This is not a war zone, people. Saturday night ambulance rides are a lot more expensive than that bottle of vodka or case of beer. I had a buddy last year who would have died if she had been taken to bed instead of to the hospital. If it had been up to me, I pray that I would have made the right call. Imagine waking up after a wild night and turning to see your roommate covered in vomit. Imagine getting up and stumbling over to him, trying to wake him without success. Imagine wiping the puke off his cold face and looking into his open, lifeless eyes. It happens, it’s horrifying and avoidable. St. Lawrence has been asking for years: How can we drink but still have a good time and be safe?
I wanted to talk about something other than drinking this week. I wanted to talk about the 100+ volunteers we had this weekend for the St. Lawrence Day of Service; about the carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes coming into season; about Beaver Fest and OC/OP kayakers taking on huge water and slides; about the Remington Arts Festival and the Local Living Festival; about biking and hiking and meeting new friends and lovers; about getting iced for your first time on the peak of Azure. With so many good things happening, there is little reason to be a downer. But I cannot stand on my Habitat for Humanity porch and watch three ambulances wail by in a matter of minutes (I didn’t think there were so many in the North Country) without saying anything.
You get one chance. There’s a lot of danger in this world, but for the most part we know how to deal. We know to look both ways before crossing the street. We know not to eat rotten food. We stay away from bulls and wolves and sketchy alleys. Our parents and general life experience has prepared us, taught us how to interact with these dangerous things. Alcohol is a bit trickier; everyone has a different back story. My mom was an alcoholic. I knew the smell of it and its destructive powers long before coming to college. Because alcohol is illegal for persons under 21 in the United States, some college students have no previous experience with it at all. This is a problem.
We are deer caught in the headlights. The paralyzing glare is not a car, however, but a friend with a bottle of cherry Smirnoff that tastes like Kool-Aid. Being told that one beer is equal to a shot or a glass of wine as I am sitting in a stuffy eighth grade health classroom is not enough to teach me how much alcohol I can handle. Watching a drunk-driving video as I text my buddies will not show me how much of a fool I can be when I am hammered. It will not prepare me for those bad decisions I make, those feelings I hurt, those relationships I destroy, or the life I lose.
We need someone older but still in our peer group to sit down with us and have a drink. Show us how we can do it responsibly before you trust us to drink responsibly on our own. I say we have an FYP drinking night, when every CA brings a couple racks to the dorm, drinks and informs. I know it is illegal, but that’s never stopped us before. Anyone else have good ideas for a way to resolve this? Let me know via thehillnews.org by replying to this Hammer Time.
One Challenge: Spend one night partying, but not drinking and tell me how it goes.
Do me and your friends a favor this weekend Saints; let’s have fun and stay alive.