We have an excuse for the consumption of alcohol for almost everything we do in our society; we drink at weddings, wakes, and birthdays. We celebrate getting a new job, or to commiserate losing one, we drink when we feel happy, or depressed. We drink to celebrate the end of the working day, the working week, or the start of the weekend. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is, we need alcohol to toast to it, and to make it more special. ANZAC Day is drinking day, so is Melbourne Cup Day, the AFL grand final, cricket tests, one day, and 20/20 matches.
At birthdays we, ironically, drink to people’s health. 18th birthday parties are the real initiations to alcohol as one is finally legally allowed to get stone-drunk and stupid.
We drink and drink before we think. Good news is celebrated with booze, while bad news is drowned in it. Fallen in love? Let’s have a drink! Broken heart? Drown your sorrows! Bought a house? Cheers! Got new baby? Prosit! New Year. All the best, mate! Drinks for everyone!
Not serving alcohol at the opening of an art exhibition is considered mean, so free drinks are supplied, often to those who only come for the free drinks, and not to admire or to buy the art.
At parties or dinners we have ‘one for the road’ to make our departure more special, when the last thing we should want is another drink before driving home.
In courts defendants blame alcohol for their abusive and anti-social behaviour. Yep, sure, someone forced all that booze down their throat against their will, so that they would commit crimes, bash people up and glass them. After all they were only having a night out and a bit of fun.
A new Dutch immigrant to Australia mentioned to me the other day that she and her husband were amazed about how much Australians drink. ‘They don’t drink for fun’, she said, ‘they drink to get drunk.’
As a Dutchman myself I know the Dutch are not exactly averse to having a drink, but the booze bingeing mentality in an alarming number of Australians is a worry indeed. That attitude needs to be changed, but how?
I think my house just burnt down.I’d better have a drink to make me feel better. Cheers to stupidity!