Alchohol and the legal drinking age

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Man has been carrying on a love story with alcohol since the first hops steamed past the sugar matter and turned acid into alcohol. That must have been a lively night by the campfire, to be sure. Impulse-driven cavemen with no cable and no Cavesports Illustrated quickly found practical uses for alcohol. It is possible that naturally occurring alcohols from cactus plants or accidental discovery of alcohol from improper storage resulted in some entertaining adventures. Those seeking to mimic the strange results of last night's brew probably figured out the essential elements to making alcohol when the berry harvest was in.

Thus the amusement factor of alcohol was born. However, man soon discovered uses for alcohol such as medicinal use of it during pain or injury, and also for the rush of adventurous feeling it gives its user. Drinking alcohol transforms a dull, unentertaining person into the life of the party. It also serves as a coping mechanism for periods of intense sadness or depressive mood alteration. Insecurity and anxiety are often spurs to drinking at any age. Alcohol is entrenched so deeply in popular culture its very inaccessibility has become an attraction.

Consumption of small amounts of alcohol in the pop culture are everywhere. Alcohol is regularly consumed for "Dutch courage", for quick daring in the face of risk or bodily harm. Token amounts of "stirrup cup" before fox hunting are drunk in brisk weather, and casks of brandy carried around the necks of St. Bernards, and the customary 'toast" is held over any cultural occasion of note. The presence and resonance of alcohol in significant human interaction cannot be doubted.

For a fabric of society to ride both rails of the "alcohol divide" is problematic. The fence-sitting offends those who would turn an understanding, if not quite complacent, eye on teenage legal drinking. Many observe that for a culture to endorse practices of alcohol consumption via one medium (such as film) and proscribe against them via others (with local state laws) reflects on the bifurcated nature of criticisms of underage drinking.

Caveman, dark age man, and humans in antiquity fighting battles, mammals, and each other probably developed a rapid appreciation for the transformative powers of alcohol on the body. Trying to forget bloody wounds, deal with life, stop and smell the roses, all these are moments alcohol enhances. It must have looked pretty good to cave dwellers bleakly expecting another day of struggle and strife to stay alive.

While opponents to teenage drinking claim dangerous behavior takes place, movies glamorizing drinking infuse cinematic culture. Anyone with a television knows drinking is an event, a milestone, and an elusive coming of age experience. To brace the public with a conflicting set of laws brings questioning and criticism of legal drinking laws in some areas, outright derision in others. Some states rampantly police highways with checkpoints, while others turn a blind eye to all but completely overt public underage drinking.

Modern living imbues similar pressures on individuals, and a quick shot of alcohol, ranging in strength from sherry to brandy is well known as a bracing refresher for ugly realities, harsh truths, and unpleasant consequences of everyday actions. Social pressures to use alcohol are prevalent, and consumption of alcohol is viewed as an imperative in many societies. This is part is a viewpoint that urges on premature consumption of alcohol. Still, alcohol consumption continues to augment the most important social functions and "tribal rites".

Yet the brain is hindered when drinking alcohol, which can take the mental stress and also halt depressive cycles and artificial periods of sobriety. For cavemen, coping with the stress of finding food, maintaining shelter, and wondering what the heck to do with that diamond shaped pigskin thing that threw straight when you curved it. Seeing the tribal elder suddenly fall off his feet or stutter his grunts must have established that amusement was to be had when the soured berry juice was drunk in the full moonlight.

Today's culture does much the same thing, in chosen environments set up to support the enjoyment of alcohol with consenting adults who know how to handle it. However, decades of unnecessary deaths drove certain political factions to pressure government change for legal purchase and consumption of alcohol. Binge drinking and purposeful serial drinking to get drunk is an acknowledged practice that legislators thought could be halted by changing laws.

Thus we live in a culture that legally abhors underage drinking while the base mores condone it. Thus the debate has been stemming for some time now whether the legal drinking limit is a necessary adjunct to modern living. Critics of teenage drinking claim it furnishes a gateway to addiction and drug abuse. yet many people drink over a lifetime and never become addicted, nor dangerous. Dangerous behavior is linked to many substances, and problems such as psychological or conditions do not solely stem from alcohol.

Challenges to the basic preventative wisdom inherent in the legal drinking law come in many forms. Perhaps when the culture as a whole can see that alcohol is a substance with its own rules that affect every human being differently can a new age of alcohol tolerance and interaction begin. While some persons classify alcohol as a sedative hypnotic, others call it a culinary delight. Minors and their alcohol consumption should be legally brought alongside culturewide practices.

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