News From the Front

Things could be worse. The last time a depression jumped on our necks you couldn’t legally buy alcohol. Instead, the average joe had to deal with an underground economy, the speakeasies and bootleggers; and it should be noted that that particular industry was the only one that truly boomed during the Great Depression.

Which leads me — by way of my own special brand of tortured logic — to believe that it up to we drunks to get this current economy back on its feet. If not us, who? Let’s be frank: teetotalers are a pessimistic and morbid lot. What do they care if the economy goes to hell? Their lives suck anyway, what’s one more shadow in a pit of gloom?

We drunks, on the other hand, are the very personification of optimism and hope. When Katrina smashed New Orleans and everything went to hell, which businesses remained open, which group kept their wits about them and organized havens of civility and order? The bars and the drunks, that’s who.

Historically, drunks have always held high the torch of hope where others fell into despair and whimpered for mercy. Sometimes it meant setting things on fire with that torch, but that was just to wake those gloomy bastards up. Yes, it is plain we must march (or stagger, if we’re really stimulated) forth and inspire the country with our natural confidence and cheer. We must be liquored-up Churchills defiantly winging empty bottles at the encroaching darkness; we must be rum-emboldened John Paul Joneses informing the bouncers of doom that while they may well have us in a masterful headlock, we have not yet begun to fight.

The watchwords of the day should not be “Who is John Galt?” but rather “Go tell it to the drunkards.” We’ll set them straight, especially if they’re buying.

That’s not to say the government can’t pitch in, and here’s how:

Allow drinking on the job. So long as there isn’t risk to life or limb involved, workers would be allowed to have at it while on the clock. A pint of beer on every desk, a bottle of vodka in every watercooler, a giddy smile on every face. A great fleet of portable bars manned by singing bartenders should roll through every office building and factory like great harbingers of hope. Imagine the inspiration and motivation this would unleash. Chaps would be storming into work 15 minutes early, practically demanding to get down to business.

Force bars to stay open 24/7. That whole “last call” thing plainly smacks of defeatism. Millions of new bartending, cocktail waitress and cab driver jobs would open up (I think we already have enough bouncers), and it would foster a real sense that the nation is ready to get rolling again, at any possible moment. It would create more opportunity for entrepreneurs to hatch those brilliant schemes that can only be incubated in bars, like topless golf courses and round-the-clock hovercraft service to Vegas. Instead of moping around at home, absorbing yet another horrific bummer from the black-hearted media, citizens would be out amongst their own, ferociously stimulating the economy. Not to mention each other.

Every worker receives a six-pack, jug of wine or bottle of liquor with each paycheck. The effect would be immediate. It would not only serve to rid the workforce of a great deal of stress, it would instill massive amounts of consumer confidence. There’s nothing like a skinful of booze to make you want to go out and spread some capital around. It would galvanize the shiftless into getting jobs. Not to mention the boost it would give the alcohol industry—did you know the US beer industry alone employs 1.8 million people? With a little effort we can surely double that.