Sometimes you read a line in a book or hear a piece of dialogue in a movie or play that speaks to you. It hits your brain and then rattles around like a bullet, careening off memories, bouncing off preconceived notions, and generally making a mess of your thoughts. For me, the sources of these are varied. I’ve spent months, years even, pondering the magic behind words from movies that went straight to DVD and books that no one has ever heard of. They don’t resonate in my brain because the words are elegantly strung together. They resonate because they hit me where I live, wherever that is at the moment I hear them.
Last summer I read Gillian Flynn‘s “Gone Girl.” Two lines have stuck with me and continue to plague me on a regular basis. Protagonist Nick Dunne, bar owner and adult child of an alcoholic father says “There’s no app for a bourbon buzz on a warm day in a cool, dark bar. The world will always want a drink.”
In some ways, I feel like I’m one of the last generations to enjoy alcohol before societal pressure and Mothers Against Drunk Driving made the idea of demon rum reality. Home movies of my mother during her pregnancies show her drinking cocktails. When I was pregnant, it was suggested pregnant woman should minimize alcohol. Now a pregnant woman drinking alcohol faces public scorn and possible child abuse charges if the fetus-is-a-person-with-rights movement gets its way.
Driving drunk used to be against the law, but in small towns the cops would have you park your car and then drive you home rather than take you to jail and book you. Groups didn’t apear at bars with a designated or sober driver. Whoever was the least drunk at the end of the night took the keys.
Bars used to be serve people until they fell off their bar stools or passed out. Now they cut you off if you slur a word or stumble over someone’s foot. When’s the last time a bar had 2 for 1 specials? I remember bars where beers were 4 for a 1 and they’d put a case on ice on the table to keep the drinks flowing.
Giving babies brandy, wine, even whiskey for teething used to be an acceptable parental decision. As children aged, parent sponsored alcohol use included purchasing kegs for end of season football parties or graduation. The host parents made sure everyone hung around and slept it off. Now any drinking at a house party, whether the parent provides it knowingly or not, results in criminal charges against the parents.
And don’t get me wrong. I don’t bring up the past to make excuses for what used to be acceptable behavior. It’s just that was the way it was and it will never be that way again.
Are we better off now than we were then? Statistics and government agencies say we are. But if you’ve never spent a quiet afternoon in a dim bar where the television volume is low and the bartender asks if you want another drink with gestures rather than words, I think you’re missing something.
- Top Myths Related to Drinking and Driving (blinetrafficschools.com)
- One More Reason to Avoid Alcohol During Pregnancy. (bio230fall2010.wordpress.com)
- Laura’s Law Changes Take Effect December 1st (sacbee.com)
- Simulators bring drunk driving to life (dvidshub.net)
- Study: License Restrictions Reduce Teen Drinking and Driving (parkingsigns.net)
- Low alcohol consumption during pregnancy ‘could harm baby’ (moneyviews.com)
- New studies support evidence of brain damage from drinking during pregnancy (alcoholfreepregnancynj.org)