Petition for a Variance in the term “Alcoholism”

Have you ever imbibed with either a non-transplanted Brit or Scot?

The perception that both groups of well-known consumers of both the pint and drachm possess (as per my conversations over said drinks with both nationalities) concerning the American definition of alcohol consumption is one where we consider ourselves irresponsible if we drink anything over a cocktail an hour, with that cocktail always being some fruity “-tini” version of a real measure of alcohol, not a more masculine measure of a shot and beer chaser. The gist of the opinion that I garnered was that we, the Great American Experiment… are afraid of booze and the associated social activities that surround it.

I know that I am only discussing two of the most libatious groups that I associate with and that there are others out there that are known to get just as deep in their  cups (I am staring directly down the eye sights of the last bottle of Kalashnikov vodka that I picked up, Mr. Russian Guy), but there are none out there that I know as well as the two that were previously mentioned, and none with as chipper an attitude towards pub time as they. Keeping up with them has been a challenge that I have readily accepted since being on the other side of the pond, and yes there has been some times that I have stumbled, but for the most part all is well the morning following a session with these two rowdy groups with myself looking forward to the next evening. Work still gets accomplished, sometimes with a soft head of course, but as with anything you just adapt and move forward and don’t let something as insignificant. I have had some of the LARGEST times getting on the piss with my friends and not once was there any violence, chest beating or melancholic admissions of pain or guilt.

-Just good times if you ask me.

Problem is I do have time off from the international scene, and that time for the past few years has been spent primarily in the States. I have been known to go out to a local pub with my friends from time to time and have a real piss up, but any that are not familiar with my drinking habits have this unknown desire to assume the mantle of the guy that drank Old Iron under the table and attack said goal with initial gusto. I have seen it time and time again, and my Stateside friends have learned better and usually attempt to warn off the unwitting victim… but more often than not we end up having to pour the moron into a cab with written instructions concerning his place of residence either written on a piece of paper pinned to his chest, or (and my personal favorite) written in marker on his slacked and drooling face.

Hey, no matter how old you are a sharpie and alcohol ALWAYS turns out funny.

-Then we get to the family. I had a sit down with the Matron (over a whiskey and water, two cubes of ice of course) and was asking why she no longer thought to warn me about the dangers of the amount that I consume; why she was so silent on a topic that has been a concern of hers … for “historical” reasons. The answer she gave me was that it seemed that my time overseas had of course increased the amounts that I consume, but that she had never seen someone, even most of the other adults that she knows… be so mature about it. She wasn’t worried about me anymore because she saw that even though I use it to lubricate certain events and assist in the ease of conversation at times she just never has seen me ABUSE it, just consume copious amounts that would pickle a moose.

Hey, we all have our thresholds.

So in closing, I am petitioning the American concept and definition of alcoholism for a variance. As I have been exposed to the consumption routines and habits of multiple cultures and have found a pleasant level that I can be at and not be a complete slobbering idiot of a drunk I would greatly appreciate if said variance could be approved that would allow me to drink at the levels that I can tolerate without becoming some social pariah for having an individual bar tab of a c-note. My family are fine with it; my American friends view it with a certain level of awe… so why not?

Come on. Be cool.

I’ll buy the first round if you do…

UPDATE: Never mind. Seems that even doctors can’t come up with a solid definition of alcoholism.

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About Old Iron
I'm just a guy that works overseas alot and likes to play just as hard as I work. Been to a FEW countries, know a shitload of people all over, and generally have a good time wherever I go. -Oh, and I am currently in between girlfriends, and strangely enough and perfectly happy with that status. In the long run hookers are cheaper. Take my word on that.

5 Responses to Petition for a Variance in the term “Alcoholism”

  1. Buck says:

    Heh. A couple o’ few things…

    First: I’m a lightweight by definition, literally, in that I’ve never tipped the scales at more than 150 lbs. So… alcohol intake and my ability to absorb and metabolize it puts me at a distinct disadvantage with normal-sized males. There’s that. And “pacing” seems to solve that problem, unless your drinking buds are counting. But I used to hold my own. Not so much anymore, now that I’m “of a certain age.”

    Second: Brits and Scots ARE known boozers and I’ve spent MANY a night down at The Local raising pints in their company. But Australians, Russians, and even (seriously) the Nihonjin can give ’em a run for their money… and MOST especially the Australians. If I had to generalize I’d place the Aussies first, the Russians second, and the Brits (to include the Scots) third. We Americans don’t even budge the drunk-o-meter. This, of course, is based on my limited personal experience. But finally… let me add: upon my return from a couple of extended bid’niz trips to Moscow a friend of mine commented “Damn! I’m glad THAT’S over. Another month and I’d have needed a liver transplant.” He was half-serious.

    Third: Prosit!

  2. ~KC~ says:

    While on the occasion I throw down the gauntlet, I have quickly quickly VERY quickly learned to not attempt to drink you under table or even lay claims to be able to … LOL! My liver hasn’t been acclimatized to the same environment and conditioning as yours has but I can say that when I have let myself go there, and you have seen that – it is fun… and times, made you worry a time or two!!! LOL…

    Other than ‘broad’ – you rock!

  3. Old Iron says:

    Buck, I gotta tell you that I have on only one occasion each had a session with a group of Russians and a group of Aussies, and both times left me recovering for a week apiece! It was good times of course, but those people are the dumpsters of alcohol consumption. Note I am not in any way calling them by the invented label “alcoholic”; they are just really good at being piss-heads. I got a good crack out of researching this topic because there are no two schools of thought that are similar in any other way except that alcohol is the root of the disease / allergy / psychological disorder / etc.

  4. Buck says:

    I got a good crack out of researching this topic…

    My research was first-hand. One more Russia anecdote… my gig there was a consulting contract with the newly-privatized Russian analog to the old AT&T, a national long-distance carrier. They needed network management tools in the worst way, and that’s why I was there. So… my counterpart was an old (former commie) director who had his large, plush office in one of the company’s central offices (telecom switching centers). That dude would summon me EVERY morning around 10:00 for his daily briefing… and his secretary would roll out the damned vodka from his private bar, in mid-morning! And we would go through a Q&A session… all while knocking back three or four HEALTHY shots. Every damned day, no lie… no exaggeration. We had vodka at every turn, on every occasion, and in every conceivable circumstance…

    I joked with a friend of mine if the balloon had ever gone up during the Cold War we’d have kicked their asses, coz two-thirds of the damned country would have been too shit-faced to fight.

  5. Gordon says:

    Old Iron, my memories of drinking with the Brits and Scots are much the same as yours. They can put it down in ways I never could, even back in the days when I could drink without suffering an instant migraine. There was a social prohibition on acting the fool. Oh, they could, and did, drink heavily, but no one ever behaved badly.

    I’m told that has changed, especially among the younger crowd in Ol’ Blighty. Pubs are now stand-up drinking establishments, and the 35-and under crowd gets staggeringly drunk.

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