I’ve never really been sure what surprises people the most when I admit to certain things. It could be when I say I never had any kids and never really wanted any. Maybe it’s when I say I have no interest in alcohol. And then there’s the mind blowing revelation that I can’t drive a straight shift.

I can explain all three. I was an only child in a single parent home and the idea of a big family never occurred to me. As for drinking, I knew way too many who did it growing up, and they always just looked so miserable. Why would you willingly live that way?

As for not being able to drive a manual transmission, I’ve never owned one and I think I’ve ridden in a car with one maybe twice in my life. A friend with an old jalopy did one time try to teach me the skills in an empty parking lot, but the less said about that, the

better.

I like to think if I’d ever had kids I would have been a good parent, but I’ve known great parents and, well, kids will be whatever they’re going to be. But I don’t miss having kids. Can’t miss what you never had and all that.

I don’t think I’ve missed a thing never being able to drive a straight shift.

And while I’ve never really understood the appeal of drinking alcohol, I have often wondered about the “bar experience.”

Or club experience, if you wish. You know, going somewhere to hang out with friends and not have to worry about things for a short period of time.

If the stories I’ve heard, and the popular entertainment I’ve ingested, have taught me anything, it’s that a person who doesn’t drink, is NOT welcome on a night out. We drag the fun down, I suppose. And bear witness to what inebriated people do.

But I did wonder if everybody was having fun without me. Then I would think of all the miserable drunks I saw growing up and figured I wasn’t. But still.

Well, all of us party pooping tee-totalers can now have all our questions answered.

Though most of us probably don’t have many to start with.

Something called “social wellness” is starting out in California (of course) and it offers all the fun of bars and nightclubs without the alcohol. Now, you party goers who never quit might wonder what’s the point? If you can’t get hammered and do stuff you’d never do sober, why bother?

Here’s the fun part, at least according to the story I read. A cocktail has been created that gives you the same buzzy feeling without any of the alcohol.

As soon as you stop drinking it, you’re good to go.

Why is this being done? After all, those who want to get drunk will and those who don’t will sit on their front porch watching the world go by and the twain will never meet.

Apparently, it’s a health concern.

Thanks to social media and the fact that age doesn’t seem to be as much of a barrier to friendship as it used to be (25 year olds don’t appear to consider 40 year olds as gross as my generation and previous ones did), those just starting the drinking life are getting to see what a lifetime (or just a couple of decades) does to a person. And they don’t like what they see.

According to a Nielsen survey, 50% of adults who drink want to cut back and 66% of millennials want to digest less fermented grain.

And the majority of those surveyed cited health, not wanting to end up like that guy/gal who looks 74 but is actually

38.

The guy who came up with this, a doctor named Jonathan Leary, said his was inspired after he helped so many alcoholics get, or try to get, back into shape after years and years of drinking alcohol to excess.

According to the story, excessive alcohol consumption “interferes with your brain’s communication pathways, can lead to heart problems, sabotages liver function, weakens and suppresses the immune system, can contribute to the development of certain cancers and the list goes on.”

The story also said sobriety is becoming cool. I guess. I’m still not being invited to any parties, but I’m probably too old now for anything to make me cool.

But, while I won’t be mistaken for being 30 years old, nobody is going to think I’m 30 years older than I actually am.

And that’s probably worth missing a few drinks. But I am curious about that non-alcohol cocktail.

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