The South African government should grow up. And treat the rest of us like grown-ups.
I am, of course, back on my non-temperance crusade, but also have a nagging concern about the overpaid nannies who populate the ministerial gravy train.
So what has given me this booze-free hangover?
It is, of course, the nonsensical and stupid idea which has been reported this week that the prats in Pretoria want to raise the legal age for drinking grown-up stuff to 21.
There is, quite rightly, a concern that young people do abuse alcohol. But suicides gobble too many aspirin. Must we ban all pain killers for our teens?
There comes a time when adults must become responsible for their actions, and let’s face it, life would be very dull if there wasn’t the occasional dose of irresponsibility.
Were this poisonous plan to be implemented, beer, wine, whisky and other alcoholic drinks would be off-limits at the off-licence for those who are 20 and younger.
OK. They can’t have a drink. But what can they do? Well, they can marry someone of the opposite sex, or of their own, and become parents. They can drive – arguably something far more dangerous to society than having a beer. They can vote. They can join the armed forces and die for their country, which is arguably more hazardous than sipping a class of Cape Red. They can have bank accounts, real jobs, own and care for animals. And yet not a drop of rum is allowed in their coke.
Of course, all this is assuming that such a draconian and brain-dead law could ever be effectively enforced. Assuming that I am now immune from prosecution, I freely confess that my teens were polluted by the grape and the grain. I got horribly ill on cider and vodka, and I learned my lesson.
I cannot imagine my student days without beer. In my first week at University I took part in a three-legged pub crawl, and later the same evening won a Yard of Ale contest. I slept well that night.
Alcohol was probably behind the raid on my room in the Residence, when all the furniture was removed and neatly stacked in the ladies’.
And would the celebration of my win with my dear friend Jim White of the university debating trophy have been crowned as well if we had drunk tap water at the celebration, instead of port? We were young adults, not yet 21, and deserved to be treated as such.
These days I know when I have had enough, and I rarely stray too many units on the wrong side of that. Not before breakfast, anyway.
No doubt most young people will also wish to experiment a bit, and would defy this daft law were it ever to be passed, and I think that is fine. There will be tragedies and disasters, but this is the real world, not the Chamber of Parliament.
Eat, drink and be merry, say I. And I am proud to have always led by example.
Other bonkers bans by South African government which will hit the wine, hospitality and tourism industries include the planned tightening up of visa rules, a total ban on drink-driving, and measures which might prevent foreign investors from acquiring wine estates. Ban all booze for the under 21s and government will lose massive support. Don’t forget they can all vote from 18.
Tweets of the Day:
Exploding Unicorn (@XplodingUnicorn): My 5-year-old told me a 20-minute story about a pair of shoes she wore for one day two years ago. She’s already a woman.
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