Celebrating (?) Alcohol

Today’s post is going to delve into some songs . . . namely songs that seem to endorse drinking or being drunk.  Please know, before I go any further, that I’m not against alcohol, or drinking.  I just don’t understand why people seem to like songs that celebrate it.  Maybe it’s because I personally don’t drink anymore, and so don’t have those experiences to connect to.

I did drink for a while.  From the ages of 14 to 17, I used to drink with my mom and our friends (especially when we’d get together for a bonfire).  This was because–when my mom found out that I’d had my first rum and Coke–she pulled me aside and said that she would buy for me, but only if I drank at home, so I could find my limit in a safe space.  I think this was a VERY wise thing to do, because 1) she’d make sure I wasn’t out driving under the influence, nor riding with anyone who was; and 2) she’d made the subject of drinking a safe one, rather than turning it into a taboo that a teenager would want to test out.

So anyway, I started drinking early and quit early as well.  It was a summer night up at the cabin, and my mom, our friends and I were there for a long weekend.  We sat around a bonfire down by the lake, and I’d had 6 Screwdrivers (more vodka than OJ), half a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 Grape, and half a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 Orange (think of the cheapest “wine” you can find).  I didn’t feel any of it go down, and apparently I blacked out so that people had to carry me back up to the cabin and put me to bed.  The next morning, I had no headache.  No hangover.  No amount of “paying” for the night before.  That scared the crap out of me and I haven’t touched a drop since.

So, maybe because I started so young, I missed all the “fun” of alcohol and being drunk, or maybe I’ve spent enough years without it to see things with clearer eyes.  I don’t know, but that–coupled with my love of knowing song lyrics–makes it so that I often can’t “enjoy” songs about drinking.

For instance:

Margaritaville, by Jimmy Buffet (lyrics in the video)

I’ve hated this song with a passion ever since I can remember.  I’ve also had a strong dislike of Mr. Buffet for a long time, as well, mostly because of this song (which I admit was the only thing I knew by him for a long time).  The lyrics have him talking about a “beauty” of a tattoo that he can’t remember getting, and later he talks about cutting his heel because of a broken flip flop, but he doesn’t worry because “. . . there’s booze in the blender, And soon it will render that frozen concoction that helps me hang on.”  Ugh.

Friends in Low Places, by Garth Brooks (lyrics here)

There are TONS of Country songs that espouse the “benefits” of drinking or being drunk, but this one was such a favorite when I frequented a karaoke bar back in Michigan, that it just strikes me as the penultimate “drinking makes everything better” song.  I mean, the guy in the song shows up drunk to someone’s wedding, causes a scene (even though he says he didn’t mean to), and then slinks away to some bar “. . . where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away . . .”

Marry You, by Bruno Mars (lyrics in the video)

This song also falls into what I call the (Not) Love Songs category.  It’s a catchy tune and I enjoyed it for the most part (too repetitive) until I fully listened to the lyrics recently.  It’s basically a song about two people so drunk (possibly in Vegas, I haven’t seen the video) that they’re going to do something “dumb” and get married.  He doesn’t know if it’s “. . . the look in your eyes, or is it this dancing juice . . .” and he doesn’t care.  And, he also doesn’t care if you want to “. . . break up after you wake up.”  I mean, seriously?!?!?  I’m sure there are people who’ve had this as their wedding song, because he says “I think I wanna marry you” so many times.  But honestly . . . If someone says they think they want to marry you . . . wait until they’re certain.  PLEASE!

But Craig introduced me to a song that seems more honest about getting drunk:

Alcohol, by Brad Paisley (lyrics here)

I’m not normally a fan of Country music, but everything I’ve heard by Brad has been pretty funny and good (I’d liken his writing style to Train for pop music), and this song is no exception.  Here’s the true (and sometimes funny) story of what happens when you let alcohol be your “medicine.”  A sample of the lyrics:  “You had some of the best times you’ll never remember with me . . . alcohol.”

So, let me state again that I’m not against alcohol.  Not at all.  What I am against is the celebration of the foolish things that drinking too much can make you do.  But maybe I just can’t relate because I got scared shitless for not having a limit and not paying for it one night back in 1987 (a problem that I know many people wish they had).

And I’m okay not relating.  I’ll sit over here with my water, thank you very much.

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