We’re All a Bunch of Monkeys!
There’s an interesting study out there where some cockeyed scientists put a group of monkeys in a room with a ladder that has a banana on top of it. As soon as a monkey would climb to grab the banana, the scientists, being the jerks they are, sprayed all the monkeys with a hard cold stream of water. After a couple attempts, the monkeys finally gave up and didn’t climb the ladder to get the banana anymore. It wasn’t worth everyone getting the hose again. So for fun, the scientists started switching out the “experienced” monkeys and replacing them with new ones.
The new monkeys, not knowing any better, saw a banana and went to get it. Seeing this, the “experienced” monkeys would swiftly beat the shit out of the new monkey in fear of getting hosed. The new monkey quickly learned its lesson and no longer went to retrieve the banana. One by one, all the “experienced” monkeys were swapped out for new ones. When a new monkey was introduced to the group and went for the banana, the “newly experienced” monkeys would again, beat the shit out of them – even when none of the monkeys knew why they were beating each other up in the first place.
It’s a Metaphor Folks!
In this analogy gang, we are the “new” monkeys. Drinking in public is the banana, all the “experienced” monkeys are gone and the danger of getting the hose has passed. This may be slightly optimistic, but you get the point.
At one point in time, people were stupid, gangs ran rampant around alcohol and there wasn’t a decent way to control any of this. As a result, the Government cracked down on everything and said “Okay everyone, you can’t learn to play nice? We’re taking your toys away.” Drinking was altogether banned for a bit. After a few years of what I consider unfathomable torture, they allowed people to drink again but under strict guidelines and definitely not out in the open.
Everyone’s talking about it!
Lately, drinking in public has been a hot topic around the beer community. At least it’s been a big deal here in BC and I’m sure elsewhere around the world. In Vancouver, our local CAMRA chapter put on an interesting protest where a bunch of them went out and popped a cold one to show how most responsible citizens act when drinking in public. They were so bold as to inform the Media, the Police and anyone who might care. Do you know what happened? Nothing! A bunch of people showed up, drank a few beer like responsible adults and left, taking their garbage with them. (see Globe and Mail news article here) Wild!
In Toronto, Ontario, the conversation has evolved much further than a quiet protest. They’ve even gone so far as to propose beer trucks showing up to public parks as a way to reinforce socially acceptable behavior and promote local business. This kind of forward thinking is quite amazing (Read about it here)
Around the World
In 2007 I spent a year in New Zealand and I remember many a time that we headed out to the park with a six-pack to chill, throw a disk around and hang with friends. This was so normal that local homeless folks would come by to grab our empties for us. There are a number of cities and countries around the world that allow for responsible drinking in public as well. Do you know what they have experienced with this? Pretty much nothing aside from people enjoying themselves and acting responsibly. There will always be bad apples and there will always be idiots (probably named Chad) that will abuse the rules. Why not create laws that target these idiots instead punishing us all?
In a country that is on the verge of voting to legalize marijuana… why aren’t we approaching beer this way too? I guarantee that you’d rather have me quietly drinking a beer beside you at the park bench over Steve, blowing his smoke in your face… But hey, that’s another argument for another time.