Thursday, 25 June 2009

How to lose friends without really trying -
Part One: Alcohol

If a drunk driver kills a child who runs out between two parked cars, nobody would question their guilt. Their drunkenness at the wheel would be a crime in itself. Their reactions would be impaired by their intoxication.

Somebody who thinks that it is a good idea to have a swim in the sea when they have had a few too many is not likely to have much sympathy from the lifeboat men who risk their lives to save them. If they drown, it may sound callous, but they will have been a victim of their own stupidity. As the late, great Bill Hicks said of the apocryphal person who, having taken LSD, jumped from the roof of a building thinking they could fly, what a dick! If they thought they could fly, why not take off from the ground.

Now, without wanting want to make this personal, if somebody's reasoning is affected because they have debilitated themselves with alcohol (or any other substance) and mishear what somebody says, then completely fly off the handle and launch into a personal attack, it would seem unreasonable to most level-headed people that the person who misheard might expect an apology from the speaker for saying something completely innocent.

If you looked a bit like somebody who had stolen my car and then I see you when I am drunk and beat you up, should you apologise to me for having some resemblance to the thief?

This is why I stopped drinking and avoid being around people who are drunk. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible to avoid situations where people are drinking beyond their capacity - some people cannot enjoy themselves without exceeding their limits. As a result, I am faced with the probability of losing a friend because another person expects me to apologise for saying something which they thought they heard. To atone would not only be dishonest but it would acquiesce to their drunken irrationality. Is it better to go to prison for something you haven't done or plead guilty to avoid a custodial sentence?

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