Saturday, August 20, 2005

a drink at any hour

It's only natural to follow a football post with one about alcohol.

I love states without blue laws. At 11 p.m. I can buy a 6-pack of beer from a grocery store. On Sunday, I can pick up a bottle of wine to go with dinner. It's more than convenience; it makes sense. The morality argument behind banning the sale of alcohol on Sunday is ludicrous.

That said, there probably are times and places when alcohol should probably be a little less accessible. There are some who logically argue that extending bar close times would increase widespread problems of binge drinking, as in Britain. (Old Man Rich, I expect you have a thought or two on this topic.)

Then there are others with cogent arguments insisting that a later bar close would prevent incidents of binge drinking, such as "power hour" among the newly-turned 21-year-olds. As my own birthday approaches, I think sauntering down to the local bar and slamming 27 shots sounds like a really, really bad idea.

I've drunk less than four beers in two years what with pregnancy, nursing, and the like. I miss the context of drinking more than the actual drinks. I think it's that social aspect of drinking that's really the heart of the debate about bar close times.

It's a problem when binge drinking becomes socially acceptable, even cheered. But a group of friends kicking back and watching "the game" with a few pints--no harm in that, is there? Even on a Sunday.


Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

I learned to drink in college.

I mean it.

First off, I'm old enough that I started drinking legally at 18. And there was a pub on campus.

Of course, I started out getting shitfaced. We all did.

But as I got older, and started taking upper-level courses, I spent time in the pub with professors, and learned to drink like an adult. Alcohol is a very good social lubricant for many of us. One of my fondest memories was sitting with one of my professors, arging about whether or not Chekhov's 'Uncle Vanya' was a comedy or tragedy over a pitcher of Stroh's.

That's what's missing now. There's such a tight control over alchohol in official college life that it has become as contraband as pot was back in the early '80's.

And like pot, it's everywhere. And everyone is getting wasted.

I don't have a solution. Banning it will not work. What about 'Social Drinking' as an elective?

Might as well try it--nothing else works.


9:41 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

I have lived in VA, FL, and PA. It is most difficult to get alcohol in PA. I can't imagine why having alcohol in grocery stores is such a problem.

My husband is in the food industry, sort of, and he's a big beer and wine person. I'm learning how to drink different types of beer and wine.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

BP-- I can already imagine the final exam.

Polanco--Enjoy the taste testing. Let me know if you find anything you love.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Old Man Rich said...

Ok. First off, people talk about binge drinking as if it were a bad thing. I indulged in this activity for much of my youth with no ill effects. Ok, I spent a few evenings face down in my own vomit, had the odd visit to casualty and once woke up covered in snow and unable to feel my legs. But hey, these events have helped make me into the well rounded and damned attractive person of today. Unfortunately, age tells and I can no longer consume 2 gallons of beer on a friday evening. So I have spread my drinking out across the week. Thus I am dry just two nights a week. A form of binge sobriety if you like. Again, with no obvious ill effects (apart from financial).
However, if you do want to stop binge drinking there are a number of steps you can take.
Firstly, Making anything illegal, restricted access or portraying it as 'bad' makes it more desirable to the young. So get rid of our (Englands) archaic licencing laws. These were bought in during the war and should have been removed when it ended. they result in (i) staying out longer than you want. 'hey, its 10, may as well stick it out till last orders' (ii) frantic necking. 'hey, its last orders, lets grab a couple of pints each' (iii) hundreds of drunks hitting the street at the same time. 'hey, no cabs, queues at the kebab van, lets fight'. Secondly, drinks have got stronger. I drink a beer at 3.8% In my youth a 4.5% beer was a strong beer. Now all the lagers start around 4.5% and work up.So, although the volume drunk remains the same people are consuming much more alcahol. (and don't even start me on alcopops). Solution, a variable rate duty that heavily penalizes stronger drinks. Thirdly, beer advertising is heavily targetted at young people and portrays the drink culture as cool and trendy. So ban it.
Finally, Todays youngsters just arn't the fine upstanding people that my friends and I were. In my youth we used to drink a bit too much, engage our elders and betters in witty banter, indulge in self expresionism and have the od argument that was more physical than mental. Todays kids just get drunk, shout abuse, commit acts of vandalisation and fight. Bring back national service I say....
Seriously. I don't think things are worse now than twenty years ago. Its just become a subject that the press focus on these days.

5:17 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Thanks for the perspective, Rich.

5:38 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

I like wheat beers. They're sweeter, I think. You'd never guess I'm Irish. I don't do well with warm, dark beers. Hefeweissa is goo dif you can get it.

8:11 PM  

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