Sadly and surprisingly, I was once again passed over to give a commencement speech this year. It's a shame because I believe I've got some valuable advice to offer graduates, especially from high school.
I actually only received this valuable advice myself two days ago when it was printed in Esquire and like many things in the magazine it concerns drinking.
Now I know what you're thinking -- high schoolers aren't of drinking age. Yes, there are many who wouldn't dare dream of imbibing illegally, but the ones who do might as well learn the proper way to do it. Just as I don't condone underage sex but I know that
Bristol Palin teenagers are going to do it anyway and might as well be safe, I believe high school graduates could save themselves much humiliation by knowing some basic drinking rules.
When a person starts drinking casually, there are many things that need to be understood. Some highlights from Esquire's article:
Make rules: I don't drink beer from boots. Don't chug. Don't shotgun.It's
Don't hoot. Like that. Walk into a bar as if you've been there before.
When entering a crowded joint, know your poison. Order simply and
clearly. If the bar is uncrowded, if the bartender is smart and
attentive, ask for recommendations.
important you stick by your rules. Not only so you don't end with
marker drawings on your face but so people don't come to think of you
as a pushover and can't be upsold into ordering something you don't want or buying expensive shots for the
entire bar. As for pretending
like you've been to the bar before: A beloved regular would never harass a bartender for quicker service or order an incredibly
complicated drink and then not tip.
Some more advice:
Lose the urgency, too. Drinking should not be the event in itself.This
is one I struggled with. When you're young, drinking is an exercise
in avoiding detection so speed is of the essence. As you get older the
opposite is true -- drinking becomes an exercise in self-control, of
sipping purposely slow to stay alert, save money or just savor an
exquisite liquor. That's why it's so important to move drinking beyond Coors Light and Keystone and other beers that reward quick
drinking. You can't chug a wine. (At least not pleasantly.)
Every once in a while, you'll turn around and you'll encounter thatRemember
guy, any one of many guys, really -- the shouter, the stumbler, the
puncher, the teary guy, the sleepy drunk, the ass-grabber, the
chest-poker, the jabbermouth, the spitter, the wobbly fool. One version
or another, he's always there. Really look then. Understand that that
guy doesn't know what he is, doesn't know what he looks like, what
people say about him.
if one of your friends is "that guy" it is your responsibility, as a
friend, to tell him. If the antisocial
behavior continues, do not reward it. It's not your responsibility to risk
physical harm and legal trouble because your friend can't control
himself and picks a fight with a stranger. Make a rule not to
hang out with that person until he changes and remember from above: Don't break your personal rules.
Finally, when you've graduated
into the realm of adult drinking, it's time to own a proper book on the
subject. The best one was coincidentally published by Esquire more than 50 years ago. The Handbook For Hosts
(both the 1949 and 1953 edition are excellent) is a timeless look at throwing a party,
making cocktails and mastering every other skill a true drinker needs. Good luck!
Hat-tip to Daily Fork for finding the Esquire article. Image via Flickr: Amanda Cee.