“Last week, I had my Union card confiscated for filling an armchair with vomit”
Alcohol’s great. It’s humanity’s favourite way of smashing awkward reality into a blaring prismatic mush, and it comes without the irritating downsides we see in ‘love’ and ‘suicide’, to name but two. There’s the occasional problem afterwards, but who cares? Alcohol makes us forget problems, and that’s what it’s for.
This term, I’m playing a game with a friend: we compete to drink the most units by the end of term, and the loser buys the winner a pint. We’re competitive: we hit 150 in two weeks. I could cause myself serious harm – but then, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. This argument apparently validates all self-destructive lifestyles we’ve so far found, and who’s more likely to get run over than an alky? I’ll choke down asbestos cigarettes and juggle leprous babies with my teeth; I don’t have to care. Buses cure all.
On this issue I’m met with a measure of disagreement – notably from Her Majesty’s government. The ‘Know Your Limits’ website is their unintentionally comic attempt at scamming The Internet Generation, who apparently love nothing more than scouring ‘the web’ for public service ads. The argument: drink and die. There’s a page of ‘testimonials,’ where various stock photos tell us of a time when they sipped up half a glass of shandy, only for their face to melt and their limbs collapse into sand. This might persuade – but only if someone told the models that when you’re posing next to a story of your living nightmare, it’s best not to smile. As it stands, one woman looks halfway to orgasm, but one where she’s screaming not ‘yes,’ but rather ‘I shattered my teeth on the pavement, and woke up bleeding and naked in a doorway.’ Mixing cheeriness with a serious message doesn’t work, which explains why Joe Pasquale got passed over for Schindler’s List.
The site rockets to new lows with the ‘Night Out’ game – an interactive Flash experience for the pessimist in all of us. It begins in a bar, the aim being to get home using only the wisdom of your own drunken choices. For a woman, there’s six endings; in three of them, you get raped. In the fourth, you’re mugged. In the fifth, your friend gets killed, and you’re left critically injured in a road accident. Once, I had a go at drinking nothing, leaving straight away, and going home in a licensed cab. This pleased the game; it congratulated me on a ‘great night.’ Great night? I’ve gone to a pub to do nothing and talk to no-one, spending all my cash on a taxi to complete my aimless round trip. Think: this is how they want us to live. People have been sectioned for less.
I know when alcohol’s bad. Last week, I had my Union card confiscated for filling an armchair with vomit. But if anything will make me stop, it won’t be threats of rape from government agencies. I’ll decide myself; that, or a bus will make it easy. Cheers.