Driven to drink by Dry July
The simple act of having a quiet beer with friends, or even a slightly loud one, has now become a fraught operation.
Not that long ago you could ring a mate with confidence and suggest a relaxed catch-up in a licensed setting. Now you have to check the calendar to make sure it isn’t Dry July or Febfast or Ocsober or Just Say No-vember, and that your once-entertaining companion hasn’t signed on for a month of sobriety to raise money for kiddies who are suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome.
As the kiddies themselves might say, bollocks to that.
Giving money to charity is a noble and valuable pursuit, especially when it involves sick children, and this certainly isn’t an attempt to besmirch the commendable intent of initiatives such as Dry July in raising funds for oncology wards at our major public hospitals.
As penance for writing this article I’ve donated $50 to Dry July and suggest that you do the same by following this link to the donation page at www.dryjuly.com
But it is getting to the point where it’s no longer enough to give money to charity, you have to grow a moustache, shave your bum, come to work in your pyjamas and stop drinking as part of the bargain.
Aside from perpetuating the dangerous myth that you don’t need alcohol to have a good time – a sentence which has been inserted here to irritate humourless health professionals – these months of sobriety wreak havoc on the most basic and long-standing form of human interaction.
The non-participants are left to feel somehow inadequate and heartless by sitting there chugging away on lager as charities cry out for more funds. It’s as if every sip of beer is a middle finger lifted at the sick and the impoverished, regardless of whether you’ve written a cheque in the past year for the Red Cross, Daffodil Day or the National Foundation for Kids Who Shout “Arse”.
On the social level these dry months also legitimise and encourage the act of “going out for coffee” which as most self-respecting people know is something you should only ever really do with your mum or a partner in a troubled relationship.
A dear old friend I caught up with on Tuesday night explained that we would have to go somewhere that served tea – not tea as in veal parmigiana but tea as in that warm watery stuff that is served in a china cup. We may never see each other again.
In an interesting social indicator, a small Facebook group called Wet July has now been formed encouraging people to pledge to drink alcohol every night for an entire month to raise money for the charity of their choice. Its members log on each night to discuss what they’re drinking and how smashed they are.
It doesn’t really abide by the maxim of all things in moderation but then again neither does Dry July.
Wet July might have just 57 members but like the Early Christians their message can only grow from here.
Oh and for the cynics among you:
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