Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Teetotaller's Tiff

The guy I talked about in last week’s post succeeded in explaining his abstinence from alcohol whilst not not condescending to those who choose to avail of the solution to (and cause of) all of life’s problems. Here is an article from one such little lady who doesn’t have such lofty aims, as published in my University's newspaper.

Fanta Fuelled
Catríona McGrattan
Unlike most students, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been drunk in my three years in college…NONE!

I haven’t had a drink at all in those three years and no before you ask it’s not because I’m playing a match tomorrow, or on anti-biotics or driving; I just don’t want to!
I made the decision on coming into college back in September 2004 (when we had three pubs, I mean clubs, on campus) not to drink during my college years. I’ve managed to stick to it, but to be honest I have never really found it difficult, although that could be because I’ve been accused on several occasions of being the inspiration for Tommy Tiernan’s ‘Fanta fuelled F*ckers sketch.

The usual reaction from people when they find out I don’t drink is “Fair play to you!” I don’t think of it like that, it’s my decision not to drink as much as it is anyone’s decision to drink. College life is so diverse, in your next four, five, six years in college you will get to meet some truly unique people, each with their own quirky habits, best get used to it!

With a doubt I have had some amazing nights out in the Stables, at balls and in the Lodge (contrary to popular belief you don not have to be drunk to get in!) all of which without a drop of drink in me.

Alcohol isn’t for me. Some people like it a little, some people a lot, some more than they probably should but each to their own. I will never take issue with some else’s drinking habits so long as they don’t do so with mine.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that yes you can have a brilliant time with drink, but you can have an equally good time without it! So don’t be afraid to order a blackcurrant and vodka, hold the vodka anytime soon.

Apologies to those unfamiliar with the shitty nightclub or the comedian this girl mentions, but rest assured, knowledge of these matters make her inanity all the more infurating. Anyway, being the 'Sully' type of guy that I am, I felt I had to react in some way that would strike this woman's faux-pas from the record, for fear the integrity of a component of my personal philosphy be tarnished forever! I decided a letter to the editor would make my concerns heard;

Dear Sir,

I wish to issue a formal apology on behalf of the teetotalling community for the article 'Fanta Fuelled' that appeared in An Focal on September 4th.

I am ashamed to be a teetotaller in modern Ireland. This is largely to do with people of Ms. McGrattan's ilk colouring us as a self-righteous group of smug gits who offer up diplomatic phrases like 'drink isn't for me', whist in the same breath pushing their own philosophy upon peers.

Adding insult to injury is the uncertainty McGrattan casts over the veracity of her own statements, stating “with a doubt I have had some amazing nights out in the Stables”. Ironically, one might wonder if she was under the influence whilst at the keyboard were it not for the subject matter, given the number of disjointed sentences she stumbles through whilst eschewing any traditional grammatical structures (let alone paying heed to whether her words are typed in their entirety).

Her ill-conceived evangelicism would have been much more effective had she mentioned any points of merit, such as the money one saves on a night out only buying a drink when thirsty. She also missed out on the valid aspect of not impairing one's ability to drive home after a piss up. And how did she fail to report the boon of not waking up with a hangover after an embarrassing night of alcohol-induced-erectile-dysfunction?

Shame on Ms. McGrattan for attempting to pass off her decision not to indulge in the odd pint as a 'quirk'. Such inane statements are not only a poor reflection on the author's desperation to stand out from the crowd, but also misrepresent the far from vocal few of us who decide to spend our lifetimes without mood altering drugs.

I wish to stress that not all those who abstain from alcohol are bursting with the same sense of self-congratulation and condescension that Catríona McGrattan imposes upon her readers. I offer my deepest sympathies to those who suffered through the stale-sense of unjustified enthusiasm she ejaculated onto page fourteen. In doing so, I am hoping to wipe the slate clean. Upon finding out that the tall, dark and handsome man (or woman) you have been chatting up for the past forty-five minutes is of the dry disposition, don't respond with “Fair play” or “You plonker”. A simple “Meh” will suffice.

Your designated driver for life,
Seán O'Sullivan

To be fair to this woman, she probably wasn't thinking much about what she was writing at the time, and the stupid errors could well be poor editing, but that's not the point. My argument is firstly that anyone willing to submit a piece of writing for public consumption should be willing to defend their intellectual integrity (which I have been willing to do over the past year of blogging), and the student paper needs to publish articles of actual merit.

So what do you think? Bad form? Did I get too personal? Will people read as far as the word 'teetotalling' and just give up? Is my Fanta Fuelled Fury itself worthy of print? Am I allowed to blatantly rip off entire articles from the school paper? You tell me!


MEGA said...

It's not as good the second time you read it, plus the way it was laid out in the paper it seemed to lose it's bite.

Mega said...

By the way I would'nt call the lodge a shitty nightclub, its class when ur drunk

cait k. said...

I would expect nothing less of you dear friend. I think I may have forgotten how brutal you can be at times. Nonetheless, enjoyed the entry, as always.

Miss you!