One for the Road

More news from bonkers Britain, and this time guidelines regarding a possible two-alcoholic-drink limit on customers who are accompanied by children (i.e. anyone under the age of 16) have been uncovered at pub-cum-restaurant chain Wetherspoons.

Sounds eminently reasonable to me but as you might expect, the backlash from toe rag customers has been vitriolic. It is apparently another ‘rule being imposed on the British people’ (as one less than supremely erudite chavette ventured into the mic of the roving reporter covering the story).

What a load of old toss.

Listen, I can sum up the situation quite succinctly in a few statements. Pubs are for adults not children. And if pubs do allow children, it should be to accompany parents for a meal. And – as in all circumstances – parents should be closely managing the behaviour of their children.

I cannot see what the controversy is, other than the fact that Spoons have become entangled in loco parentis. And you might be forgiven for assuming that this a Spanish phrase meaning mad parents.

What is it with a parent who cannot rock up anywhere without an alcoholic drink being screwed into their fist? Any social occasion involving children – the school fete, sports event, wherever, and the big-shot mummies and daddies will be larging it, clammy mitts affixed to cans of cider like their tawdry lives depended on it.

Perhaps they do really need a drink just to get through the day or evening in question, but is being a parent that bad? You would think that even one step towards intoxication or even impaired judgement would straight into Room 101 when in charge of minors?

Can’t these so-called parents wobble into a local pub for a meal without extending their illegibly tattooed hands towards an alcohol beverage?

Unfortunately, we do on this pleasant green isle have a troubled affiliation with booze. You would be hard-pressed to hear a story recounted of a good night out without some venerating reference to over-consumption. Personal experience or accomplishments will often be qualified by how alcohol played a part.

Either ‘I was bollocksed but held it well so it didn’t affect me’ (in which case why bother?) or ‘I was bollocksed and made a tit of myself’ (in which case why bother and then go on to tell everyone?). None of it stacks up when you evaluate it, but that doesn’t impede the monologue,

It’s as if people don’t quite feel they can cut it unless an allusion to a wee dram or three plays a starring role. Perhaps all-round libation facilitates conversations because nobody will ever uncover the extent to which the average person talks bollocks. So, by everyone agreeing to drink excessively, we can indemnify each other’s stupidity. Now that would make sense.

But what if someone refuses a drink, or worse still abstains? Oh Jesus, that will cause trouble. You are on a fast horse to Distrustville.

Perhaps your impending ostracization will be fuelled by a looming fear that you will let the cat out of the bag and expose the booze-artists as boorish morons? Heaven forfend,

At the end of the day though, will it all be worth it? The excessive consumption of alcohol is the elephant in the (NHS waiting) room for most individuals. By the time they start to see the symptoms, they’re already hardened to their fate (or at least their cirrhosed livers are) and past the point of no return.

And that’s not a call from me to an abstemious lifestyle. Far from it, but these man-children that camp out in pubs day-in-day-out and cannot take the family out for a meal without having another beer seriously need to sort their shit out. They’re an abject embarrassment both as parents and citizens.

If I ran a pub chain, I’d take the approach of supermarkets and not sell any alcohol to customers in the company of children. I’d also issue something a lot stronger than mere guidelines for parents who bring their toddlers into pubs and spend two hours running up and down after their little e-numbered-up scallies. It puts you right off your stroke. Or at least have a cordoned-off area so that parents with children can attend to their principal responsibility – being parents and not sinking five pints on a Saturday lunchtime.

These kids though are sadly pissheads-in-training. Their earliest memories will be of Mum or Dad necking an alcoholic drink on each and every occasion, so their own transition to methodical inebriation won’t be too much of a stretch. Pub regularity will be the norm not the exception. Still, at least Mum and Dad won’t be alive to see it, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

Credit where credit’s due though. You have to admire that these families bring all the kids and the nursery paraphernalia with them to the pub, have a hearty meal, and then walk it off back home afterwards.

At least they’re not drink-driving and after pissing off half the town then putting the other half (as well as their own kids) in danger.

unsplash-logoRoman Synkevych

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