2004-09-22

Alcohol and Hangovers: Removing God's Safeguards


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I saw a commercial for Chaser the other day. This is one of those hangover cures. In general I say, "To each their own." But, in the middle of this commercial a business-looking guy grins at the camera and gushes, "It's been a real boost to my social life!"

Now, my quick objections are 1. this is the kind of thing that will obviously encourage people to drink more - from my vantage point, there is already plenty such encouragement in our society, and 2. this sends the message that alcohol is an important part of and boost for a social life, if only we could do something about those hangovers!

Bear in mind, I have no problem with social drinking, as long as it truly remains social. Personally I think this is pretty rare. "Social drinker" seems to be the acceptable label that masks a problem. Whatever the case, social drinking is not what we're talking about with Chaser. A hangover is a sign of dehydration due to excessive drinking. Now, thanks to Chaser, one can avoid this pain ... until they start hearing about all the stupid things they did while enjoying their "consequence-free" inebriation.

And that's the curious thing in life. God did us a favor and gave us pain and discomfort as mild reminders to get back on course before we veer off too far and find real trouble. Right now I'm training my dog to stay near me when we walk across the parking lot - a tug on the leash, while not pleasant, is far preferable to her dashing out and getting run over by a car some day.

Yet with all of our wisdom and technology, we seem bent on systematically removing all of God's safeguards. STD's and Pregnancy should discourage permiscuous sex, but we've found seemingly easy work-arounds for this. Hangovers and illness should curb drinking, but not anymore thanks to Chaser! Unhealthy diet and exercise habits should bring minor health problems, and overweight-ness. But, "miracle" diet solutions and plastic surgery can head off a lot of the early symptoms without dealing with the cause.

And there's the real problem. If I take down that pesky orange "Road Closed - Bridge Out" sign, it doesn't change the fact that the bridge is out and proceeding down the road will lead to peril. If one routinely embarks on nights of Chaser-aided alcoholic bliss, they are continuing to impair their judgment, damage their mind and body, destroy their family and increase the likelihood that they'll kill someone while driving drunk. But at least they won't have a headache and "cotton-mouth!" Care-free sex tears at the moral fabric of one's being, dissolving self-esteem, and harming the ability to form normal family relationships later on. Overeating and underexercising are as deadly as any vice.

So rather than applauding, or flocking to "breakthroughs" like Chaser, we now need to stop and think. As the physical and previously unavoidable deterrents are taken down, the last remaining barrier to a lot of harmful behavior is the mind. One must be able to look past the immediate pleasure and see the long-term pain enough to find self-control. Unfortunately, this is not man's forte!

Thank you Chaser, for making the drive to destruction that much more pleasant!

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