I don’t drink. Never have, probably never will. Hey, I grew up Baptist! And besides, it’s in the Ten Commandments, right? (I kid, I kid …)
Anyway, drinking is just one of those things I was raised not to do. I remember my mom telling me, as a child, Someday some kids may try to make you drink (or smoke, or take drugs, or … you get the idea). But you just don’t do it!
I learned my lesson well, and remember feeling slightly fearful as a teen, wondering with each peer I met whether “this would be the one” who would attempt to lead me astray.
It never happened – not because nobody my age was drinking/smoking/doing drugs. I did know of a few kids who did (most of whom were in my Sunday School class, but that’s another story), but they weren’t friends of mine.
Not to say I wasn’t curious. I remember babysitting as a teen and spying a big ole bottle of wine in the Olszewskis’ fridge. I wondered how many brain cells I’d lose if I took just the tiniest sip. (I also wondered how I would explain myself if the parents happened to come back home while I had the wine bottle open, but thankfully that didn’t happen).
I did try a taste, and was grateful that it tasted absolutely awful.
Yes, I remained blissfully ignorant of the ways of the drinking world, although it wasn’t always easy.
During “senior night” (a wild partying night at a theme park which for some inexplicable reason I really wanted to attend), I asked my friend, “What’s that awful smell?”
“It’s BEER!” she whispered, obviously embarassed. Hey – I didn’t know!
During my waning college days, I had a second interview with a company which involved a wine and cheese reception with company bigwigs. The horror! I remember walking around with my full wine glass, wondering how I would ever get rid of it. I even remember one head honcho coming up and grinning as he accused me of having a second glass!
I’ve been, somewhat against my will, at Happy Hour with a bunch of 20-somethings and I’ve been at Italian bars with a bunch of 20-something Italians (side note: the Italians spend the evening with one drink each, disussing politics and literature congenially. The Americans generally drank as much as they could and filled the time with conversation about how “hot” members of the opposite gender were and with crude jokes. To paraphrase my buddy Michelle Obama, I was not proud of my country). To observe a bunch of other people drinking, while not partaking oneself, is interesting if nothing else.
So it was quite a cultural leap for me when I married my husband, who had grown up considering it no big deal to drink beer or wine. Even now, I know better than to insinuate that it’s wrong to drink, because I don’t want to risk his head exploding.
We know all the Bible verses: the one about “do not be drunk with wine” (but that’s drunk, not drinking), the one about Paul telling Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach (see?!). Oh well, I can say that our kids will have a view of both sides of the issue, and we’ll see where they end up.
What started this whole reflection? I found this video online, and it’s hilarious (although you probably have to be familiar with Steven Curtis Chapman’s I Will Be Here, and preferably have grown up in a non-drinking church to really get the humor).