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Why Do We Drink Alcohol?

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  • Jerico
    Champion of the Balance
    • Jan 2004
    • 1577

    Why Do We Drink Alcohol?

    Ethanol Blues
    by Jerico

    [The names in this story have
    been changed to protect their identity,
    even though they don't deserve it!]

    Why do people drink alcohol?
    I'm asking for a deeper answer than, "It's one
    of the only legal drugs." Could it be people
    like feeling like shit in the morning?

    I went out two days in a row
    and drank alcohol.
    On Friday, my friends from my old
    job at The Salk coaxed me out of my home.
    We went to Fred's Restaurant and Bar
    in Old Town.

    Since The Salk had its annual family picnic
    on the lawn, all four of them
    had been drinking beer already, and two
    of them were drunk. Little Carrie almost fell
    over. If her instinct to brace her fall with her
    arms failed her, she would have smashed her face
    onto the short concrete wall that broke her fall.

    It was a 45 minute wait for a table, so instead of just sit
    there while we waited, the decision was made:
    "Let's go to the bar!"

    It was crowded around the bar and we went to the end, close
    to the kitchen.  During the elapsed 90 seconds since we got there, two of the waitresses managed to tell us that we had to
    keep a path clear for them. Slightly annoying.

    It was not unsusual that Carrie, a very petite girl-- about 5 foot tall, perhaps 100 or so pounds-- was drunk. As drunk as she was, she sounded like a Bohemian/hippie, flower-girl, but now to the 3rd degree. During my brief first conversation with her, she held up her arm showing me the scraped skin that she had from falling on the wall. She said, "I got these rug burns. I don't know how."
    I said, "You got them from from almost falling over. You don't remember?" I smiled.
    She didn't remember. Dear Lord!
    Meanwhile, the other Carrie, a.k.a. "A Little-Bit-Bigger Little Carrie" had ordered a beer and Gregor was ordering drinks for everyone else. He's very generous like that and, more importantly, he drinks like a fish. Saying "the dude likes to party" is a gross understatement. He's the kind of guy who ends up sleeping in the flower bed. The kind of guy who, after a long night of partying, is awakened in the morning by the squirted water from the lawn's automatic sprinkler system. I'm not exaggerating.
    He asked me, "What do you want, Jerico?"
    After a breif pause, I said "Rum and Coke."
    I like drinks that taste decent, so I usually don't order beer.
    In fact, I almost never buy drinks in a bar. Usually a friend does because I avoid ordering drinks. I'm not really a drinker. I'm the most tame kind of social drinker, meaning that I don't really drink alcohol, but under peer pressure, I will have one or two drinks, maybe more if there is a substantial amount of pressure. And if I reach the point of intoxication, which isn't hard for me, I maintain control of my behavior, and don't let it get out of hand, especially since I'm usually a driver at the end of the evening.
    To be honest, in short, I'm not a drinker because my dad used to be an alcoholic. Alcohol was almost the death of him, almost truncated in half his present 64 years of existence. It did his brother in, smoking and drinking did, at a relatively early age.

    So we were drinking and carrying on at the bar. Gregor had downed two shots of tequila already. Soon enough, we got shown to our table.
    A plate of nachos was ordered, and more drinks. Gregor mentioned how he had 13 cups of beer at the picnic. I have no reason to doubt that. At one point, being all cute, he pulled his longish hair over his face, looking like a moppy wig was facetiously placed over his head in comic fashion. His eyes were so dialated, if you shined a light in them, his irises may not have twitched at all.

    Little Carrie tried to call her boyfriend Al on Gregor's cel phone.
    "He's going to be mad," she said. "He's really possessive. He doesn't like me going out."
    Why? I thought. He knows us all. We all hung out at Brick by Brick one time, when we went to see Mindscape play. He should know that she is safe among friends. He should know we are all good people.
    "Is he going to be mean to you?"
    "No. He won't be mean to me. He's just really possissive.
    He's a really great musician. If you ever see him play, you'd see."
    She soon got a hold of him, and was talking to him on the cel.

    We all had the notion to call Ellen and her hubbie, Shane. They weren't answering the phone.
    "They're fuckin." suggested A Lil-bigger-little Carrie.
    Then I came up with the idea for all of us to leave a message on their machine. I was the third one to leave a message. Of course, I was theatrical about it.
    In my best Cockney accent I said: "'Ello! This is Woosh Oliander! Aiym the gentleman oo slipped me number inta ya back pocket at the club laast weeyk. You caalled mey back, but I di'int get a chaance tew talk tew yew yet." Everyone was laughing.
    "Aiym in Old Town riight now. Why don'cha come an joiyn us for some cocktaiyles this eve'nin? Okay, love, see ya soon."
    If it weren't for all the laughter, they wouldn't have had a clue who I was. By the time Lil-bigger-little Carrie was leaving a message, they finally picked-up the phone. They agreed to come join us.

    Gregor ordered his 3rd and 4th tequila shot, but didn't drink them right away. I made sure that he was eating, putting nachos on his plate for him. I had him do his Igor impression. He has the Turkish scientist's accent "down to a 't.'" Good laughs always out of that.
    "I'm going to party all night. I'm not going to sleep tonight," Gregor said.

    At one point Little Carrie stood up to go to the bathroom, and I, sitting next to her, lightly grabbed her arm, uncertain if she would fall over or not.
    "Would you like me to go with you?" I asked.
    "No it's ok." And walked off.
    "You're going the wrong way." I gestured to the other Carrie. "Can you go with her?"
    Lil-bigger-little Carrie, went off with Little Carrie in the wrong direction. What they ended up doing, since the rest area was located in the back part of the patio were we were sitting at, went out the front and circled the perimeter to the back.
    It was a bit of a spectacle. Quite a few people at the table next to us were watching. I acted as though everything was just fine and dandy.
    When Ellen and Shane arrived, they ordered margaritas. Gregor decided it was time to drink shots 3 and 4.
    "Anyone want to drink one with me?" he offered.
    No one was game. I thought: All I had was one drink so far, I should drink it.
    "I will." There was approval, like applause from everyone. More like relief that they weren't the one to do it.
    I took the lime and shot glass. Held it up.
    "Saludos!" I said.
    We clicked glasses and then I mirrored Gregor: bit the lime and then down the hatch went the tequila.
    Soon enough, he ordered one more shot. Oh god!
    Little Carrie wanted to call her boyfriend again. She asked to use my phone, since Gregor's was almost out of batteries. We tried several times, but Al was either on the line or left the phone off the hook. Then she began to lay her head down on her arms, laying on the table like she was going to sleep. I rubbed her back, asking if she was ok.
    Mercifully, the event came to a close and we all stood up to leave. Gregor didn't drink shot 5 yet, but I was hoping he'd forget about it. I don't know if he drank it or not before we walked out, having paid the bill.
    It was about 11pm, which isn't so bad considering that Gregor and bigger Carrie had to work at 7am the next morning.
    Three of us were driving: Bigger Carrie, Shane, and myself. All of us were ok to drive. The drunkest were not going to be at the wheel.
    "I'm taking Gregor with me to my house, and will drop him off at work tomorrow." This made the most sense because I live close to The Salk while Gregor doesn't and takes public transportation to get around.
    I said to bigger Carrie, "I'll just drop his limp body off at the front gate, and I'll call you at the office so you can come get him."
    "Haha! Yeah," she responded.
    Little Carrie went with Ellen and Shane because they all live in the beach area.
    Farewells and hugs were exchanged, and off to the cars we went.

    When we got to my house, I pulled out my couch bed for Gregor to crash on.
    "Gimme your cel phone. I'll charge it up for you." We have the same kind of rectangular Sony Ericsson phone. I connected the charger chord to it.
    Gregor laid down, and almost immediately fell asleep. So much for staying up all night, eh?
    I set up my wind up alarm clock and the alarm on my cel phone-- my patented "fail-safe" technique. Then checked eMail before going to bed.
    In the morning, I noticed Gregor had a message on his phone, I gave it to him. After checking it, he told me that Al had left a nasty message. He handed it over to me and I replayed it.
    It was an anger-filled voice and the message was something very close to this:
    "Yeah. I don't know if you're going to answer the phone or not, but tell Carrie to GET OFF THE BOTTLE! and come home. Cuz if she doesn't, I might leave and she won't be able to get in because she doesn't got a key."
    Then there was one last sentence which I can't recall for some reason but it had the word "FUCK!" in it.
    "Dang! That guy has issues," I said. Thinking further, I thought that the big issue is drinking alcohol. Considering the "get off the bottle," message, and the way petite Carrie handles alcohol, I can sympathize with Al to a certain degree. He obviously is a controlling, possessive type though.

    I dropped Gregor off at work on time. It was 7am and I had planned on making it to a free computer class at 8 am that morning. I felt like shit.
    "Fuck that!" I said to myself. "I'm not going." I'll take it next time.
    But really... FUCK ALCOHOL! and the abusive behavior related to it.
     But really, really... FUCK PEOPLE! and all the stupid things we do.

    End of Part 1
    \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
    Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview
  • DeeCrowSeer
    Eternal Champion
    • Feb 2004
    • 2214

    Harsh story Jerico!

    I'm quite like you on the "social drinker" thing, although it's not because my parents drank as such, but... well, once I had to be carried home from a nightclub after spending a good couple of minutes stood over a water fountain being sick on to my fallen spectacles. That was not exactly the proudest moment of my life, but I was at university (college) and I've learned from my stupidity. Luckily I moved back to my home town, away from my big city friends, and most of my home town friends are too busy with their SOs to bother bullying me to go and drink with them.

    But binge drinking is a huge problem in Britain. Pretty much any event or holiday is an excuse for mass alcoholism, and I don't like to go anywhere near town on a Bank Holiday because it just isn't worth the abuse. I used to work at an aquarium, and was invited out a couple of times for various drinks after work. It usually started off okay, but then we'd hook up with people who'd been off that day and had been drinking for several hours, and all they wanted to do was shout and fall over. It was usually at that point that a sober-ish Dee made a dash for the nearest bus stop.

    I know our government are discussing plans to allow 24 hour drinking, in the hopes that this will suddenly make us all more "continental" and less abusive of alcohol, but I can't see that happening personally. I once experiemented with the French idea of having a glass of red wine with my supper, but I'd end up needing a nap around the middle of the evening, so I stopped that. These days I only drink once of twice a month, and no more than three pints. So my liver is probably in great condition, but my social life could do with some augmentation!

    Sorry, I'm rambling again.

    "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild


    • Bob
      Defender of the Runestaff
      • Dec 2003
      • 327

      I guess it's all about moderation. A couple of drinks tend to loosen me up and, although I'm not a timid person by nature, makes me that little bit more comfortable with people I don't know. A problem arises when people become dependent on the booze to fuel their social activities.

      I don't drink to get drunk - I don't see the point. You only end up making an arse of yourself and will likely cause somebody offence, be it a loved one or just random guy on the street that ends up hitting you (that hasn't happened to me, may I add).

      I suppose my point is that I know when to stop.
      Call me cockey, but if there\'s an alien I can\'t kill, I haven\'t met him and killed him yet!


      • Guest's Avatar

        I'm in agreement with D here. Please don't bring in twenty-four hour drinking in the UK - never mind Bank Holidays, D - one has to only set foot in any London town centre on a Friday and Saturday night and experience the sorry consequences of binge drinking. It's a sad state of affairs here that I feel intimidated to walk home in my own neighbourhood on any Saturday night!

        I'm a couple of glasses of red girl with supper twice a week or so. Hangovers sure lose their appeal the older you get :)



        • MissDreamy
          Citizen of Tanelorn
          • Mar 2004
          • 204

          Sod. Forgot to sign in again!! That was me, that was :lol:


          • Etive
            Citizen of Tanelorn
            • Feb 2004
            • 222

            Jerico, Your story is the truth. written from one of the other characters perspective it would probably be full of cheer and merriment! Is that dark rum in your coke? I love the stuff in hot chocolate especially whilst camping or surveying bats.

            24 hour drinking is certainly a bad idea in the UK. It'd be like match days or bank holidays every day, with drunken people walking the streets, some attempting to start fights with passers by on their way to/from work/shops e.t.c

            In my town people who do not blend in easily have to assess whether or not it's safe to go out based on how many pissed people will be around. Walking day is time to lock the doors!

            I think people have enough time to drink as it is. I myself only go to the pub a couple of times a month to meet a friend. She likes to get stupidly drunk and is much more interesting sober.

            I prefer to drink with a meal or have a glass of something for a celebration. I haven't always been a sensible drinker though. In my youth I drank large bottles of scotch practically to myself, I thought it was fun but looking back it wasn't really.

            What about the other government proposal to ban smoking in public places, this one I agree with for my own selfish reasons.

            I mention this because one of the reasons I do not like to go to the pub is because I have a cigarette allergy and suffer severe nosebleeds and swelling of the throat the day after; worse than any hangover.

            I think that drinking is yet another form of escapism and another thing; anything done whilst "pissed" seems to be socially acceptable no matter what. It is the ultimate excuse.


            • Jerico
              Champion of the Balance
              • Jan 2004
              • 1577

              Hi, EtiLyd!
              I didn't really observe the kind of rum the
              bartender put in my drink.
              It was probably the brand with the "bat-wings"

              Come an visit me in California, and
              we'll hang out in pubs and restaurants where
              smoking inside the facility is against the law.


              \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
              Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview


              • Jules
                Eternal Companion
                • Jan 2004
                • 609

                I'm all for 24hr hours or at least sorting out London's archaic licensing.

                Went down to visit friends a few months back and my train didn't arrive until 9pm, by the time I'd met them in a pub it was getting on for 10, and then it's 'well either we pay to go to a club or go home' - wheras in the more civilised North free entry bars stay open later, and some even let people in after 11pm - notably not the 'trouble' venues. I don't go out so much these days buy typically when we do we don't start the evening until 9pm.

                Not saying there aren't binge drinking problems, but the laws exist to deal with it 'drunk and disorderly' 'keeping an orderly house'. At the very least they should devolve them down to local communities to decide.

                Newport (where I spent my teenage years) had the Home Secretary come in and announce a special curfew on all venues of 12pm due to violence - which was really annoying for those of us who stayed well clear of the cheap lager and fighting venues, and that's pretty much the foundation of my whole attitude on the matter. Deal with the problem makers, rather than punishing everyone.


                • Etive
                  Citizen of Tanelorn
                  • Feb 2004
                  • 222

                  I agree Jules, evenings do tend to start at 9pm and people should have the option of trotting along to a bar after pub chuck out. I was not aware that these bars were a Northern thing.

                  In my town there's a bar called Fryer's which closes at 2am. If I haven't escaped earlier, I go to Fryer's and wait until about 1ish for a safe gap to walk home whilst most people are still in various drinking establishments.

                  I would argue that if the bars were 24 hour, such safe gaps may be lost and I would not like to encounter any more casual daytime violence.

                  Deal with the problem makers, rather than punishing everyone.
                  I feel like I'm being punished by the "problem makers" who cannot be rounded up so easily nearly everytime I go out.

                  I think that perhaps the government should concentrate on public safety and at least get some decent, secure late night public transport in place first.

                  So long as the streets are safe, let them drink beer!


                  • zakt
                    Eternal Companion
                    • Apr 2004
                    • 531

                    In Scotland, 12am closing is the norm even in smaller towns. I haven't noticed any appreciable difference in terms of drunk'n'disorderly, it just tends to happen later on. Mebbe a good argument for 24 hours, as the mass exodus at closing time must have an impact on public order.

                    As one who likes the occasional drink or five, can I just put in a plea for tolerance? Not all drinkers are anti-social mob-joiners, and not all thugs are drinkers (football hooligans tend to attempt to keep heads clear). For those of us with inhibitions / introverted characters, a few drinks is a nice way to loosen up and socialise. And the occasional faux pas is just an occupational hazard.
                    \"Killing me won\'t bring back your apples!\"


                    • DeeCrowSeer
                      Eternal Champion
                      • Feb 2004
                      • 2214

                      Originally posted by zakt
                      As one who likes the occasional drink or five, can I just put in a plea for tolerance?
                      No!!! :x For the GOOD OF EUROPE the Drinkismfacists will all be locked away in heavily guarded sweat lodges until the alcohol has left their Inebriantionist blood. Then they will be loaded into specially constructed "breeding pods" where they can pump out the next generation of... :oops: Sorry, don't know what came over me there.

                      As you were.

                      "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild


                      • zakt
                        Eternal Companion
                        • Apr 2004
                        • 531

                        Keep taking the scrumpy, DCS
                        \"Killing me won\'t bring back your apples!\"


                        • Jules
                          Eternal Companion
                          • Jan 2004
                          • 609

                          Etive - no, I think it's just a Westminster thing (that is so bad) - I would guess they can charge a fortune for those late licences that way - and of course my friends didn't know any illegal Soho drinking dens. (Do they still exist??).

                          Country pubs have never seemed to obey licensing hours - was in one in West Wales when the local police came in - for their off duty drink. And over the years I've known plenty of pubs that did late night lock-ins. I think the key thing in all these cases is that none of them have ever been 'trouble' pubs - never get groups of lads piling in after the other places have shut and the police showing a sensible bit of tolerance, provided the publicans don't try and exploit the situation.


                          • Ribitt
                            Wanderer of the Mittel March
                            • Aug 2004
                            • 16

                            Ok... I'll admit it... I'm one of those strange Non-Alcoholics (Er... is that the right expression in English?), and had the luck that Fate decided in one of its humorous moments to let me be born in the nice South-West of Germany, where more wine is produced than anywhere else in the country.
                            Most people here, it seems to me, consider you a wimp if you don't drink at least every weekend, even if they know nothing about you, even if they meet you for the first time ever. The usual comment is something like: "What? You dont...? Fuck! Are you a little girlie?" And then, they won't talk to you again.
                            At least it pleases the sadistic part of me to see the same people hanging drunk over some chair a couple of hours later.
                            Perhaps it's just my odd self, but I simply don't want to go out or have a party with people who think of themselves as friends, comrades, mates, buddys or whatever but don't have much to say to each other apart from: "Hey, give me the bottle!" and are unable to have fun without a bear or two. Unfortunately, those seem to be a majority, at least in this part of the country, although there are still some moderate drinkers around who accept my opinion and with whom I can spend an evening without anyone going on my nerves trying to convince me to drink...
                            I hope I won't get bottled to death for all my blasphemy...


                            • Jerico
                              Champion of the Balance
                              • Jan 2004
                              • 1577

                              Thank you for your post!
                              I sympathize with you!
                              \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
                              Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview