Cheers, it’s done.

Why do I get up so fucking early every day? Because I can’t sleep anymore. 5 a.m. today. Out of bed by 5:30, on the bike at 5:45, gym by 6, then hit hit hit and crunch crunch crunch for 45 minutes, 15 more minutes home, then eggs and shower and drive downtown and work work work and home home home and walk the dog and now we’ve fast-forwarded to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, and if anyone needs anything from me, this is what you’re going to get:

Not bloody much.

Seriously, though. Finally the college-drinking package is dropping, and you can read the main story here. Related stories are here and here. I’ll be interested in your reaction. Is this blowing the lid off nookie, or is it news to you? We went to four schools; three have had alcohol-related deaths in the last year, which I find astonishing. Ohio University had a solid rep as a party school, and there was plenty of drinking, and plenty of drunkenness, but I don’t recall anyone going to the hospital, much less dying. You tell me.

Read, digest, react, I’ll be back tomorrow when I’ve had more rest.

Posted at 5:20 am in Current events |

32 responses to “Cheers, it’s done.”

  1. alex said on September 29, 2015 at 6:52 am

    When I was in college, you went home and slept off your alcohol poisoning. You didn’t bother the hospital with it. Sheesh, these ‘copter kids. They want trigger warnings when the biology prof is about to discuss evolution and want the room spins to go away as soon as the party’s over. Poor babies.

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  2. David C. said on September 29, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Ta-Nehisi Coates received a MacArthur genius grant. Right wing heads explode in three, two, one…–and-surprise–24-fellows/2015/09/28/f93bb6ba-6152-11e5-9757-e49273f05f65_story.html

    I commuted to community college and got my bachelor’s piecemeal over several years, so I have no idea what the drinking scene was back then. It’s sad but probably true that the nose to the grindstone kids who study hard don’t do as well as the ones out making social connections.

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  3. Julie Robinson said on September 29, 2015 at 7:40 am

    I remember keeping a wine notebook, where I would write my impressions on the different wines we tried. It sounds positively quaint in comparison. It must have been incredibly depressing to research and write this series.

    Ta-Nehesi Coates won a MacArthur, as did Lin-Manuel Miranda, the young playwright/composer of the amazing hip-hop musical Hamilton and one of my faves. Congrats to them both.

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  4. Suzanne said on September 29, 2015 at 7:48 am

    The thing is that so many of the parents expect the ridiculous drinking, as least quite a number that I have talked to in the past ten years or so. It’s send them off to college with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge and stories of mom & dad’s glory days of the fun they had drinking in college and the expectation that their kids will do the same. I don’t think many of them understand the drinking culture has changed and has gotten more intense.

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  5. ROGirl said on September 29, 2015 at 7:51 am

    In trying to get beyond my WTF reaction to the draw of drinking to the point of passing out in the street and risking death (I’m a cheap drunk, didn’t feel the need to repeat the puking and hangovers on a regular basis), and wondering how and why this has become more widespread among college students, I have been thinking about the parallels between the rise of binge drinking in the era of the increased awareness of the dangers of alcohol, and the rising levels of obesity in the era of increased awareness of nutrition and the importance of healthy, mindful eating.

    I think the contradictions between awareness and behavior are exploited by the food industry, alcohol producers and their marketing efforts to sell highly processed products in ever-increasing varieties. Sugar, fat, carbs and booze will always be more attractive and lucrative than fresh fruits and vegetables and quinoa.

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  6. nancy said on September 29, 2015 at 8:06 am

    I’ve been thinking about this stuff for weeks now. Honestly, I don’t know where the corner was turned from drink-and-get-drunk to drink-and-get-as-drunk-as-possible-as-fast-as-possible-and-puke-and-rally. It was impossible not to see these kids as children, not just because I have one this age, but because, like children, they play games — drinking games. You don’t just get to the party and open a beer and socialize. You get to the party, take one at high speed through the beer bong, then do some sort of shot-slamming thing with other people, then take a peppermint patty: Kneel before the guy with the peppermint vodka, who pours a glug or two in your mouth, and some other person squirts some chocolate syrup in there. Shake your head and swallow. FUN.

    But honestly, in all the talk about sexual assault on campus, this topic needs to be front and center alongside it.

    More later. Troubleshooting pages.

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  7. basset said on September 29, 2015 at 8:18 am

    rare for us to go out two nights in a row but one of my beatle fan friends had tickets to see Peter Asher’s “Memoir of the 60s and Beyond” show… quite good actually, 2 1/2 hours of live band, video and audio clips, photos, stories.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 29, 2015 at 8:21 am

    I’m going to be curious to see (haven’t read ’em yet) if the drinking age move to 21 from 18 played a role. When half the student body is legal to drink, and half aren’t, you put college administrators in a stupid and complex bind. Which, I’ve long suspected, has had the unintended consequence of creating social pressures to binge when and where you “can,” which carries right on along after you no longer “have” to.

    But I could be wrong.

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  9. coozledad said on September 29, 2015 at 8:48 am

    It took me a while to figure out how powerfully psychoactive a drug alcohol is. The odd thing is the experience of alcohol doesn’t vary much among individuals, or from episode to episode, like other euphorics or hallucinogens.

    It’s not fun in and of itself, unless you’d consider valium fun. And there’s a thin line between the social drug phase of the experience and the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton phase, or the Jim Morrison phase.

    Schools need to give kids required semester long drinking classes and tell them about the miracle of water, food, and delayed absorption. But if you go to a frat to try and have fun, you’re mostly just going to get fucked over anyway.

    I never saw the attractions latent in the predatory dumbass culture that surrounds sport. But I couldn’t figure out the predilection for add-a-beads or pink and lime green menswear either. These drinking games are the rugby pitches from which middle management and fully formed Republicans will crawl, deeply damaged, prediabetic and fucking obnoxious.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 29, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Somehow this was sad all in its own unique way, from the chief medical officer of the UM hospital: “I hope for not-very-exciting games, held early, and in bad weather. It makes a huge difference for the emergency department.”

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  11. nancy said on September 29, 2015 at 8:59 am

    If anyone’s keeping a Shit Coozledad Says file, I want this line in there, starred and with a bullet:

    These drinking games are the rugby pitches from which middle management and fully formed Republicans will crawl, deeply damaged, prediabetic and fucking obnoxious.

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  12. nancy said on September 29, 2015 at 9:23 am

    And if you want a video accompaniment, I’d recommend the I’m Shmacked YouTube channel. See why campus administrators despair of ever creating a recruitment video as magnetic as one of these.

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  13. Charlotte said on September 29, 2015 at 9:51 am

    “My” Audrey has tried to explain the complicated approach Beloit has taken to drinking — seems to boil down to trading a blind eye turned to underage drinking for implicit agreement by the students not to kill themselves with it. And the only “zero tolerance” policy is that you call for an ambulance if someone drinks themselves into alcohol poisoning. She said they did a lot of training freshman year on alcohol poisoning. You won’t get expelled for getting someone help, but you might for not getting someone help. Which is sort of how they were when I was there — don’t be stupid was the motto. Our caveat was they wouldn’t allow the town cops on campus to search for drugs, but we had to agree not to buy/sell from locals.
    The really disturbing thing she’s been dealing with is the number of girls who use getting blind drunk as a way to bypass the abstinence training in their heads — all this abstinence shit has really messed with the idea of consent. Because if you believe that giving consent = you’re a slut, a) you drink to the point where you can deny your own desire, and b) you won’t get contraception because that means you’re planning to have sex = slut. She says she drives too many girls to PP too often to get PlanB.

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 29, 2015 at 10:28 am

    The short bios are a stark reminder that I’ve wasted my life. But I get to share the planet with these folks (and y’all), so I guess we make the most of that!

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  15. Deborah said on September 29, 2015 at 10:50 am

    The puking and the hangovers were the detriment for me after the few times I over indulged to that degree. Throwing up is a really unpleasant experience to me.

    21 shots on your 21st birthday, good Lord! And the games are weird. How can that be fun? Strange culture.

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  16. Bitter Scribe said on September 29, 2015 at 10:56 am

    This is tangential, but I can’t help it: That “blowing the lid off nookie” quote really irritated me. Yes, I get that the Albert Brooks character in that movie was supposed to be an annoying know-it-all, but they could have given him something else to disparage besides sexual assault.

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  17. MichaelG said on September 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I just clicked on Jeff’s link to the MacArthur fellows. Forty plus years ago I used to date a woman named Mimi Lien. Not the same one.

    I sort of sat there with my mouth open while reading Nance’s Bridge story. I went to the University of Illinois at Champaign and it wasn’t exactly a dry school and football Saturdays didn’t much resemble temperance meetings but holy shit! The stuff that goes on today is way beyond anything I saw or experienced and, believe me, I was drinking it up with the best of them – in that early sixties context. It didn’t seem to be anywhere near as self-destructive as the activities Nance recounts. Lordy!

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  18. Kirk said on September 29, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Quit picking on the frat rats, Nancy. They’re just upstanding do-gooders who have serious anti-drinking rules. And their father is a lawyer.

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  19. Deborah said on September 29, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I remember going to a family reunion not long ago where one of my cousin’s kids told this long drawn out story that everyone else thought was hilarious about how he and his sister went to a University of Nebraska game in Lincoln, totally smashed out of their minds. They were obviously still in high school so they got picked up by the police, but some family friends of theirs (adults who had high school kids of their own) who happened to be at the game had somehow intervened and got my cousin’s kids out of being in trouble with the cops. These family friends were at our family reunion and the storytelling kids gave the folks who helped them out a giant bottle of booze as a thank you present. Everyone was yucking it up big time, no one seemed to get the problems inherent in these behaviors, at all.

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  20. Dexter said on September 29, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    I thought maybe salvia would sort-of replace the alcohol binges for the need to get really fucked-up quickly…now we never hear of salvia anymore.
    It takes years to learn the hard lessons of hard-drinking. The current cable series moderated by Hell’s Angel George Christie is fascinating…the number one rule of The Angels was “Never Get Drunk”, believe it or not. Have a few drinks and taper off.
    Recently I heard Tommy Chong give an interview. Yeah, he really smokes pot, and has for many years, but he also told how he learned how to smoke that stuff by an old Black Jazz horn blower, who rolled pin joints and only took one or two tokes and garaged the roach for later. Tommy explained how marijuana was best used like that…it only takes a little to mellow out and tap into your creativity, and any more than the minimum ruined that gift…now all this I never knew, and when I smoked dope with my fellows we burned enough to really get all fucked up. In other words, we smoked like we drank. We drank and smoked like kids. And since I never adapted to sane adult ways to use drink and smoke, I had to just give it all up. Poof…gone. The only vice I had that I used in moderation was cigarettes. 2 packs a week . Quit them shits eleven years before I kicked the booze, and sometime in between I kicked the weed too.

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  21. Sandy said on September 29, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    I agree with Deborah: hangovers and vomiting turned me away from overindulging in alcohol. As for your lack of sleep, Nancy, I have discovered melatonin works wonders for my chronic insomnia.

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  22. David C. said on September 29, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Has anyone seen the inquisition the Rs gave the President of Planned Parenthood today? I feel I should go up to Appleton and tramp the dirt down on old Joe McCarthy’s grave. He or his ghost was whispering in their ears. What a disgrace.

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  23. alex said on September 29, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Just a thought. A lot of my friends who are parents have freaked out upon learning that their kids have smoked pot, never mind that they did the same thing in high school. And a lot of helicopter parents are that way because they remember being free range kids in the ’70s and having dropped acid and mescaline and all sorts of stuff and they don’t trust their own children to navigate the world and survive it relatively unscathed as they did. They also don’t want to be oblivious or in denial like their own parents were, or perceived by their kids that way at any rate. So perhaps they regard alcohol as a lesser evil and are relieved to think that’s the only thing their kids are into. Perhaps they even encourage it lest they be perceived by their kids as unhip. That’s my guess.

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  24. Deborah said on September 29, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    David C, yes I too have been following the Planned Parenthood hearings today. What a bunch of misogynist assholes those guys were doing the questioning. That might make them look good to their base but the rest of us are appalled.

    And Sandy, I too have chronic insomnia. I take melatonin and valerian root for it. It helps me fall asleep but not stay asleep. Valerian root smells like horse manure unfortunately, if you take the capsules it doesn’t smell as bad, the tea works better but it’s hard not to gag while drinking it.

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  25. Sherri said on September 29, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    I don’t get the drinking culture. But I especially don’t get the dad standing in the middle of the party thinking the whole thing is cool.

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  26. Suzanne said on September 29, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I don’t get mom & dad thinking the whole drinking thing is cool, but it’s the way it is. I have even see parents post videos or pics of well oiled kids on Facebook or the family pic at the college bar with copious drinks in n the table. It’s odd. Grow up parents. You’re supposed to sow your wild oats and then realize that your behavior was stupid, not encourage your kids to follow in your juvenile behavior.

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  27. A. Riley said on September 29, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Powerful, powerful stuff, NN. I would have had a hard time setting my emotions aside to observe & write as clearly as you do in this.

    And I hate to point this out, but once a copyeditor, always a copyeditor; I can’t help it; it’s like a disease. The verb “drink” has “drank” as the past and “drunk” as the participle; e.g, “they drank in the morning” and “by noon, they had drunk too much.” And there was a laying/lying miscue somewhere in there too.

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  28. Jolene said on September 29, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    In today’s hearing, you may have seen Cecile Richards and Jason Chaffetz arguing over a chart. Check out this comment, which demonstrates that Chaffetz was clearly distorting facts. Helps to click the link embedded in the article I’ve linked.

    I posted this to my FB page w/ the proviso that it’s best to assume that if Republicans are talking about Planned Parenthood, they are lying.

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  29. Jolene said on September 29, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    More evidence of GOP lying about Planned Parenthood. Carly Fiorina does not appear to be credible on any issue.

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  30. Charlotte said on September 29, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Was on a bus to the rental cars in Denver a couple of years ago with a mom from Ohio taking her daughter, who had turned 18 that day (wearing a tiara) and the girl’s friend to Boulder to get them moved in. And signed up for rush. When I confessed that my mom wouldn’t let me apply to Boulder because it was such a party school, the mom, completely seriously said “But what else is college for?”
    I’ve never been so glad to have left academia in my life. Also, suddenly understood the kind of parents like that Natalee Holloway, who let their pretty teenagers go on drinking vacations to the Caribbean (or spring break in Florida).

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  31. brian stouder said on September 29, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    I also read the Bridge articles, and was taken off my pins.

    Semi-unrelated (but curative) remark: this evening our 17 year old wanted to go buy gas, so she and our 20 year old son and 11 year old daughter all saddled up and went to the gas station….and of course all bought drinks (icy cold Diet Pepsi for me, icy cold Diet Coke for Shelby, icy cold Diet Mountain Dew for Grant, and gummy worms for Chloe).

    When we returned home, it was supper time, and then we all watched the Voice episode we recorded yesterday (and ff’d the commercials) – and it almost put a lump in my throat, sitting there with all the young folks and Pam – and all of us pretty much enjoying each other’s company.

    As Carly Simon says, these are the good old days, indeed

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  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 29, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Not to take away from Nancy’s stories, but to add to the riches we’ve got in learning opportunities:

    With the beautiful line from the doc about “…the gift of never judging…”

    One of a number of great moments in this truly moving & instructive interview: the secret of the van was one that got me. DON’T make it look medical if you want to effectively deliver medical services. How do you make the medical van effective? Listen to the piece. And he tells you how simple it really is to be safe & effective in dealing with mentally disturbed homeless people on the street — truly, 40 minutes worth spending with Dr. O’Connell.

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