When I was twelve years old and in grade six at Heidelberg Primary School, a crusty old gentleman from the Independent Order of Rechabites came weekly to instruct us about the evils of alcohol. There was a statewide exam at the end of it, and I’m rather proud to say that I won the state prize with a score of 91%. I was awarded a book which I have since lost without regret and a beautiful certificate which I do regret losing because from memory it was a highly ornate document with beautiful copperplate writing. Prize notwithstanding, I have never been a teetotaller; I am not one now and I find the whole idea of the Rechabites rather quaint.
But I’ve got to say that I’m finding the emphasis on alcohol over the last few years rather overwhelming. I know that I’m hypocritical here- looking back I don’t know why we felt we had to drink champagne at our children’s birthday parties and I don’t think I’d do it now. I am disconcerted that every celebration of a sporting triumph, a career achievement, an opening of some civic building or service etc. needs to be marked with alcohol. I don’t know why bars and bottleshops have to stay open all night. I find the idea of going to work in the morning while the nightclubs are disgorging the last of their patrons quite unnecessary.
I was puzzled to find this advertisement on the label of Spring Valley apple juice.
When a bender begins and when it ends is not an exact science. However, our not so rigorous testing proves that when the bender has been and gone, it leaves behind a primordial need to consume something of substance, something so angelic and good, it probably grew on a tree- and preferably for that something to be almost like an apple in liquid form.
This is APPLE JUICE, remember…consumed by children, old people, people who are just plain thirsty and not necessarily recovering from a bender. Why does it have to market itself this way to everyone who buys it?
Then in the weekend’s paper there was a rather trite column about “how to decorate a Christmas tree” by Kate Duthie This is the last thing I need to read, given that I have decorated my Christmas tree three times this year so far after it has fallen down twice this year (or maybe I do need to read that article, particularly the part where it tells you to make sure that the tree is stable before putting anything on it). But the last paragraph particularly grated:
Whatever you do, make it fun. Involve your family and friends, pop some champers and make it an event.
An event? Champagne? It’s a CHRISTMAS TREE for Christ’s sake! (I feel I can say that without blasphemy). Why do you need a drink to put up a Christmas tree?