Alcohol doesn’t turn people into dickheads, dickheads turn to alcohol

I’ve always wondered why some people become such violent sods when drinking. My theory has long been that alcohol just brings out the more “authentic” you. So if you were violent when drunk, you were a violent person and used alcohol as an excuse. If you were promiscuous when drunk, you were a promiscuous person and used alcohol as an excuse.

Kate Fox (author of Watching the English, which should be required reading for everyone) has an interesting piece over at BBC offering a more subtle and more correct reading of why alcohol makes us act as we act.

To put it very simply, the experiments show that when people think they are drinking alcohol, they behave according to their cultural beliefs about the behavioural effects of alcohol… We become more outspoken, more physically demonstrative, more flirtatious, and, given enough provocation, some (young males in particular) become aggressive. Quite specifically, those who most strongly believe that alcohol causes aggression are the most likely to become aggressive when they think that they have consumed alcohol.

Our beliefs about the effects of alcohol act as self-fulfilling prophecies – if you firmly believe and expect that booze will make you aggressive, then it will do exactly that. In fact, you will be able to get roaring drunk on a non-alcoholic placebo.

My solution to all my problems: PRetirement

So, this got me thinking of an old favourite idea of mine.

I’m going to have to wait until I’m 25 to graduate from this Masters course, then I’ll probably be 28 or so by the time I’ve paid off my immediate, could-bankrupt-me, debt, by which point I should be comfortably, competitively placed in a career. When am I going to explore the world, start a business or do some volunteering?

When I’m old? Pffft, won’t be nearly as fun!

So what I propose is that we get rid or Retirement and from the ages of 18 to 30 we pay people the median wage to do with as they please. Travel the world, start a business, study non-stop, run for office, sleep all day, whatever. Then you hit 30 and work until you die, apart from holidays of course. We’d call it pretirement, geddit?

There are obvious logistical problems.

One would be a sharp spike in suicides around 30, another would be people finding they are utterly unable to adapt to working life (but if we can create nice little workers in school then we can do it to 30 year olds), there would also be more violence as young men are wont to fight, but aside from that it’d be brilliant.

Who’d sign up?