Years ago I heard the rumour that I was an alcoholic. I was offended by the implication that I could be such a predictable character.
Alcoholics drink because they have to. It’s like a job with no holidays. Once something becomes habit, it’s no longer a choice.
I once participated in a study on “social drinking” and gambling in which we were given real money to bet, along with cocktails that were alcoholic or non-. Only the researchers knew which.
We were given a questionnaire filled with bizarre references to fantasies of power. What theory they were working on, I’m not sure. Perhaps to see if recklessness increases with intoxication. I lost all my betting money while filling up on what turned out to be mocktails, whatever that proves. Just the suggestion that you might be getting drunk can be convincing.
I accidentally conducted an experiment with real drinks recently.
Awful Bob and I drank rye, wine and beer at my mother’s. Then we ventured out to look for the new east-end digs of the former Parkdale Blue Moon. We never found it.
Instead, we were enticed into a basement bowling alley where they seemed to make up a special introductory exorbitant beer price just for us. The lanes were lumpy, the shoes smelly, and we enjoyed a strenuous few games.
Later, we stopped for a pitcher at a tavern with a terrible band, then walked on to last call in an Irish establishment. Then back to Awful Bob’s, where he served large cans.
The next morning, neither of us felt like we’d had a drink at all. “I feel like I’ve been to a spa!” he exclaimed. Was it the bowling? All that walking? Or do we both have such massively high tolerance for alcohol that we should worry?
New bars are opening every week to cash in on the hordes of weekend power drinkers whose disgusting behaviour makes a case for sobriety. Over an evening or a lifetime, when it comes to drinking, pacing is very important.
Unlike North American natives who were unprepared for the fatal onslaught of European firewater, the empire-building Aztecs knew very well the havoc wreaked by alcohol.
Here’s their emperor quoted in Daily Life Of The Aztecs: “Drink is the root and the origin of all evil and of all perdition; drink and drunkenness are the cause of all the discords and of all the dissensions, of all revolt and of all troubles in cities and in realms.
In pre-Columbian Mexico City, the punishment for public drunkenness was death.
Today, most of Mexico’s tequila producers have been bought by multinational liquor companies that are depressing the price paid to agave cactus farmers and taking money out of the tequila towns that local companies traditionally invested in the community. Taking a drink has not only personal, but political ramifications.
The Canadian and Ontario governments have a vested interest in pushing booze for its huge payoff in taxes.
I’m getting thirsty. I could drink tap water and pretend it’s gin. But it will only make me want to buy a lottery ticket.