The Golden Rule of Drinking

The Golden Rule of Drinking

Alright, kiddies, before we get down to the good stuff (booze, of course), we should probably talk about some ground rules. Well, one ground rule really.

Lest you think I’m mixing up a holier-than-thou cocktail, let me assure you that I’ve broken and bent the rule in the past. I’ll almost certainly do so in the future. I can provide references to several bartenders who can vouch for my shortcomings. Also a few neighbors who can. And maybe a cab driver. Oh and one particularly long-suffering dairy farmer. I like to think, though, that over time I’ve gotten better by keeping this rule in mind.

Without further ado,

The Drinkist’s Golden Rule of Drinking:

Don’t allow your drinking to be an undue burden to anyone – including yourself.

Like a lot of other general guidelines, it requires a bit of judgment and that most misnamed of virtues, common sense. Some obvious conclusions, of course, are easy. Drinking and driving has the potential to create lots of undue burdens for yourself and completely innocent people along the way. In most cases, starting a bar fight creates some undue burdens (including a frightfully inconvenient series of court dates almost guaranteed to interfere with the reconstructive surgery). I realize that in some spots, a bar fight is almost de rigeur. Best to avoid those spots.

It’s also worth emphasizing that last bit – “including yourself”. Drinking too much too often isn’t great for your long term health. Falling off the back of the barstool isn’t too great for your short term health. If it happens at a client meeting, it’s probably not too great for your professional health. Not that that’s ever happened to anyone I know.

The rule, though, isn’t to avoid all burdens. Alcohol comes inherently with burdens. It generally costs money and it’s full of “empty calories”. (How anybody can use the term “empty” for something so full of joy is beyond me.) Those obvious examples set aside, there are plenty of burdens best handled by reasonable reciprocities. Letting your drinking buddy figure out how to get you home after a night deep in the cups? Perfectly fine as long as you’re doing the same your share of the time. Bachelorette party? The bride should probably be able to depend on the bridesmaids to have her back – unless this is, say, marriage seven and everyone else in on one and has been through this show six other times with her.

In short, don’t be an ass. Take care of your bartender if you’re out and your companions wherever you are and don’t make anybody work too hard for your benefit.

Photo: Martini with olive (on National Martini Day)

Photo Credit: Steve Morgan