We went to an end-of-year party for my daughter's robotics team (they compete in the FIRST competitions) last night out in the country, not far from the Spinnerstown Hotel. There were about 20 girls and an assortment of parents, friends, and little kids, all hanging out at the home of the school's physics teacher. We had a potluck dinner (all highly organized, with signup by spreadsheet and e-mail), with ice cream made on the spot by a compressed air-driven churn one of the mentors had built (we are talking about a picnic with engineers!).
Then there was a big bonfire (really big; there were whole trees in it, a pile of wood about 20 feet high), the girls presented awards and team gifts, some of them sang/rapped, there were fireworks. The girls walked down the road to a 'haunted house' (where planted friends who'd slipped away earlier screamed and jumped out at them) and shrieked so loud we could hear them a quarter mile away.
The one thing we didn't do was drink. There was no beer, wine, or spirits served. And you know...it's true. You can have fun without drinking. You don't have to drink. I've always agreed with the New Drys on this.
So why don't they understand that you can drink, and have fun, and not have it turn into a tragedy or an embarrassing evening? Perspective. Rationality. Some even-handedness.
There are real problems that stem from alcohol abuse. The New Drys don't help the situation by contending that there is no safe level of alcohol use. We the booze drinkers don't help the situation by pretending that alcohol is not really dangerous. We need to meet in the middle. Because you can have fun without drinking. And because you can be safe while drinking.