Do We Do Anything Sober?
When we were younger, there were a lot of activities to fill our days. This was in the era before lightning-fast internet. Before we could waste away our days in chatrooms and flirting with old people. Before video game systems with microchips that could guide nuclear missiles and before 900 cable TV channels. So we had to find other stuff to do. We played sports, we watched sports on TV, occasionally we would go to the mall or see a movie. Or maybe we would just drive around aimlessly looking for something fun to do. And, for many of us anyway, we managed to do it all sober.
Then somewhere along the line we discovered alcohol as a fun way to occupy our evenings. Then evenings turned into afternoons and then in college we discovered the revolutionary concept of Beer for Breakfast. And while the 24-hour binge drinking days are now reserved for national holidays and breakups, it has become painfully obvious to me that things we used to do on their own now ALL involve alcohol.
I don’t recall once after school in 6th Grade saying “Hey, Dan, lets go to Bryant Park and play some ball. But first let me stop off and grab a 12-pack at Albertson’s. You know I can’t shoot sober.” Or those rec-league softball games. I would be hard pressed to find a dugout without beer these days, how did we ever manage? Going to see “Snakes on a Plane?” Well, now instead of sneaking Joey and Bobby in through the Exit door, you’re sneaking Jack and Johnny in through a well-concealed flask. Even aimless driving now seems to be done with the aid of alcohol, albeit usually on accident.
Or say a friend invites you over to watch the big game on his new TV? You are actually RUDE if you don’t bring some sort of intoxicating beverage. Cooking dinner? You’d better have the right type of wine to go with it. How about going to watch sports live? Remember all those drunken assholes who used to ruin the game for you when you were a kid? Guess who those drunken assholes are now? Oh, how the tables have turned. And don’t even talk about going out at night. There are the odd occasions when you go and do something that does not involve drinking at this age, but those are usually nights you spend with relatives over 70 or under 12.
I suppose there comes a time later on, and I have no idea when it is because I know plenty of people in their thirties who drink at every social occasion, when life stops revolving around booze. And maybe not in the get-hammered-as-soon-as-I-get-home way, but more in the “Let’s get fucked up and go do this,” sort of way. I don’t know that marriage stops it either, because plenty of couple I know enjoy a good sloshing as much as their single friends. So this makes it hard if you ever want to stop drinking. Because if alcohol is not ruining your life, which is the case for most of us, their really isn’t much incentive to stop. And when every social interaction you have is usually accompanied by a cold fermented beverage, well, how does one even know when to start stopping?
Is it a sad commentary on the young people of today that we must include alcohol in everything we do? Things you never even used to associate with alcohol and now big booze-fests. Drunk Chess? Really? You can do that? Or does it just add to the endless perpetuation of stories that are the ages of 18-34? Hard to say, but I do know one thing: Try as you might to stop drinking, it is harder now than it will be at any other age. Because now when you stop you feel like you are missing out on something, where as later on, it is probably the other way around.