By Jon Weidman

Serious question.

I usually approach this column with some kind of semi-developed point of view I wish to communicate. The struggle comes in finding the right words to disseminate said point of view in a way that will entice you to read beyond the lead (if it isn’t buried). But the lead is above, in the title, and this is not a piece in which I’m going to struggle to express myself.

This isn’t even really a piece—it’s a serious question.

I suppose the struggle this time around is in conveying exactly what I mean. And if Mom is reading, to convince her that I’m not an inert alcoholic (read beyond the lead, Mom).

The issue I’m pointing to is purely a social one. There are of course a trillion things to do besides drink. For instance: read books, listen to Prince, play through the entire Ninja Turtles arcade game on Xbox, eat cereal at odd times, pick up random crap from the bedroom floor, people-watch on the rooftop, take a nap. But the few among these things can be imagined as social activities all lead—not only naturally, but near mandatorily—to the question: “Hey, you want a beer?”

Why is that? How has drinking latched onto every activity in which we’re not deliberately short of breath? It’s almost reflexive at this point. Isn’t that weird?

Or, fuck, is that not the case for everyone else? Do other people hang out in social PM situations without busting out the booze? Am I the inert alcoholic Mom’s been afraid I am since she started reading this “piece?”

Maybe I’m just uncreative. In which case, I implore you to make some suggestions. Tell me which sophisticated and tasteful and plain ol’ fun adult activities I’m missing out on.

If your answer is you can do all the things you typically do with friends while drinking sober then you’re either naïve or you’re Ted Nugent or you’re an asshole but not Ted Nugent.

Sorry, Mom. This wasn’t where I thought I would net out, but there is value in this.

When you’re extremely busy, even hanging out can be hard. And if you’re going to be hanging out somewhere outside your most native comfort zone and comfortable state (i.e. the zone and state in which you read books and eat cereal at weird times of day and pick up random crap from the bedroom floor: home and alone), it’s important to establish some sort of ambitious rapport, emotional congruity, shared goal. Something to turn the whole out-of-native-zone experience into one in which the sum is greater than the parts. And there’s no easier way to establish that common ground than by clinking glasses and poisoning ourselves in the exact same way.

If you disagree, the suggestion box is still open.


Featured image courtesy of Downboard

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