Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Drys Right About One Thing...

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.

7 comments:

Sheila said...

Good article Sir !
Only problem is that all Alcohol carries a unspoken nasty ability to deal out severe permenant health afflictions, pretty much, as it sees fit !
Five to be exact, are current/common at this time, none with any sufficient forewarning signs, nor cures:
-Grand Mal Seizures
-Rapid Blindness
-Rapid Deafness
-Rapid Corroded Livers
-Heart Attacks

As a moderate drinker for over 25 yrs, assuming that by not ever getting drunk, as well as perfect health, I was in complete shock when hit with my own affliction. Moderate drinking used to be 1-2 stiff ones a day, when this past February, North American Medical Research released a new standard for the term moderate: Not more than 1-2 per week, maximum. (Which should have been spelled out years ago !)
What we need is health warning labels on all liquor containers, mostly for our youth, as they are currently following directly in our slimy footsteps, & at a much earlier age than we ever set out !

kramer said...

Did they specify no alcohol? If not then why didn't you BYOB to drink and share? I always find that type of thing a nice platform to present yourself as an example of what a responsible drinker looks like. Besides, if there was going to be beer "served", you would have probably been drinking Bud Light anyway, right?

Lew Bryson said...

Sheila, with all due respect, that flies in the face of all the extensive medical research I've read on the health effects of alcohol. I'm 50, I've been drinking regularly since I was 18, and I've had no ill effects. I know many people who are older, and regular moderate drinkers, without ill effects. And I don't think anyone who is serious on research refers to moderate drinking as "1-2 stiff ones a day." Thanks for your input, and I'm sorry for your pain, but this kind of thing doesn't help the conversation.

Lew Bryson said...

Kramer,

School party, and our first year at it. I didn't really think it was my place to poke in on it. If the only choice was Bud Light (more likely Yuengling around here), well, there's always iced tea.

Jeffrey said...

The Drys are descendants of the Puritans, who believe that someone somewhere is having fun, and it must be stopped. And they view us, as beer drinkers, as ignorant rubes who must be protected from ourselves, because only they know the real truth. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has the same problem.

geoffrobinson said...

As an American Calvinist, I'm a descendent of the Calvinists more than anyone you probably know. Calvinists drink and Puritans drank. CS Lewis once said "They were not teetotallers; bishops, not beer, were their special aversion."

If you want to know where the Prohibitionists originally came from, it is this: you had a bunch of Christian women with deadbeat drunk husbands.

The overall point Lew is making, and it is a good one, can be summed up with a Martin Luther quote. Let me paraphrase. They get up on the right side of the horse just to fall off the left side. People always overreact to their former vice.

I once met someone from church in a liquor store. After chatting for a while he mentioned that his wife has a negative view of alcohol. I asked if his wife has a history of alcohol problems in her family, and the answer was yes.

So I think we need to make sure our message to them is that the answer to the misuse (of anything) is proper use not non-use.

Anonymous said...

I'll agree with Geoff's comment. You seee this quite often, I think anyway, where those who become extremists, or at least those who are very vocal regarding something, anything, that can in some way be correlated to some sort of ill effects when abused, are often the same folks who've experienced some sort of great personal loss, tragedy, or illness related to the issue. And, no matter how much the percentages may be in all of our favors, they will say otherwise. Of course, when they're telling you about the moral/medical implications, you don't know they've suffered from said loss, tragedy, illness, so you take them as being true believers, when in fact often they seem to be our for something closer to revenge or vindication, and while those may be too strong of words, I think you know what I mean by choosing them.