Steps to stop a repeat of my mistakes
I have reached that stage in life where I regularly find myself coveting other men's pullovers and drooling over Fiona Bruce, although not necessarily at the same time.
I am not quite at the point of owning a saloon car with a box of mansize tissues perched on the parcel shelf but it can only be a matter of time before that happens too.
Two decades ago, in an era when every second person walked with a swagger and the Internet was something that fat kids surfed in cafes, I vowed that I would never turn into my parents.
Like millions of other one time teens, I once pledged that I would never make small talk with strangers about the weather nor would I enjoy the work of Tina Turner and I most certainly wouldn’t ever entertain shaking my head at the youth of today.
Every generation seems to be scornful of the antics of the one that follows it but I have always resisted temptation to be too po-faced about grunting teens and those who chronicle every aspect of their lives on social media. My view has always been that times change so we had all better get used to it.
The only exception I make is when I find myself wincing at the relationship today’s youngsters have with alcohol, not because it is anything new but because it is just as big an issue as it was when I had as much hair as Liam Gallagher.
Latest figures show that a quarter of 15-year-old boys and nearly a third of girls of the same age have admitted to being drunk at least twice in their lives. Roll the clock back a quarter of a century and I would have fallen into that bracket as would have nearly all of my mates, largely because buying booze underage was a much easier task than it appears to be today.
Back in the 1990s a friend’s brother’s paper driving licence was usually sufficient for any teen with a hint of bumfluff to get served at the local ‘offy’. Due to my height and an ‘older face’ I didn’t have to fall back on such tactics and regularly enjoyed an illicit drink in dimly lit parks at weekends.
Like legions of young drinkers both before and since I thought I was invincible until one night I consumed so much vodka that I ended up in accident emergency where I woke in a haze to be confronted by my furious mother. Although my lucky escape didn’t put me off drinking for life, it did serve as a permanent reminder that drink really is a demon when taken in excess.
Despite various campaigns over the years, the relationship between the young and the bottle seems to be still very strong, especially in young women. As a dad of a seven-year-old girl I may still have quite some time to go before I have to worry about Babycham disappearing from the drinks cabinet but I am still deeply concerned by the issue.
Much like cigarettes, there is an allure to alcohol and it really needs to be tackled with greater force than it has been in the past.
There is little money around in the public arena but some of that tiny pot would be well spent on a high profile campaign convincing this generation that their elders were wrong about the benefits of alcohol.
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