October 23, 1987
Drinking: are you able to handle it?
by J.M. Pinto
To drink or not to drink, that is the question. Sophistication is one of the marks of maturity. And whatis more sophisticated than sipping some type of alcoholic beverage while looking into a good-looking member of the opposite sex's eyes? You've seen the commercials, the movies (shaken, not stirred sounds devastatingly debonair), the television shows. Adults who drink are cool. They are mature. They are urbane. They have fun. This is what we want to be. All of us want to be adults. So we drink.
The reasons why we drink are lousy. We drink to forget. We drink to be in. We drink because we think it makes us look mature. We drink to get drunk. We drink just because. We drink just to defy someone -- our parents, authority (by the way, the consumption and possession of alcohol by minors is ILLEGAL), whomever. We drink because everybody else does. None of these reasons is valid.
To be an adult, we must drink like adult, not like crazed junkies out for an alcoholic fix every weekend. If you must drink (and you don't have to) drink modestly. Drink slowly. Drink at social occasions; don't make drinking the social occasion. You can be cool when you drink, but it is how you drink that makes you cool, not simply the fact that you do. It should be done calmly, maturely, and above all casually -- sort of "Oh, and by the way I tasted a great '84 French Chardonnay which was rich in varietal character, well rounded, and had a full lingerisng finishe," not "Hey, everyone, look at me, I just drank four kegs of Cheapo-Brewski. Burp!" Drink to be merry, but don't let the alcohol be the source of your merriment. Drink because you really want to, not because Bjorn says it feels good or Coco says it's cool. Don't drink to drink, drink to socialize, to enjoy the party, to imitate adulthood. If you can't think of a good reason to drink, you don't have to, so don't!
The mark of a mature person is not how many pints of vodka he can drink before passing out (which is just a ston's throw away from death) or what kind of grade he can score while hungover. It is the ability to act responsibly and maturely. Whether it is drinking alcohol, driving (enough has been said about mixing alcohol and driving), voting in an election, choosing his own classes, or just balancing his bankbook, responsibility is the true mark of the mature person -- the person we all aspire to be.