Sunday, 27 January 2013

Smart Enough To Think Another Way?

I deal with drunk people all the time. All the time. It is one of the most wearing aspects of what I do, and you are paying for it. Through your taxes, I mean. Because trust me, the amount of time and money the emergency services waste dealing with the actions of drunk people far outweighs any other operational expense. Whether it is a drink filled domestic incident, a public order offence out on the streets, or a road traffic incident caused by excess alcohol, trust me when I say that if people could manage their alcohol intake, the lives of a lot of people would be so much easier. When I left school, and perhaps into my early 20’s I bought into the drink culture. I was out Friday and Saturday night and I often got rolling drunk. Fortunately, alcohol only made me more laid back than I am already, but even so I made some insane errors of judgement. I recall climbing 70ft floodlights, smoking various substances, and even walking from Buckingham to Padbury naked for reasons that I cannot recall. I know, mostly harmless, but I’d do none of the above sober. And how many people have done similar and not gotten away with it? How many young males have fallen from roofs, or overdosed, or tried to cheat the laws of physics and drive a vehicle through a solid object? What I’m trying to say is that if we could just reign it in a bit, if we could just stay the right side of the line we would all be the better for it. I’m no killjoy, and a drink with friends is one of life’s pleasures, but as a culture we seem uniquely able to forego clear thinking when it comes to the grog. And the thing is, whilst age is often a factor I also have a lot of dealings with folk who frankly should know better. And then there’s the other side of the coin, the countless victims on the rough end of our national idiocy. How many taxi drivers have had drunken fares do a runner, or vomit in the cab, or been threatened with violence? How many females have been the recipient of unwanted advances from men on the pull? How many cars have been keyed, or wing mirrors knocked off, the list is pretty much only constrained by your imagination. And the thing is the fix is so simple, so obvious, and so achievable. Drink less, know your limit, and perhaps change your definition of a good night out. The last amongst that list is the hardest; we’re a culture obsessed with getting drunk, and I honestly don’t know what it would take to change this. Higher alcohol prices? Education at a younger age? Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is that time could be saved, public money could be saved, and lives could be saved if we could just learn to think another way.

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