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Are we drinking ourselves to death ? August 15, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.

I feel I have to rant a bit. I like pubs. However I don’t count myself among the number of our population whose sole purpose in life is thronging the hostelries of Ireland every Thursday thru’ Sunday night, drinking till I can’t anymore, stopping for an overpriced kebab on the way home, only to see it again the next day. The author is very annoyed at his 50 something next door neighbour’s performance in his front garden at 4am on Sunday morning. “Open the f*ucking door woman or I’ll break it down !” was about the best of it. A lovely fella normally – gives me plenty of DIY tips and lends me tools etc. Demon for the drink, obviously.

Stepping over the puke stains on my way to work this morning, it got me thinking. Is getting arseholed worth it ? Before I get labelled a dry-shite (has been known to happen), I must inform readers that my days of heavy drinking and constant thigh-slapping bouts of alcohol fuelled merriment are behind me. I’m getting on a bit (well not really) and my late night debaucherious habits have similarly begun to slow down.

Think of the scenarios. Think of feeling “hungover as a dog” and then choose your favourite.

(A) You go out for a meal and a few drinks with some mates. You have a couple of pints after your food. You move on to the corner of your favourite pub and get a seat. You spend the next number of hours happily chatting away and getting steadily merrier. You can hear what your mates are talking about and have an all round good time. You leave at a reasonable hour so as to have some chance of doing something useful the next day and are in bed by (guessing here) 2am ?

(B) You go out after work with some mates. You have a pint every twenty minutes or so up until about 7pm when it starts to effect you. You think about getting something to eat but decide against it as you’re already drinking and there’d be no good in it. You move on to the next nearest, busiest pub and after queuing for twenty minutes, manage to find a standing room only spot next to the men’s toilet. People are constantly bumping against you and you can’t hear your own voice, never mind anyone elses. You buy pints 2 at a time at the bar to save having to queue up again. Later, you remember following some possible conquests into a nightclub niteclub. You pay €10 to get in, €3 to leave your coat in the hall, drinks cost over a fiver each and you have nowhere to sit. Later, someone taps you on the shoulder, yells something about not having a home to go to and turfs you out onto the street. Struggling for your bearings and now bereft of your companions, you stumble into the nearest chipper and pay €7.80 for gammy chips and a greasy burger. Dropping half your “food” on the pavement, you start the inevitably futile hunt for a taxi to bring you home. You blag a can of something vaguely familiar from a bunch of very young looking lads on the street corner and remember remarking to yourself that you’re a bit f*cked. You wake at 3pm the next day, unaware of how you got home, having slept in puke stained clothes. Must’ve been a great night because you can’t remember a thing ! It seems to me that I must be in the monority ‘cos I don’t do this … and that there is an overwhleming tolerance to our drink issue …

My questions to you : Am I exaggerating ? Do a huge number of people, young, old and indifferent regularly go down route (B) ? Is someone not properly “enjoying themselves” if they choose (A) ? Is something not wrong about (B) if you do it constantly ?
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1. donal - August 17, 2006

In a word, to answer your title question, yes.

I’m more of an A person though. I’m half-deaf at the best of times so to go into a pub/club with thumping music is not my idea of a good night out. Two things stop me going on the tear too often.
1. The fact that it’s a waste of money. No need to invest in a beer belly, it doesn’t give a good return.
2. The waste of time the following day where you get up late and spend a few hours nursing a hangover. Eventually you go to bed again and the day has just slipped by.

But, moaning isn’t going to stop our binge drinking. It’s so ingrained in our society that it would take a generation of education before it could calm down.

Sure, it was bad to see lots of pubs closing after the smoking ban came in a few years back but maybe we had too many pubs keeping our nation of alcohol-guzzlers in a constant state of merriment in the first place. There was an interesting article in the health supplement of the Irish Times a month or so ago which I’ll dig out but the crux of the argument is that we don’t drink to enjoy ourselves anymore, the drink is an end in itself.

2. cp - August 17, 2006

donal – you’re right. if we drunk to enjoy ourselves we could easily switch to coke or orange or something in the pub – its so the norm now that to use a phrase, “the pope’s children” have grown up with it as complete normality … its abnormal not to over drink … you can’t easily change something that people think is OK

3. Dave Munger - August 22, 2006

I’ve read somewhere about the economic losses due to hangovers. Apparently they run in to the billions of dollars. I’m basically an A person, but typically the drinking I do involves drinking wine at home with my wife.

4. A non offensive joke « The Rambling Man - May 28, 2007

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