July 17, 2019 | 92° F

FINNERTY: Everyone drinks, but not everyone drinks responsibly

Opinions Column: Waxing Philosophical


Throughout my time here at the Rutgers, I consistently hear of drunken forays into less respectable states and memories that seem to evade an inquiry (yet the person is still able to brag about such endeavors). Drinking alcohol is, and has been, one of my favorite activities since I developed a taste for such a luxury. Therefore, who else but me would be qualified enough to discuss this brewing topic: How should one imbibe with class (not in class, mind you). I would like to take a jab at this most social of topics, and hopefully relay to my readers a new found respect for the grain and grape, from which one will hopefully learn to drink like a responsible adult.

The taboo against drinking is hypocritical in this society and must be examined. While large wet areas of the world usually promote an 18-year-old drinking age — even less in some places — our legal age supersedes the age to serve in the military. Immediately, some believe the mere mention of booze is an indicator that the speaker is somewhat of a glutton. This taboo has led to more idiots with hangovers than movies idealizing the effect. I will state this now, unambiguously: Drinking alcohol is not only an art, but a respectable one. There is nothing rebellious about having a scotch, or swilling a lager. One should not throw back the bottle because it is some generational outrage against authority, or because someone else is persuading them. No, drink because you want to enhance your surroundings and make conversation more interesting. Alcohol is a tool, albeit a dangerous one, but I will get to that.

Currently, as my steady fingers tap at the keys of my laptop like a bird searching for sustenance, I pause and time slows. I feel the amber vapor, radiating from the glass adjacent to my right hand. The Glencairn is the perfect vessel for my drink of choice, usually a 12-year-old scotch whisky, and it fits nicely in my receptive palm. I take a brief sip, along with a small whiff, and the glassware is placed gently on the desk. All of my perceptions are now halted and my thoughts become precise and logical, perhaps too logical. Anyway, the latter description is one of the many ways to drink with a purpose. What is my purpose? Perhaps it is to loosen my tongue, so to speak, and free my thoughts from the banality of daily events and focus on my writing.

Here are some guidelines for those who drink in public and among friends: First, plan your drinks and try to add a few glasses of water in between consecutive rounds. Many bars and parties will feature specials and drinks priced to move. Avoid these at all costs. Remember that a bar is not interested in what you are drinking, but in what cash you will be shelling out. Bars do not care how much you embarrass yourself in front of company. Purchase a drink that you enjoy, no matter the cost, and stick with it. An occasional variable is fine, but always keep a handle on your endeavors. Second, never get your date drunk or more intoxicated than yourself. Drinking has always been the great equalizer. Both kings and peasants drink the stuff, and the situation with your date should be no different. Drink for the moment, for the conversation. Never purchase drinks for another with the intent of taking advantage. Lastly, always remember that you are at the bar for a social gathering. There is no competition in drinking and consuming great quantities does not make you any better than any other imbiber. Enjoy your fine crafted beverage to compliment your company. Should you have ever “blacked-out” from drinking excessively, I advise you stop drinking until your maturity is past the age of my 12-year-old scotch whisky.

Ending this foray into the malted reality, I would also like to add the most important piece of advice: Do not drive! There is no drink worth your life, or that of another. Again, alcohol is nothing to play with and is for use by responsible adults interested in their situation, not forgetting it entirely. And please, do not be the pessimistic drinker. We all have ghosts in the bottoms of our glasses, but that does not warrant one to chase them. Therefore, no matter if you are of the drinking classes, or are soon to be, always drink with the intent of remaining socially fit and interesting, lest you desire to end up on YouTube spewing cheap beer like an intoxicated volcano.

Jonathan Finnerty is a School of Arts Sciences junior majoring in classics and philosophy. His column, "Waxing Philosophical," runs on alternate Fridays.

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Jonathan Finnerty

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