One pillowcase to the wind
The commercial ended with a somber voice reminding the revelers to “Drink Responsibly.” It struck me as a bit forced, given that all the visuals of the commercial had suggested that the vodka was going to free us from our inhibitions into a sexy, if blurry Bacchanalia.
I was ambivalent about drinking until December 24th, 1978. That’s the day I loaded the little coffin in the back of our VW van. I drove the distraught mother to the free part of the cemetery where workers had pre-dug several graves in the grey dusty dirt. She shrieked as the workers unceremoniously stuck the coffin in the hole and threw the dirt on it. Her husband wasn’t there; he was drinking irresponsibly. In fact, the 3-year-old had died of malnutrition because his father drank; irresponsibly, mind you. A sense of injustice and righteous anger welled up in me.
In fact, the “drink responsibly” campaign is a good idea. Some people can, and do, drink responsibly; fighting the natural effects of the alcohol that works to destabilize their brains. The primary effect of drinking is that it clouds the brain, dulling our inhibitions. Which is good if you’re wanting to liven a party or a dinner, bad if you’re wanting to be self-controlled.
Beyond the fear of losing control and becoming irresponsible, beyond the danger to myself and other motorists, beyond my respect for those who have found they can’t drink responsibly, I want to stay sharp for the Spirit. I want to stay alert to the Divine Spirit who inhabits me, enabling me to love God and love my neighbor. When He nudges me I don’t want to be even “one pillowcase to the wind.” So I’ve determined to “Love responsibly,” totally abstaining. I know it means a loss of personal pleasure and personal experience. I give that up to love responsibly. I’m here for others, to love them responsibly; to deny my freedoms, for their freedom.