John Barleycorn Must Die: A Light-Hearted Screed Against Drinking
It was a scene that everyone who’s every spent a weekend on a college campus is all too familiar with.
Three in the morning. Clomp, stumble, clomp, THUD.
“Do you need help?”
“Are you OK?”
Quickly dragging herself up from the floor, the girl insists she’s fine. She stumbles into the bathroom. She pukes for a few minutes. Hopefully, she finds someone who’s sober to take care of her. She falls asleep.
We’ve all been there, we’ve all put up with it. Tipsy Tuesdays. Wobbly Wednesdays. Freaky Fridays (coincidentally, what a crappy movie that was, eh?) Alcohol is an intrinsic part of the college experience.
We’ve been educated and lectured to death about the dangers but, wouldn’t you know, that doesn’t seem to work. Maybe we need to see one more VHS from the 80′s, have another group of 27-cum-18-year-old “kids” in garish pastel sweaters tell us what’s up. Or not.
Drinking sucks. Drinking is fun. Drinking will make you sick and hungover. Drinking will get you laid. All can be true.
Let me situate myself: I don’t drink. I probably won’t until I’m 21 and, even then, probably only socially. I choose not to drink not because it’s illegal or I’m religiously opposed or my uncle tragically drowned in a tub full of Four Loko. No, I choose not to drink because I abhor the culture that surrounds it, and, quite frankly, I think my time is better spent elsewhere.
I don’t harbor any illusions of grandeur: I’m not going to convince everyone to stop drinking. I’m also not going to go down to a frat house and randomly slap beers out of people’s hands (“What the ****, bro??”). The world has a lot of vices and problems, and drinking is probably somewhere between domestic donkey abuse and GPS theft on that lengthy list.
I simply think that “problem drinking” happens a lot on college campuses, and I’ve seen too many people adversely effected by it to stay silent. And, folks, I live on North Side. Five months here must be like two nights in Letts.
Let me present you with a few relevant scenes:
1. I get up to take a leak early in the morning. Open the stall door. There is peach-colored vomit on the floor, wall, toilet seat, and pretty much everywhere except the goddamn bowl. I roll my eyes and move one stall to the right.
2. Two roommates go out to a frat party together as best friends. They leave as mortal enemies.
3. I’m sitting out in the hallway, talking with some of my friends. It’s late. A whole horde of drunk people come back from parties. One girl pours herself another drink from god knows where, puts it in a cup, and asks me to take care of it as she bolts off to the bathroom. I sit there for about 30 minutes “guarding” this stupid drink, feeling like the biggest tool in the world. Another girl starts to puke in the trashcan down the hallway from me. Later on, I get blamed for “gloating” and watching this poor girl throw up.
I’m sure damn near everyone else on campus has got stories a hell of a lot worse than those. Sober people having to play wet-nurse to their drunk roommates for hours on end. Trips to the hospital, awkward phone-calls to parents. You get the picture. Hell, you probably took the picture and put in up on Facebook.
On that note, If I see another FB album named “Tell Mommy I’m Sorry, This Life Is A Party, I’m Never Growing Up” I’m going to punch someone in the face. Preferably a hipster.
My point is this: drinking is not worth it. For every awesome drunken score, for every great buzz, for every sick dance move, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It’s an unhealthy, illegal, and unnecessary social crutch. There are superior forms of social interaction, and I applaud the many who recognize this.
The other week, I was going down the stairs to TDR. I observed the following conversation between two girls:
“Hey, I had this great idea yesterday.”
“So, you know how we do Jello Shots, right? Why not just make a big bowl of Jello and then pour all the alcohol in that?”
After I stopped laughing, I realized just how sad it was.
Posted in Wingin' It