Throwing pigs out of blimps
April 9, 2015
Like most people this time of year, I'm busy breaking my New Year's Resolution. April seems to do that to us. The gym starts emptying out, the drive-through lines increase and the white snow of Jan.1 begins to melt away as the rivers of vice overflow with pure intentions unrealized. It's hard. Even the verbiage is daunting. Resolution. It's just so damn permanent. We basically say to ourselves that as of midnight, with a belly full of champagne and a head full of last year's shortcomings, we are going to suddenly become unscathed by the one thing we are overly susceptible to. It's a cute sentiment, but an uphill battle my friends. As Oscar Wilde once said, "The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it."
My mother has a simple solution. She doesn't make lofty promises to herself at the stroke of midnight. Rather, she "gives up" the same thing every year: Stop throwing pigs out of blimps. Not the best example of willpower but it's certainly an attainable goal. And believe me when I say that she sleeps well at night.
This year I decided that I was going to take a 60-day break from alcohol. It wasn't that things had become unmanageable. But I knew drinking was a distraction that affected three main things: Health, money and career. So I pledged to stop the libations and focus on focusing.
The first few weeks were great. I was exercising and eating better. I felt great every morning. I had a pocket full of money and I wondered why I hadn't done this sooner. But around Day 20 it began to dawn on me just how pervasive alcohol is on this country. It is our true National Pastime. We drink at special occasions and we drink out of boredom. We drink when together with close friends and we drink to feel comfortable around strangers. We drink when we win, we drink when we lose and we drink when the game gets rained out. Everywhere I turned, from interstate billboards to happy hour sandwich boards, was a blatant push to indulge. Trying to teetotal in our culture (without a deep inner-fear of eternal damnation, which I admittedly lack) required me to put on the blinders. I was forced to say "no" more times than a virgin on prom night and the ever-present glow of the neon Bud sign was definitely outshining the Pink Cloud.
But what really got me was the hypocrisy of it all. To point, Miller Lite has a feature on its packaging, a perforated tab that allows you to poke a hole beside the mouth of the can, which enables the consumer to "chug" the beer. It's a built-in device that allows you to bypass the normal physics of pouring liquid from a can so that we can shove it through our livers at a much faster rate. The company claims the feature is meant to improve pouring the beer into a glass, but I call shenanigans. If you are older than the age of 21 and lack the motor skills required to pour beer from a normal can, foam isn't your biggest problem. Take one trip to Panama City Spring Break and it's quite clear Miller's target demographic. And at the bottom of the can, in barely legible lettering, reads, "Please Drink Responsibly." To be clear, anyone who utilizes the Chug Button on a can of beer doesn't have the desire or ability to "Drink Responsibly." It's like giving an inmate a hacksaw but telling him it's a paperweight.
Needless to say, I didn't make it the full 60 days and I'm OK with that. I came to realize that the deck was stacked against me from the beginning and that I'm merely a bleary-eyed David trying to withstand the Goliath of marketing and peer pressure. So I've revised my 2015 Resolution. I've simplified my goals and am proud to say the new one is still very much intact. Because I didn't throw a pig out of a blimp today. And all I can do is take it one day at a time.
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Peyton Clarkson is a stand-up comedian. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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