Law driving the amateur drinker towards professional teetotalism
Times are desperate for rural publicans and customers who are cut from the craic, writes Willie Kealy
Many men give up drink when they reach a certain age. They act on the principle that drinking alcohol is a demanding pastime and, like other pastimes that demand sustained physical and mental endurance, if you try to keep partaking at a professional level beyond your peak of fitness, you can get hurt.
And there are those who carry on regardless, ending, as John Waters said recently, in madness or death. There are however, some of us who have taken the middle road. We may not have the stamina to drink 10 or 12 pints several nights a week anymore, but we still like to maintain our amateur status. That involves having two or three pints very occasionally.
We do this because it is an enjoyable social habit. I never understood people who said: "I'm going out tonight to get totally blathered." I have been drunk and even very drunk, many times in my life. But I have never, ever set out to get drunk. In fact, if anything, the object of the exercise was to stay relatively sober for as long as possible. Because the best thing about drinking in a pub is a social side, the conversation, the laughter, the occasional song or a bit of music.