Saturday, March 22, 2008
Drink: A rant. And some stuff about a Binman
At what stage do you officially become an 'alcoholic'?. I mean, when I was 17 and literally swimming in Dorfmeister each night, I used to laugh at suggestions that I may have a problem. All bets are off, I'd say, when you're 17 you immune from everything. No disease could touch you. No ailment would bring you down. No addiction would cripple you.
The current blame game being played by the good and the concerned has got me thinking. Is alcohol abuse a major issue in modern Ireland. Are we becoming a brash, abrasive and ultimately dangerous race because of booze? And if so, what can we do. We obviously can't stop drinking because that would be like asking a horse to stop being a horse. In a country that has given the colour 'grey' a happy retirement home, is it right to ask the miserable to stop drinking and face up to the fact that you live in a civic mess and deal with it. Is it right to ask the old schoolers who call on rebel songs and beards to remind them of where they are from, to stop tearing into the porter, when all they know revolves around a pint of plain? Should we ask the kids, who have watched in awe as their Fathers came home, smelling of a wonderful evening of Smithwicks and song, laden with pub crisps and mint crisps, not to drink? What would you suggest they do?
And, if we did. Say we alienated the drinkers, like we did the smokers. What if we banned alcohol advertising, hiked up the prices and raise the legal drinking age. Would this work, or would it lead to a lot of kids turning to drugs for cheap thrills. Would it take people from the pubs, and back onto the streets. Would it lead to further alienation of the old rural folk, and lead to more isolation in our outposts. Home drinking, surely would soar, as it has been. But would this lead to more drink driving, as families scatter all over the commuter belt?
But is it the problem anyway? Do you think drink caused the murders of the two Polish men last month? Indirectly, yes. But the guys who did it, where they hammered? Had they just fallen out of a pub and thought about killing two innocent guys, no. They wanted drink though, but only because they had nothing else to do.
You know, alcohol has a responsibility to this country. Our reputation is solely based upon it. It has served a purpose in our development as a nation and should continue to do so. It has given a social forum for a most people, it has encouraged most of our romances and it has created an image abroad that would be financial suicide to change. And that is the real problem.
I didn't know where this post was going, and I kinda hoped it would fit together. I was prompted to write it when the binman bumped into me as I brought down a bag of rubbish last week. Taking it from my hand and hearing the clink of all the bottles, he winked at me as to say 'Looks like you've had a good week!'.. I grimaced back to say 'Week? That was just this mornings helping man, I'm hammered'
And I was.
EDIT, I just saw Twenty's post about same, I reckon we compliment each other here..