As a concerned parent and outraged citizen, I am concerned and outraged over the drinking problem among our college youth. Why can’t they be more like us? Instead, there they are, out marching, demonstrating and otherwise stirring up trouble over the sober political issues of the day. Their problem, obviously, is they don’t drink enough. I’m glad, therefore, to report this little-recognized problem is at last getting the recognition it deserves. A research sociologist, Mr. Ira H. Cisin, says our colleges should teach students how to drink.
“Drinking,” he says, “can be dangerous, and the young deserve to be instructed in its uses just as they are taught to swim and drive a car.”
And as a lifelong expert in the field, I’m naturally applying for a full professorship. Indeed, I’ve already drawn up my lecture notes for my first class in Drinking 123a (no prerequisites required).
“Good morning, students. Welcome to Drinking 123a. Let me begin by warning you this is no snap course. You may have easily mastered integral calculus, Etruscan epic poetry and advanced thermodynamics, but you now must face the greatest challenge of your academic career: learning how to drink.
“The first seemingly overwhelming obstacle you must surmount in learning to drink alcoholic beverages is that they don’t taste good. Not to the beginner. And my advice to you on this point is to choose the beverage you dislike least. For example, some beginners find they dislike Scotch less than they dislike bourbon, gin or rye. Thus, by mixing twenty-year-old Scotch with ginger ale, soda pop or cherry cough syrup, they find they can get it down with only the very mildest of shudders. Just remember that with liquor, the taste is the thing. And you can avoid it if you really try.
“Now, then, let us turn to the effect alcohol will have on you. It is not true that alcohol merely makes you dizzy. It also makes you stupid. Some improperly motivated students, feeling stupid and dizzy, will quit right there. Don’t be a dropout! Persevere and you will be rewarded by becomingly completely irresponsible. Not to mention violently ill. Of course, becoming violently ill doesn’t sound too pleasant. But actually, you’ll find you’re so dizzy, stupid and irresponsible at this point that it won’t matter a whit. It’s the next morning that matters. There’s no point in describing in advance the sensations you’ll feel the next morning. For one thing, they’re indescribable. Just keep in mind the legend of Robert Bruce and the spider. And each time you fall flat on your face, pick yourself up and try again.
The course will also cover such related subjects as dry sweats, cold sweats, headaches, tremors, personal injury suits, the Penal Code and various symptoms of the manic depressive. The final exam will be a simulated cocktail party at which you will be asked to down seven lukewarm martinis while listening to a two-hour speech in Urdu. Now, then, as to the delirium tremens . . .”
No, I can’t face it. It’s a hopeless task, I say, to lead our militant young people to drink — much as it would contribute to peace on our campuses. Let’s be tolerant and let them go on getting even more involved in politics. That way they’ll be driven to it.
This story was written in 1967 and first appeared in the Perfect Solution to Absolutely Everything by Arthur Hoppe. but with all the do-goodery swarming about our campuses and town squares these days, we felt it merited new light. We first read it in a great little compendium entitled Drinking, Smoking and Screwing, Great Writers on Good Times.