Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sorry, I got drunk.

I've noticed the idea of drinking seems to hit a sharp nerve in some people lately. It can be a lightning rod for various acrid feelings they have towards their peers, certain social groups, and even the mainstream. The idea of getting drunk seems to represent everything that's wrong with other people and their priorities, and how they're just different from them. I call this bullshit.

I’m a socially-inclined 23-year-old and a recent graduate of the University of Alabama. When I’m out at a social event, there is likely a drink in my hand, if not in the other as well. It perplexes me that at such a young age, people actually tell me to stop drinking like I’m in college, and that it’s time to settle down.

What the hell?

In America, they tell us we’re too immature to drink until we’re 21 years old, and then these same imprudent people tell us a few years later that we’re too immature if we continue drinking.

Where did people get the idea that at certain points in our lives we should measure ourselves for our burial shrouds, and then quail down and wait for the Grim Reaper to come rapping at our door? Relax, people, and have a drink.

The problem with society today are these overly negative people with uptight attitudes towards drinking, who claim that alcohol is detrimental to our bodies. These people also like to claim that these people, like myself, will probably be less successful in life than those who don’t drink.

No doubt, drinking has negative aspects to it, and I don’t necessarily condone excessive drinking. There are plenty of people in this world who abuse alcohol and let it control their lives. You may undoubtedly find the drunks staggering down the road with a bottle of Early Times in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Who cares, really? As long as they aren’t putting anyone else in danger.

But I’m not speaking of this category of people. That’s steering away from my point. I’m speaking of the people who like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage after a grueling day of work, a glass of scotch while relaxing in the evening, or even sitting amongst friends at a bar enjoying each others company.

In addition, being the social drinker that I am, I have developed an appreciation for alcohol, such as wine and beer. These two beverages are so diverse and complex, that producing and brewing them is like a form of art. Learning to love a good wine or hand-crafted beer is like looking at a piece of art for the first time -- you might not understand it at first, but you will grow to treasure its beauty.

It’s an obvious point – there’s nothing wrong with just consuming alcohol. There’s nothing all that bad about it by default. It’s more about how you use it. You can even call it evolutionary novel behavior.

Archeological evidence dates the production of beer and wine to Mesopotamia at about 6,000 BC. The origin of distilled spirits is traced back to the Middle East or China at about 700 AD. Is historical evidence not enough for alcohol appreciation?

A study done in the 1960s reckoned that, without alcohol, civilization would have probably collapsed into anarchy following the horrors of WWI.

And wasn’t it an alcohol-emboldened Winston Churchill who possessed the guts to stand up to the tidal wave of tyranny that threatened to engulf the entire planet?

Call my examples implausible, obscure, or dubious – I honestly don’t care. I’m sticking to my belief that consuming alcohol is not bad. And it doesn't require brainwashing to enjoy it. It’s just an interest in a new experience, or simply wanting to drink something that tastes damn good.

I will leave a quote to all the acerbic people who think I drink too much: “The trouble with the world is that everybody is three drinks behind.” - Humphrey Bogart

Cheers, and see you at the kegger.

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