Like everyone else, there are certain aspects of life I have minimal experience with and others with which I consider myself fairly well versed.
For good, ill or both — depending on your point of view — one of those areas in which I’m fairly well practiced is drinking. That’s neither a boast nor a confession, just a statement of fact.
My dad enjoyed beer, and so did my older brothers. Consequently, I suppose, I was somewhat destined to acquire my own taste for it and have been a regular drinker since about age 17 (I’ve drunk plenty of alcoholic beverages besides beer and still enjoy the occasional shot or two of Jack Daniel’s or the like, but mainly I drink beer, averaging maybe a dozen a week at the rate of one or two a night).
For those of you who want to pillory me for being a teenage drinker, well, go ahead. I think I turned out all right. And while I wouldn’t recommend that kids become drinkers, I also wouldn’t recommend school officials and others demonizing alcohol to the extent they seem to want to; I just don’t think that’s the best approach to having kids learn to make reasoned, responsible decisions regarding alcohol.
Anyway, for a handful of reasons, including non-drinker Mike Henneke’s comical recent typo in a sub-headline — “alcohism”; in the same header, he had a guy “finding his back” after beating the aforementioned alcohism, but hey, nobody’s perfect — I’ve been doing a fair bit of thinking and talking about various aspects of drinking lately.
Here’s a collection of those thoughts, in no particular order (bear in mind these are just my opinions, not scientifically researched assertions, but I’m comfortable with them):
– If someone is basically a good person and I hear he’s an alcoholic, I’m willing to accept the person is suffering from an illness.
– If the alcoholic is a colossal jerk, then I look at it as a character weakness, just another thing wrong with a flaw-laden life.
– Some people just should not drink, either because they are genetically/chemically predisposed toward becoming addicted or just not mature enough, regardless of age, to do so responsibly.
– If someone’s apology for one seemingly out-of-character transgression or another includes the excuse “I had way too much to drink,” write it off as no apology at all. Here’s why: Alcohol does not make you something you’re not, but if you’re a phony, if may make you reveal what you really are.
There you go. And now that the blog is out of the way — following a 10-mile run in the woods Sunday afternoon — I think I’ll have a couple beers. I don’t need them, I want them. And yes, I could stop drinking anytime if there was any reason to do so, but at this point in my life, there is not.
Btw, even as a teenager, I always knew I’d never be an alcoholic. I didn’t need to drink to have fun, and I never felt it had any hold on me.
If you drink — again, regardless of age — and can’t say the same things, maybe you ought to rethink what you’re doing. That’s not condescension or moralizing, just a suggestion. Do with it what you will.