Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hard drinkin' 8th graders: how kids should handle booze

Let's see. What kills the most teenagers in that 15-19 age range? I'm going to guess HIV, since clearly most of them are hookers walking Castro Street.

All right, let's see if I was right. This popped up to tell me.

Damn! It's suicide. Of course, it doesn't really relate that back to the original subject of the ad, which is that kids drink. But I guess setting up a meaningless correlation between alcohol consumption and suicide in teens is perfectly honest, right?

I'm really getting tired of ads like this everywhere. And you know what the worst part is? These ads probably feed the problem. They're free advertising for alcohol companies. They're a constant reminder to every kid who sees one that there's this terrible, evil, forbidden fruit known as alcohol that has mind-altering effects.

Here's the proper way for kids to learn about alcohol: have mommy and daddy sit down with them when they're around age 13 and pour them a shot of Wild Turkey 101, preferably a little bit before dinner on an empty stomach. Tell little Bobby or Suzy to shoot it as fast as possible, so it all gets down before the gag reflex kicks in. Mention that burning sensation inside the stomach, and that creeping sensation to vomit. Within a few minutes, a pretty strong buzz ought to set in. This is known as "drunkenness" and it's accompanied by a marked reduction in cognitive ability and spacial reasoning. And that's just one shot, widely believed to be about an appropriate level of consumption in the course of a few days (depending who you ask).

Later on, or perhaps the next day, when little Bobby or Suzy has sufficiently sobered up (it really shouldn't take too long), it's time to explain what that crazy shit was. Wild Turkey is a high-proof booze, roughly 50% alcohol (2 proof = 1% alcohol). Different beverages have different proof ratings, ranging from low (beer) to moderate (wine and some spirits) to high (stronger spirits). Drink sizes are standardized in most of the world based on how much alcohol you take in per drink; for instance, if you ask for a shot of Whiskey, you're getting about the same amount of alcohol you would get from a glass of beer. Mention that most drinks don't need to be that strong, and that enjoying alcohol usually means having a drink that isn't so strong—a glass of wine, or a beer perhaps. Drinking doesn't need to be about getting drunk. You can, and should, enjoy alcohol without getting grossly intoxicated. Things like hangovers are no fun.*

Alcohol consumption should be a public affair. It provides a stigmatization against acting like a complete fucking moron. Ads with cute little kids somberly telling you they're heading down the path to alcoholism makes me want to drink.

* If you do drink too much...

If you do drink too much, try to have a vitamin supplement heavy on vitamin B mixed with lots of water before you go to bed. You should wake up feeling pretty good; a lot of the hangover is caused by a lack of vitamin B and dehydration. (Of course, while you're drinking, it's best to stagger your drinks with glasses of water anyway.)

Personally, I suggest 1-2 packets of Emergen-C mixed with at least 1 tall glass of water, preferably two. Click here for the supply on; you can also find it on and in most major drug stores. My favorite flavor is orange. Any vitamin supplement heavy with vitamin B should do the trick, but I'm not aware of anything that works as well as Emergen-C. I'd love a heads up if anyone can suggest one.

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