Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Justifiable Intoxication Pt.1

Something that never ceases to amaze me about the university life style is how people always, no matter how busy and stressed and ready to break down they may be, seem to find time for a beer. Maybe this is what the real world is like, I have absolutely no idea, but I love it. At the end of the day I can fully appreciate the need for something as simple, pure, and relaxing, as having a beer to unwind a little. But this got me thinking...
There are all kinds of tropes out there about beer, and more generally about alcohol, and obviously they have their basis in reality to varying degrees, so I figured I would explore a couple, and specifically my experience with them so far in my relatively short time on this planet.

Without Beer There is no Civilization

Now, this one obviously is very grounded in reality, with beer involving the boiling of water, and boiling being a way to purify water way back before we as humans understood that it was the boiling, not the beer itself, that made those drinking it less likely to fall ill. Obviously this translated into primitive civilizations who figured out how to make alcoholic beverages lasting longer and becoming more advanced over time.

That's great, and the history nerd in me loves to talk about that stuff, but that's not what I'm going to talk about here. I'm instead talking about civilization in the sense of civility.

In my experience, there are few ways to quickly and effectively repair a broken social bond, or forge a new one, than over a pint. I've made a lot of friends at the bar, and most of them extend well beyond being just drinking buddies. There's a few aspects that I believe play into this, but one that people often fail to mention is that no one cares if you say something stupid after a pint. Obviously this ties into the next entry, with alcohol serving as a social lubricant, but I think in some cases it's more than that. With the amount of pressure in meeting new people or attempting to mend a damaged relationship, it's sometimes easier to just get a little wobbly and forget about trying to be cool for a bit. 

You see, no one is cool when they've had a few, and no one expects you to be.

That and there seems to be an inexplicable value in buying someone a pint if you've angered them or done them wrong. 

If I spilled water all over you at a restaurant and then handed you $5 you'd likely still be pissed. But if I accidentally spilled water on you then offered to buy you a beer to set it right, you're likely going to get over it a lot faster. There's a certain social currency to beer.

Alcohol: Lubrication for the Soul

We've all heard this, alcohol is the social lubricant, it helps shy people out of their shell and it makes people much more likely to talk to strangers or the opposite sex without holding back or being too reserved. Now I'm sure there's some sort of sciencey explanation for this, something about limiting or otherwise affecting higher brain function, but logic and rationality aside, it just seems so much more fun to imagine alcohol as the cheat code for no friction, but on social and dating norms.

I've noticed that lately if I have a couple drinks I'm a lot more likely to dance, even though I know I'm a horrendous dancer. The fact is when I'm buzzed I'd much rather flail around and make myself and others laugh than try to look like a tough guy in the corner nodding along to the music with my arms crossed. This in turn makes you more approachable, as well as making you happier and making you want to dance more.

I take back what I said, it's not the no friction cheat code, it's the max bonus multiplier pickup, creating a feedback loop of good times and reckless abandon.

Alcohol Loosens Your Tongue

We all know the person who says too much, or lacks discretion when they've been drinking. Sometimes this is just a matter of forgetting something should be secret, or forgetting who they weren't supposed to tell the secret thing to. But other times, and this is, I suspect, the case with myself when I'm drunk and chatty, the drunk individual is just flying too far below Giving a Fuck that they don't even register on the radar.

I personally try to be as honest and forthcoming as possible at all times, even at times that it embarasses me. This one has been an issue for me though as I try to keep other people's business where it belongs, but I know once I've had a pint or seven I'm liable to just talk about whatever I want to whomever I want.

There are more that I want to talk about but it's getting late, I'll write more later.

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