Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tanked Twisted Totaled Tipsy

Have you ever been three sheets to the wind? Under the influence? Half in the bag?
Inebriated? Feeling good?
Bent? Blitzed? Bleary Eyed? Blasted?
Fried? Toasted? Pissed? Plastered?
Looped? Loaded?
Sloshed? Smashed? Shit faced? Stewed?
Tanked? Twisted? Totaled? Tipsy?
Wrecked? Wasted?

If some alien life form landed in Canada and tried to find out what Canadians love the most and measured it by the number of words we have to describe it, surely drinking alcohol would win, hands down. (OK, I admit, there are a lot of words that describe sex. But this is a family column and I’m not going there.)

Have you ever driven after having a few drinks? How about as a passenger with someone you were having drinks with? Be honest now. If you have, you’re not alone. Many, many Canadians have. Sure, we pretend that drinking and driving is bad, but deep inside we all know it’s actually a cultural norm here in Canada.

Tell me, if you were asked to list two things that are central to our society, what would they be? Maybe TV and fast food? How about computers and music? Me, I’d pick cars and alcohol. Most of us drive and a lot of us drink from time to time. And if we were really honest about it, we’d admit that a lot of drivers have, at some point in their lives, driven with a few drinks in them. You’ve probably done it yourself. I’m not talking about sloshed, just a few widdle drinks. If so, you could be a criminal. Fingerprinted, publicly shamed and severely punished. Hey, you might be a monster, but, don’t worry, you’ve got lots of company.

Check out any bar in Canada anytime during the day or night. Virtually every single person walking out of there and into a car is quite likely approaching, or over, the limit. And yet we incessantly demonize anyone who drinks and drives to such an extent that they are considered by many to be no better than rapists or armed robbers. In our zeal to protect all people from all things, we have criminalized something that millions of Canadians do occasionally with no undue ill effects to society. And consider this - unlike rapists or armed robbers, who are arrested because of actual harm done to others, people who drive after drinking are arrested merely because they are judged by arbitrary means to be more likely to cause harm. This is pretty draconan stuff.

I met a guy the other night who, a year ago, had a few drinks and was clipped by a car while walking across the street. He wasn’t drunk, or so he says. The bar where he was drinking is being charged. The driver’s insurance company is suing him. I guess someone will start a group called MADW – Mothers Against Drunk Walking. Such is the insanity of the world we live in – a world dominated by salivating litigation lawyers and trust-me-I-know-what’s-best-for-you, security obsessed women.

Obviously, driving while loaded is stupid, irresponsible and dangerous. Anyone who harms other people while driving sloshed should be severely punished. However, what about people who drink moderately and then drive? Some people may drive better with a .06 or .08 blood/alcohol level than others do totally sober. And 99.999 percent of people who drive after drinking moderately never hurt anyone. But still, MADD and others keep demanding the limit be lowered. And we all "tut tut" and nod at them sympathetically while getting behind the wheel or watching as others get behind the wheel after having a few drinks. Are we a nation of hypocrites?

Lets just cut to the chase, shall we. It seems to me that if we really wanted to catch drunk drivers we would place a mobile breathalyzer outside every bar in the country and pull over everyone who came out. This would likely cost less than our foolish multi-billion dollar gun registration program. In fact, if you think about it, two billion dollars would buy two hundred million $10 cab rides. And there are only 30 million people in Canada. Maybe all cabs should have breathalizers installed, with the government picking up the tab for drunk customers. This too would be easily affordable, considering how much money is stolen and wasted every day by our corrupt Federal Liberal government.

Anyway, where was I, oh yes – nabbing all bar patrons as they emerge from bars. What a great idea, eh? Of course, tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of drivers would lose their licenses. (There’d likely be no drivers left in Fort McMurray. heh) This would lead to fewer car sales, less gas sold, less work for anyone who services vehicles, sky high insurance rates, rampant unemployment for convicted people who jobs require them to drive and less booze sold, especially booze sold in bars. In fact, it would likely destroy the bar business entirely. And we’d need thousands of additional police, lawyers, judges, jail cells and courtrooms to deal with the legal fallout. The tax loss for the government and the economic price to our nation would be astronomical.

So that would never do. I guess it’s best to just keep complaining and pretending (wink wink, nudge nudge) to be outraged at something millions do and something we could pretty well eliminate if we really wanted to.


Post a Comment

<< Home