Brace yourself. I’m breaking out the old fuddy-duddy side of me and it’s not pretty. Celebrating New Year’s Eve has always been sad and poignant for me and I prefer to stay away from people who see drinking to excess as a sport. The family celebrations like First Night Buffalo and the local ball drops here in Wilson, etc. are much more fun. I just don’t think you need to get smashed to have a good time.
We all have that relative who has a few too many at the family gathering and stumbles around telling stories of old times, or falls asleep over grandma’s pistachio dessert. A little holiday nog, a cold brewski or a good wine with dinner never hurt anybody. What bothers me is the idea that it’s the drinkingitself that’s the star of the show. One local town is planning a great New Year’s celebration with kid’s activities, a ball drop, fireworks, entertainment and lots of holiday cheer! Then there’s the “Pub Crawl.”
For ten bucks you get a fancy mug and a punch card. Then you make the rounds of nine local bars to have a drink, collecting a punch on the card at each place. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’d be crawling after the third drink and comatose if I drank nine! The incentive is that if you visit all nine watering holes to fill your card, you can get a free tee shirt and be entered for prizes. Yes, you could probably get the card punched without buying a drink there (that’s not clear in the advertisement) but anybody who proudly joins a Pub Crawl is surely going to stick around for at least one and maybe more at each bar in the 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. allotted time. Nine drinks may not seem like a lot spread out over 7 hours, but I’m willing to bet there’ll be much more serious consumption than that going on, just to try to win Sabres tickets or a mini-fridge. I mean, let’s face it, most will be drinkingjust for the fun of it and not the prizes. It seems that New Year’s Eve has always been celebrated with some holiday cheer, but this Pub Crawl thing is really pushing the envelope.
Yes, the advertisers advise you that you must be 21, should drink responsibly and there’s a number for a cab so you don’t drink and drive. Yeah, right. Most of those mugs are going to be carried by the youngest among us and they’ll be partying heartily. These are all legal establishments and will follow the rules, but the ones crawling the pubs will not. I know I’m in the minority and a tad old-fashioned. I’ve seen too many lives ruined by drinking to find stumbling, puking drunks funny.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I should loosen up a little but alcohol is promoted as a fun way to socialize and all too often becomes a way of life. It’s addictive. It starts by making you feel happy and part of the fun, but it stops being fun when you crash your car or find pictures of yourself passed out in a pool of vomit on the internet. Embarrassing moments, dignity lost or relationships ruined are the easy ones to deal with. Try vehicular manslaughter, if you’re lucky enough to survive.
See, the whole idea of family celebrations is to have families experience fun things together. There are, indeed, many family things planned for this event, and I might even forgive the outdoor heated cocktail tent for the adults… but the Pub Crawl is a real stretch from family values. I am, frankly, appalled by the very concept. This is only my opinion of course and I’ve been accused of being a stick-in-the-mud before. That’s the price of getting old and crotchety. Still, the only place I’ll be crawling on New Year’s Eve is under some warm covers after the traditional ball drop, and there’ll be no hangover to start the New Year!
Feel free to voice your opinions on the matter. I’d like to see someone justify this one.