Amateur night on the town

Mark Steel proposes:

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve so it’s going to be FUN. Because this is when you’re not only allowed but encouraged to get drunk ….

…. New Year’s Eve is like those boards that local authorities put up for kids to graffiti on, or the chants that baseball fans are directed to sing by stadium announcers. By making these acts official the fun is ruined ….

…. [Y]ou’ve a better chance of having a brilliant time at Christmas and New Year if you ignore the fact it’s Christmas and New Year. Or join a religion that insists the Christians are three days out, then get absolutely smashed on January 4th.

There are a couple of other holidays like this; there is plenty of drinking and revelry on the Fourth of July in the United States, and wasn’t St. Patrick’s Day, 2008, moved to the ides of March to avoid everyone getting drunk on Sunday and being hung over on Monday?

I once asked a friend of mine if he had any plans on St. Patrick’s Day, and he said, “No, not really. Too many amateurs out tonight.”

He has a point.

Really, who else drinks green, flavorless beer in large quantities? Who are these people you never see at clubs and bars, stumbling and braying obliviously through the night, knocking over tables and falling out into traffic while laughing wildly at how zany they are?

To this day, I’ll never figure out how a friend of mine, a proper drinker, once got herself out of a possible DUI charge. She turned the wrong way down a one-way street, and when flagged by the police turned into the exit of a parking garage. We joked that it had something to do with her outsized upper-body endowment, as such, and it’s really hard to figure what else compelled the officer to allow this dangerously drunk person back onto the road. Or drive away after she backed out of the garage and continued the wrong way down the street.

For the record, she made it home safe. And, yes, for the record, she was mightily embarrassed by the whole thing.

Still, though, it wasn’t a New Year’s Day, or St. Patrick’s, or the Fourth of July. It wasn’t the Memorial Day Weekend or Thanksgiving or Christmas. In other words, it wasn’t one of those periods of customary increased DUI patrolling.

Not sure whether that makes a difference in the long run for her story, but I’m guessing if it was Amateur Night at the bars, the police would not have been so … um … understanding, as such, about her condition.

There will be a lot more drunks on the road over the next couple days, and a vastly higher proportion of them will be the amateurs. In other words, they won’t be the people you see late on any given Friday or Saturday night who are barely holding it together as they make their way home.

So watch out for the amateurs, folks. It’s tough enough dealing with the professional drunk drivers.

In other words, do what you do, but get home safe.

And that applies to things other than driving. Like bar fights.

Just remember that they are occasional drinkers celebrating one of their few quasi-sanctioned benders. They need your sympathy and aid, not your fist in their face.

Take care. Be safe and well. Happy New Year. See you in 2010.

(Go Tree! Go Ducks!)

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