System Overhaul

After spending 10 weeks in Greece and a weekend in Paris, I couldn't help but notice how much safer it felt (and actually was) to be out really late at night--and, on top of this, a completely different attitude towards alcohol, where the idea isn't to drink as much as you possibly can so that you end up wasted, but rather to have good drinks and at the very least enjoy what you're drinking (they don't do screwdrivers in Greece; I'm taking this as an 'if you don't like it, why would you drink it at all?'...also the cocktails were fantastic).

Now, in America....

Half the people I know don't like alcohol because all they've ever had is either shitty party beer or straight-up vodka because the main point of drinking in college (and, I assume, in high school) is to get drunk.

That's what the culture teaches us.

Now, what about the concept that alcohol is not simply something to be imbibed because of its effects, but something to drink for the flavor? I have to wonder if we'd have half the problems with ER visits and all that if this were the case. Not to mention that kids could come clean about drinking too much or if they had a friend drinking too much if it were legal and they didn't have to worry about being arrested.

Also, driving. The assumption that this activity requires even the mental capacity of a sixteen-year-old is ridiculous. Height, maybe. But seriously, this is one of the most boring and easy things to do, and if I'd started driving when I was younger I have a feeling that I wouldn't enjoy speeding so much. (Actually, since it's me, I probably would. All hail country roads. 70-90mph, yesplz--although gas efficiency drops off sharply after 65mph....) Anyway, at the least I'd have more experience.

But yeah. I think that, instead of having a system where privileges are granted based on something as arbitrary as age, we should have a system where you start off with full privileges and then lose them if you screw up.

For instance, if a twelve-year-old is caught speeding then they lose their license for a whole year: that's a long damn time. I don't think they'd take that risk lightly (and what sort of stupid-ass parent lets their twelve-year-old kid go drive in a city or the 'burbs in the first place?). As for drinking, any ER visit revokes that privilege for five years, and getting caught for a party....

I know none of these changes would ever happen because they're a little too fundamental, and the system we have in place today is only open to minor modifications (hello? We couldn't even get rid of the Electoral College), but it's fun to think about.


m.m.s. said...

oh, Priya.

that kind of mindset... you get that, a lot of the time, outside of the US. why else do you think I (and so many others) wouldn't drink alcohol unless it absolutely tasted good? :P

The Reporter said...

Haha--that's exactly where I got the idea! I'm really glad that I had a European friend first year to show me around stuff, because now I find most beers quite drinkable (except Bud Light. Because it is DISGUSTING).