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State of the Booze Nation Upon Emerging from the Lockdown

I assume folks noticed my blog was attacked by a thing called a “PHP change.” It changed every apostrophe and quote mark into a series of four symbols . . . everywhere. The site has been a trainwreck. I.T. Max is working on it, but there’s only so much he can do.

For consolation, I wanted to turn to a bottle of gin, but I don’t believe in alcohol when dealing with problems, and I’ve been dealing with an assortment of pretty serious problems and setbacks on every front, so much so that the blog debacle has barely registered on my emotional radar this week. On top of that, I have an ever-escalating time crunch that makes my previous time crunches seem tame by memory comparison and have me convinced that I simply have no perspective.

Heck, maybe I do need that bottle of gin. GKC said never drink because you feel ill or you’ll be like the grey-faced gin drinker in the gutter, but on the other hand, a moderate amount of alcohol brings a degree of perspective. I’ve written about this phenomenon many times, but it basically boils down to our self-centeredness. Alcohol shrinks self-regard and the worries that come with it (probably because it shrinks the prefrontal cortex). As self-regard shrinks, that thing that distorts our perception more than anything else in the word—the ego—shrinks. The result: better perspective.

So that bottle of gin is tempting, but the bottom line is, I can’t risk a hangover tomorrow (I’m writing this Thursday evening).

In lieu, I’m flipping through the most recent issue of MDM and pretending that I’m drinking.

And reading some hilarious things.

It’s the special “Locked Down & Loaded” issue, in which the editors take apart drinking in the COVID and post-COVID age. They lead off with “8 Hard Truths the Pandemic Taught Us About Boozing.”

I won’t list all of them, but the number 1 lesson is, “When everything goes to hell, humanity reaches for a drink.” The experts, MDM notes, expected drinking to go down as they shuttered the bars and clubs (and, occasionally, liquor stores). But it didn’t. It skyrocketed, like fireworks in July 4th. A Rand poll found that 75% of people were drinking more during the pandemic than before.

A few other nuggets from the article:

Drinking habits shifted during the pandemic, in some ways troubling. White Claw is now outselling regular Budweiser. Seltzer sales in general shot up 224%. It’s troubling enough to cause Frank Kelly Rich to wonder whether “Satan’s long-term project of infantilizing the populace has finally come to fruition.”

The article also points out that most states loosened up their ridiculous post-Prohibition drinking laws. I’ve long railed against liquor laws that, paradoxically, encourage drinking instead of reducing it. The states did it to help the economy, but now, 32 states are keeping the looser laws. Why?

[A]ll the terrible things that were supposed to happen when we got our hands on a little drinking freedom didn’t happen. Society didn’t devolve into something resembling The Purge because an adult was allowed to walk out of a restaurant with a Margarita in his hand. The lockdown gave us a chance to prove how essentially responsible we boozers are and we came through with flying colors, to the point that bureaucrats are now having a hard time explaining why they want to take those rights back.
Of course, some politicians are moving in the exact opposite direction. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, for instance, wants to make a 10pm curfew on liquor sales permanent, because it’s a “safety issue.” Billy Sunday couldn’t shut Chicago down, as Frank Sinatra noted, but it looks as if Lightfoot is going to take a crack at it.