Diatribe | Issue 16

Diatribe | Issue 16

I’m worried about you. It’s as if you don’t like yourself

I have some questions for students who take such an impassioned stance regarding their “right to drink”, especially on the public streets. Why is altering your consciousness with any intoxicant and being an unreal version of yourself such a desperate desire? Why is legal access to guzzling alcohol on the public streets so important to some people? Why is becoming intoxicated to the point of puking, having sex with strangers, passing out and clogging the Emergency room with your bad-decision injuries considered by some of you important enough to be “important”?

I used to drink and party. I get that being an idiot temporarily is part of learning how to be a grown up. I quit drinking altogether after years of tending bar in Chicago and Cleveland. After repeatedly witnessing perfectly nice people in their natural state become less intelligent, more violent, and in general, increasingly dickish within an hour, it became painfully obvious to me that alcohol is basically just people poison. A little won’t kill you, but the amount a lot of you are putting away is rapidly destroying your brain cells. How much stupider can you afford to be, after all? These are the questions people smart enough to get into university should be asking themselves.

By the way, drinking openly on the streets in public is not globally “normal”, statistically speaking. Wikipedia says “In New Zealand and Japan, public drinking and public intoxication are legal”. Wowee!! Singled out for greatness! However, getting tanked in public as an acceptable and normal way of life seems to be true only in tiny island nations. Australia? NOPE. Canada? No way, eh? Scotland? NAY. Spain? NO. England? Sure! Where they also have babies at 13! Only three cities in the USA; Memphis, New Orleans, and Las Vegas, allow open liquor containers on the public streets but only on certain streets - like the Las Vegas strip and the Jazz Quarter in New Orleans.

Over the years, students have chosen to drink openly on the streets, throw bottles, wander into traffic blind drunk, urinate on private property and in general cause extensive damage and mayhem more than they have chosen to privately drink responsibly. There are an embarrassing percentage of students who freely admit they come to Otago mostly because it is such a publicly notorious party school. Lame.

Hey- I’m no stranger to past partying; I used to ingest every mind- altering substance thrown my way. It took a team of Guardian Angels working ‘round the clock to keep me alive. Honestly? The whole time it felt like slumming, because I knew I was better than that, and I think you are too.
This article first appeared in Issue 16, 2012.
Posted 5:14pm Sunday 15th July 2012 by .