Absurdities

“Looking to get drunk fast?”

I stared at the wall in Marillac. My first thought was, “Well, not right now, I’m in class, but you know that, Marillac.” My second thought was, “Why is St. John’s asking me this question?”

It had to be some sort of trick. I looked again at the flyer inside the case on the wall. Underneath the question was a picture of a bunch of cans of Four Loko. There was a bunch of small writing underneath it but it was definitely too long to read, so I looked at the bigger ?writing on the bottom:

“IT’S NOT WORTH IT.”

I got the point. Four Loko = bad. Easy enough to understand; being 22 years old I’ve seen Four Loko in plenty of bars and liquor stores. Not only are we being encouraged not to drink Four Loko, New York is also looking to join ?a list of states banning the drink.

First of all, Four Loko tastes terrible. It’s like a drunk unicorn peed in a tin can then the urine was combined with a massive amount of super-concentrated grape Kool-Aid mix. Or like a melted lollipop mixed with paint thinner. Just really, really awful stuff. As for it being dangerous? Are there people out ?there who don’t think it’s dangerous?

Lawmakers and concerned parents everywhere are worried about the impact this drink is having on “young people,” as we are usually referred to.

However, we need to face it: sometimes we make dumb decisions. You make them, I make them, and I probably make more than most people at St. John’s. Why? We’re college students.

On average, college students make more dumb decisions per day than anybody else in the world, save people on VH1 reality shows. I once stuck my finger in a light socket because I hadn’t before and I wanted to know what it would feel like. It felt like I stuck my finger in a light socket. I did this because I am a college student, and I ?periodically make dumb decisions.

I love America. I believe in individual freedom, and at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, Four Loko probably should be banned. Alcohol is inherently dangerous and is responsible for a lot of bad or stupid behavior – but it can also be enjoyed responsibly. St. John’s has alumni events that serve alcohol, wines and beers are matched to certain kinds of foods to enhance the flavors of a meal, and Jesus used to make it spontaneously generate.

The biggest problem with Four Loko is that it is designed and packaged in the worst possible way. It’s sold in huge cans, and yet has an alcohol content of 12 percent. If you drink one, it’s the equivalent of having nearly five beers, yet you’ve only consumed 24 ounces of liquid. It’s especially appealing to college students, including those who are underage, because it’s flavored like all of the things that only a few years before was the only way for us to get buzzed – a sugar high from candy. Fruit punch, orange, grape – it’s like a bag of Skittles in a can. It plays on our nostalgia for childhood but also satisfies our desire to be grown up. When you associate drinking alcohol with being grown up and mix that with immaturity, well, I hate to agree with the politicians on this one, but you have a drink that is truly too dangerous to be ?on the market. It’s that simple.

Of course, if politicians actually cared about our safety, they would either raise the drinking age or take down the legal limit of alcohol you are allowed to drink before driving, which has been proven in various countries ?to cut down on drunk driving.

But the fact is the alcohol industry has a lot of cultural influence and is a moneymaking machine, and it can be enjoyed responsibly (a reminder from St. John’s: if you’re old enough, enjoy it off-campus).

I never thought I would be somebody promoting the removal of an alcoholic beverage from bars and stores, but Four Loko and drinks like it are dangerous. If drinking one is a bad decision, drinking two is just downright stupid. ?And trust me, I know stupid.

I once snorted orange Gatorade mix off the hood of a dirty car. My first concert was Savage Garden. I used a bottle of bleach to do my first load of laundry. I paid money to go see The Happening. I ate at Montgoris every day for two years.  If that doesn’t ?convince you, I don’t know what will.