Thursday, 31 July 2008
For the Binge Alcoholic In Your Life - Gifts From Argos
If a loved one bought you any of these gifts (click on picture to enlarge for grim details), would you see it as an act of love? Or would you see it as a sign that they wanted you dead, soonest? Would you check to see if any of the family had bumped up your Life Assurance cover recently?
Would you ask for the receipt and take it back to exchange for something more life affirming? A Breville sandwich toaster for example...?
My brand new Autumn Argos catalogue happened to fall open at this edifying page, this damning endictment of modern Britain as a national disgrace, where youngsters spend hours preening themselves to look flawless for the big night out, but seemingly care nothing by the early hours for being found unconscious in the street in their own vomit, undies akimbo. Or who stumbles upon them in that state, be it friend or foe.
Drunkenness used to be a normal-ish rite of passage, a phase, circumscribed by the high cost of drink, the refusal of the pub or bar to serve 'one over the eight', the long arm of the law who still had the power to administer 'tut tuts' or 'thick ears' accordingly, and the young drinker's own sense of self-respect. Then there was the sophistication of being seen to sip your Cinzano rather than turning potential mates off by witnessing you crassly glugging pints and necking shots.
This all now seems to have been swept by the wayside so that despite all their material advantages over previous generations, today's hardest drinking generation displays a worrying degree of often-exhibitionist nihilism, a devil-may-care, so what if I die? attitude. Some indeed are attaining their inner death wish, foi gras-ing their livers with booze, and not seeing middle age.
More and more older people are also drinking to excess or never calming down from their Uni days. Retirees too seem to be opting to take up alcoholism (usually alongside boredom in the sun as ex-pats) and eschewing the golf, ballroom dancing, community work and allotment-keeping of yesteryear.
Is life really so awful that an alarming number of people seek escapism in these excesses? Is life becoming more awful because an alarming number of people are seeking escapism via excess rather than trying to make it better and doing that much-missed community work?
Does excess really = happiness?
Or just numbing, dumbing down?
Funny how a page in a catalogue can lead to a whole train of thought. But lest anyone mistake me for a born again Temperance evangelist, I would just like to make it clear that shocked though I am at Argos promoting binge drinking, I am not against social drinking, only anti-social drinking. And if excessive drinking only killed the a***holes of this world, I'd personally bulk buy these aids-to-suicide for them, but fact is a lot of good people are being sucked into this toxic world and lost to it too, no matter that there has never been more psychological and other help available to them to help them face up to whatever demons are driving them to drink destructively.
I remember being a mess and unhappy with myself in earlier years, but never self-loathing. Where does self-loathing come from (if a person's not actually Hitler), and how do we as a society address this scourge (apart from trying not to indulge in behaviours that can only make self-loathing worse and offer no sense of achievement)?
Here endeth my lesson for Thursday...