Other Opinion: Alcohol sales are up during pandemic; we have wisdom to share


America, we think it may be time for an intervention. We’ve noticed you’ve been drinking more lately. According to market research from Nielson, retail alcohol sales are up 23.6% during the pandemic. Hey, we get it. These are stressful times. Besides the global pandemic, there has been an attendant global economic recession. There are racial injustices and protests against them. There were murder hornets. The Olympics were postponed. Beirut blew up. Australia caught fire. Kobe died. Last week, there were fire tornadoes. Did you know about fire tornadoes? Only in 2020 could there be fire tornadoes.

Oh, yeah, and it’s an election year. So we have that to look forward to.

So we understand the urge to throw up your hands and throw back a cold one. George Jones sang, “Maybe some have drinking problems, while others have problems enough to drink.” In 2020, it sure feels like we’re all in the latter category.

We also realize that we’re a newspaper, not your mom. So we can’t really tell you what to do. But if you’re going to turn to booze to cope with the train wreck that is 2020, we, like your mom, might just offer some of our best unsolicited advice.

The great British journalist and theologian G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.” Turns out, that advice is supported by modern psychology. Betsy Paul, a licensed professional counselor in Grapevine, said disconsolate drinking tends to be an escape from hard reality whereas celebratory drinking is an embrace of happy truths.


“Drinking when you are miserable acts only as a distraction and ultimately leads to poor choices and risky behavior. Drinking to celebrate something isn’t usually in excess and you leave levelheaded, not depressed,” Paul said.

King Solomon of biblical fame wrote, “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” It’s true. Alcohol has destroyed many a family, friendship and career.

On the other hand, American literary great William Faulkner said, “Civilization begins with distillation.” Faulkner seemed to have a particularly defeatist outlook when it came to drink. In his 1954 novel A Fable, he wrote, “War and drink are the two things man is never too poor to buy. His wife and children may be shoeless; someone will always buy him drink or weapons.”

We prefer the cheerier outlook of native Texan fantasy author Darynda Jones: “I like to see the glass as half full, hopefully of Jack Daniels.” Or the quip attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Though the Franklin Institute insists that Ben never said that, which is, if you’ll pardon the expression, a buzzkill.

In short, America, we encourage you to seek healthy outlets for dealing with 2020-induced stress. Exercise would be good, although don’t get us started about gyms right now and it’s too hot outside to go any farther than the end of the driveway to retrieve this paper. So perhaps it’s time to pursue one of those creative projects you’ve long dreamed about. Write that novel you’ve always known was inside you. And if you do, remember the pithy advice that is often (but apocryphally) attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “Write drunk; edit sober.”

©2020 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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