right ahead and drink it, by the gallon in many cases, until they fall down and smash their faces on a concrete sidewalk, regardless of their age and of what the state or anyone else says.
Is anyone’s discretionary thought process so immobilized by denial to dispute that quite commonly, any given kid’s Mommy and Daddy are likely to be insipid booze-bags? That the bar at home is stocked with enough hard alcohol to fuel up the Space Shuttle for a mission to Mars and back? Is it such a strain to imagine that people like this have kids who are drunk more often than not? Is it a shocking surprise when these kids end up meeting a tragic and ultimately preventable demise?
Okay, I admit it: I’m a freak. I don’t drink alcohol, not because I’m in the process of recovering from an alcohol addiction, but simply because I don’t see the point. Overall, it tastes like crap (yes, even nowadays, when it is flavored to taste like your favorite Halloween candy). More importantly, far from what your average self-obsessed, naval-gazing late teenager thinks, drinking alcohol doesn’t make anyone cool, or funny, or tough, or any other desirable character trait they wrongly attribute to being a result of pouring a gallon of booze down their neck.
In the best cases, drinking makes a person incredibly stupid; at its worst, it imbues one with the rare talent of being totally idiotic, violent, dangerous, or just flat-out dead (quite often, some innocent sober people end up becoming dead right along with the drunks, just for being in the wrong place at the right time.) Not to mention that pesky A-word: booze is brutally addictive, something that 19- year-olds often don’t accept until they’ve become 40-something, they no longer have a license to drive, they have become an abusive parent/spouse, they’ve been to jail more times than they can remember, they’ve been fired from meaningless jobs more times than they can remember, and much, much worse (manslaughter, hard prison time, use your imagination here).
At this point it seems relevant to offer a reminder that one of the trademark phrases of people in their late teens is “that can’t happen to ME, man.” Why do they all seem to say that, and why does “that” happen to so many of them? Could it be because despite being so wise and experienced, they actually DON’T know everything?
I could (falsely) hope to accomplish something, I guess, by tossing around some boring statistical “proof” about huge numbers of dead people, untold numbers of ruined lives, and some other highly unpleasant, yucky stuff we all know (and generally ignore) about alcoholism, but I’m not running for political office and therefore I don’t require any converts to a new religion I’m selling. I’m just an everyday Regular Joe who wonders: Since drinking alcohol is responsible for amassing a heap of bodies each year behind which we could easily hide Mt. Everest, is it possible that someday “we, the people” will finally sense the acute danger inherent in drinking alcohol and act accordingly? That is, with extreme caution? Without any thought to punitive legislation?
Naaaaahhh. After all, intelligent sober people are NEVER the life of the party. Unless perhaps the party is a combined AA/MENSA function.


 
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