Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's Not a Race to Get Wasted...

Wisconsin has a lot of traditions, and lots of them are honorable. One of them, however, has been on my mind for months: Why is Wisconsin so drunk?

You know what I'm talking about. The Wisconsinese generally think nothing of getting bombed, and only slightly more about driving drunk. I observed the "Puke & Rally" for the first time at Silk one night when my niece left the table to rid herself of the 151 and then returned to continue drinking. Anecdotal evidence is one thing, but statistics are another. When the local paper started digging into this very topic, they found we are #1 in binge drinking, drunk driving and most drinkers per capita.

The Milwaukee Journal went on to interview anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, historians and more than 100 Sconnies and came up with a complex answer to my (perhaps oversimplified) question. I'll save you the trouble of locating their article and quote it directly:

"Climate. Ethnicity. The historical importance of the brewing industry. The interpersonal dynamics that govern how people learn to live comfortably in a group. The social nature of most drinking. A relative lack of newcomers who might foster change. The premium many here place on being just a regular person. The need for identity."

Take a minute with that, and think about life in Wisconsin.

There is one tiny ray of sunshine. Although we do, as a State, drink more alcohol than all others, it is not because some of us are getting non-stop bombed; it's because so many of us are drinking. Tennessee has about the lowest percentage of drinkers, Wisconsin has about the highest. Head-to-head against Tennessee, we come out looking good: our State disappears more alcohol, but the average Tennesseean can out-drink the average Wisconsinese.

And if you can't feel cool next to Tennessee....

I'm kidding, Tennessee. But I'm not kidding, Wisconsin. The subtle effects of beverage alcohol far outstrip its dramatic effects. Everybody gets a little looser and has a good time on the way to getting belligerent and stupid. The trick is to recognize the border and do not cross it. Stay in control of your words, your mind, and above all your dignity.

You have an opportunity to practice at The Great Sconnie Sip-Off, which will be held at the Waukesha Chancery on September 15th. It may seem antithetical for a girl who is promoting the responsible use of alcohol to be hosting a cocktail competition that is open to the public but the truth is in its name: a Sip-Off. It's not a race to get wasted. It's an opportunity to practice the Art of the Sip. Join us at 7pm and enjoy our hospitality.

(And if you want to read the full article, click here

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