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Black Wednesday

Ah, Black Wednesday. I've been black on this Wednesday before there was Black Wednesday. I remember speculating with friends back in the 1980s that it might be the biggest bar night of the year. It was like, nobody had become fully cognizant that this evening had become huuuuuuuuuge. Everyone was into it, but nobody realized it was "a thing."

No more. A Google search reveals scores of "Black Wednesday" specials, with an occasional musing (like this one) about what makes Black Wednesday so special. The four-day weekend yawning in front of most of us? College kids home for the first time since leaving for school? The realization that, even if you wanted to work tomorrow, family pressures are going to force you to stay home . . . so you might as well prepare yourself for the couch? The inconvenient truth that the Thanksgiving holiday itself might be a bit of a letdown, so you might as well light it up tonight?

All the above, I think. At least in my case.

I don't want to rain on anyone's Black Wednesday, but be sure to tip your bartender or waitress. As my make-believe friends at Modern Drunkard Magazine say, if you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to drink at a bar. Just stay home and have a good time. There's nothing wrong with that and, in fact, Pabst has made it easier for you and three friends to have a hankering good time: PBR Is Selling A 99-Can Case. It's $175 and available in these states: Texas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Florida, New York, South Carolina, Montana, Vermont, California, Wisconsin, Iowa, Arkansas, or Colorado. You can find a picture of the case here.

Also, if you're going to imbibe tonight, find a designated driver. Or Uber. This article in The Economist points out that, among its other virtues, Uber has allowed people to go out and have a good time:

Uber has made it far easier for party-goers to get home safely. One study published in 2017 found that after Uber's arrival in Portland, Oregon, alcohol-related car crashes declined by 62%. But at the same time, the spread of ride-hailing apps may have tempted people to drink to excess, knowing that they won't be at the wheel. A new study by three economists–Jacob Burgdorf and Conor Lennon of the University of Louisville, and Keith Teltser of Georgia State University–finds that the widespread availability of ride-sharing apps has indeed made it easier for the late-night crowd to binge.

But of course, instead of encouraging the free market to come up with solutions to a significant problem like drunk driving, the government would rather just shut down the significant joy: drinking. This government website calls for a boycott because: "According to NHTSA, from 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, making it one of the deadliest holidays on our roadways."

Break that down: 800 people . . . over the "Thanksgiving holiday period" . . . over five years? If you assume that "period" only encompasses Wednesday-Sunday (though, given the tricks played with definitions in statistics, I wouldn't be surprised if it's Tuesday-Monday), we're talking 32 fatalities per night on average. I admit that 32 is 32 too many, but that's hardly a public health crisis. In fact, the NHTSA says that, in 2017, there were 10,874 people killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Which equates to 30 a day on average.

But regardless: 30 or 32. It's too many. Don't give bar drinking a bad name. Text Uber . . . or pay a sober teenager $10 to taxi you around.

Have a great Black Wednesday.