Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sober Reflections on Getting Wasted (Notes from a Car by the Ocean #2)

Wasn’t lookin’ too good but I was feelin’ real well...
Keith Richards

My earliest introduction to the whole Eastern philosophy thing came from friends who were mostly into attaining higher consciousness by other means....generally speaking, the emphasis tended to be on escaping from a world we never made...which, I’ve since learned, is the opposite of what yoga is about, ideally...though some would disagree on that....hell, even if escape might, ultimately, be impossible, it still sometimes seems a lot easier than being here without reservations...and that, it appears, is where drugs and religion tend to meet...with one, of course, far more destructive than the other...though I won’t say which one that is....

I inhaled frequently. That was the point.
Barack Obama

....in The Bacchae by Euripides, Pentheus, king of Thebes, decides the people of his city need to be more rational and sober...no more honoring Dionysus with drunkenness and revelry....to make a long story short, Pentheus’ head ends up on a stick carried by his mother as she leads a group of revelers marching into Thebes....nowadays in America, everybody agrees we’ve got a problem with drinking and driving, though, despite melting ice caps and 45,000 traffic fatalities a year, the main focus always seems to be on the drinking rather than the driving...with the perennial solution being, as with most problems, putting more people in prison...which, when a drunk with a suspended license slams into a school bus, is kinda hard to argue with....nonetheless, living in a place where the last train leaves two or three hours before the bars close, I can’t help wondering what might happen if we let just a little bit of the seemingly limitless supply of funding for new prison construction go toward providing alternative means of getting home from the bars....

...until that happens, if you’re going out for New Years’ Eve, take your toothbrush....

14 comments:

melissa said...

Nice. And you're right. About the escape.

Lydia said...

Good point about the need for alternative transportation from bars. A question my husband ponders, in a Richard Wright-kind-of-way:

If people shouldn't drive after drinking why are bars built with parking lots?

Me-Me King said...

Someone once said, "I wake up every morning and check Google to see if Keith Richards is still alive. If he is, then I'm not living up to my full lifestyle potential."

Happy New Year!

Aggie said...

I gave up getting wasted a long time ago. I got sick of missing half my life and suffering from hang-overs the rest of the time. I now wonder why I bothered in the first place. Lol!
Have a great New Year's Eve ... you can have a good time without alcohol... believe it or not!

human being said...

wow... didn't know about poor Pentheus... thought just i'm the only person who prefers soberity in any case...
:)
i've even banned medical drugs!!!
once a friend had a quarrel with me just because i'd pefer to endure my pain and not to use any pain-killers or tranquilizers... i'd told him: i prefer to suffer and be conscious... i want to see what this pain is going to bring for me... what i can gain from this pain...
and he was mad at me...

i really enjoyed reading this... full of deep wisdom, as always... not of this kind of superficial wisdom fake intellectuals show these days...
and i really laughed heartily when you said you wouldn't tell which one is more destructive: religion or drugs...
it reminded me of Carl Marx...
:)
after the revolution in Iran, for some years addicts were put in jail... then we had more and more addicts each year... today, it's just a disaster...

Brunhilda said...

I went to a Catholic college. I was a part of this program sponsored by BACCHUS where we would take the school vans and shuttle the drunks back and forth from school dances. Not too fun driving a bunch of loud drunken prone to puking folks around, but I thought he greater good prevailed. The nuns decided to cancel it as the felt it promoted drunken revelry. I never got that. They were still going to drink, at least we kept them from getting behind the wheel! Ah, religion.

earthtoholly said...

I like the Obama quote...hadn't heard it but it's what I'd expect him to say...the truth.

Wishing you a very happy New Year, drjay. I've thoroughly enjoyed your writing. The earth-to-holly persona is not unfounded, mind you, but I love philosophical stuff and your writing makes me think, or at the very least, brings 60s rock and "entertainment" to mind---and that's a good thing! Happy New Year!

Graycard said...

Bobbi T says hi

Lea said...

I don't go out on new years eve. I guess I've outgrown the need to drink alcohol in order to fit in when socializing. I was a cheap drinker anyways, two drinks were all I could handle. Didn't like the feeling of intoxication and never understood why people would deliberately aim for that.

Have a happy new year and there is an award waiting for you. Congratulations and have a wonderful day!

svasti said...

Australia often gets accused of being a backwater. But, in the major capital cities at least, we have late night transport. Night Rider buses, trains and trams. Til well after midnight, and all the time.

More - on key occaisions like Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and NYE, public transport is often free. As a country we try hard to discourage drink driving.

I don't know if its drugs or religion that are so destructive - more that people, in the way they deal with these things are destructive... After all, both are past times of man.

Tim Mulligan said...

I agree! The car culture really limits our freedom. It is strange that driving is so much part of the culture and so is alcohol. Something has to give. We need to be given a choice other than driving. I like your thinking on this problem. Of course, punishment never works.

the walking man said...

For a cynic it seems that there is in your conclusion a practical way to prevent some of those 45,000 deaths and drunk driving Dr.

Be well as the future unfolds.

RBV said...

When I moved from NYC to LA, I was scared to go out because I had to drive everywhere. Then, one of my new friends told me, "Oh, you haven't learned how to drink and drive yet...you'll pick it up soon." I agree with you, what does the government expect to happen when there are few alternative means. I think that they don't put more money into public transportation because they like having the income from all of the fines.

Gypsy at Heart said...

I couldn't agree more. I'm also completely for drinking sensibly. Hard drinking has been over glamorized as an "adult" pastime and hence all the young ones view it as a benchmark of independence (nothing could be further from the truth of course). Also, people drink with the sole purpose of falling into a stupor. There is no enjoyment of the actual beverage, rather it is a means to an end - loosing consciousness. I still cannot figure out why that.

On another note, where are you? It is the 11th and I'm beginning to worry. You are always so prolific and now this silence. In any case, I just wanted to say that I miss your sage and interesting words.

Milena