Puritanical Teetotalers and Social Drinkers

I have a complicated relationship with alcohol.

I’m over 21, which, in the United States, is the legal age for alcohol consumption (yet somehow, the government considers 18-year-olds, who are barely out of high school, mature enough to enlist in the armed forces. Go figure)

Nevertheless, I’m not a connoisseur of hard drinks. In fact, I could count on my fingers the number of times I’ve had a drink.

I’m just not a fan of that cringe-worthy, bitter aftertaste. The only type of drink I can tolerate is a glass of merlot, where the alcohol is diluted by the high sugar content.

However, I could never understand the two dominant attitudes concerning alcohol consumption competing in our society.

The first view decries alcohol as the devil’s drink. It’s no surprise that the majority of those espousing such an extremist opinion tend to be hyper-conservative churchgoers. According to that camp, alcohol is the root of numerous social evils and ideally, should be banned.

The second view holds drinking as a social imperative. Apparently, if you dare make an individual choice to decline an alcohol beverage, you’re as risk of being a debber-downer, repelling everyone around you.

What is it about alcohol that inspires such polarizing perspectives? I’ve always viewed alcoholic drinks as..well…drinks. A person is endowed with the individual choice to accept or decline a drink. We don’t hold the same attitudes for tea, coffee, or pop (soda). So why do we do so for alcoholic beverages?

Provided that a person is capable of drinking responsibly, he/s should be free to consume a glass of brandy without fearing the scorn of the few puritans lurking from the corner. If a person refuses a drink, for a range of personal reasons, he/s shouldn’t be questioned for his/her own choice.

Some people just have this inexplicable desire to impose their own values and beliefs on others. Apparently, that ambition expands to personal habits as well.

In the words of the theme song to that 80’s sitcom starring a wise-cracking Black midget (oh I’m sorry, I meant little person)

“Now, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum,
What might be right for you, may not be right for some. ”

(You know, say what you want about 80’s sitcoms, but they don’t write  catchy show tunes like that anymore!)

 

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