Remembering Being Around People Who Could Drink And Remain Civil

When I was kid growing up in a small town on the east coast of Florida, which was about the same size as Dickinson, I remember being around people who could drink alcohol and remain civil.

The circle of friends of my mother and father were mostly attorneys, accountants, appraisers, real estate brokers, insurance brokers, business owners, salespeople, and a few farmers.  Back then, most of these people only worked eight hours per day.  When their work day was done, all of these people would go visiting, socializing, and drinking.

Whether at a bar, restaurant, the beach, someone’s boat, someone’s home, someone’s vacation home, hobby farm, or a private club, this circle of people always adhered to a code of conduct:  no physical fighting, no threatening arguments, no outright personal insults, no vulgar or crude language in front of other people’s wives or children, no getting out of control and becoming dangerous.

From when I was about 3 years old, to when I was about 30 years old and moved away, I can’t remember anyone of this group of people ever going too far out of bounds on these rules of behavior.  Especially, there was never any physical fighting.

There were more than several reasons why these people all behaved themselves, even after drinking alcohol for hours:  They were doing well professionally and they didn’t want to jeopardize their career by alienating other people;  they could possibly be disbarred or lose their professional license for misconduct;  they could lose their professional position for misconduct; they had or were beginning to accumulate a large amount of financial assets which they could lose if they ever had a lawsuit judgment against them for injuring another person.

In Florida, most people had the attitude towards life, that if they didn’t have to work, they wouldn’t.  If they didn’t have to work, they would gladly spend the rest of their life fishing, sailing, boating, surfing, playing golf, playing tennis, and walking on the beach.  People sought to have as much free time for recreation, having fun, and socializing as they possibly could.

As a kid, my parents and their friends would spend all day on the weekends and vacation, at the beach, on the river, on the ocean, at a vacation home, or a hobby farm, eating, cooking out, and drinking alcohol, drinking all day.  I could swim, fish, surf, play with animals, eat, or help do something.  I was sometimes asked to make drinks, which were mostly rum and coke, with sugar, and lime.

I was welcome to drink any alcohol that I wanted, and I was given beer from when I was about eight years old, but I didn’t like alcohol or beer when I was a little kid, or even when I was a teenager.  My sister on the other hand, she liked to drink alcohol from when she was about 13 or 14 years old.  But keep in mind, that I am trying to explain that all of the adults, and even their teenage children, were drinking alcohol all day long.

In this group of my parents friends and their children, with everyone drinking alcohol all day long, for days in a row on vacation, there were no physical fights, there were no out of control arguments, there were no angry drunks, there wasn’t any exchange of nasty insults, there was no crude or vulgar behavior, there were no vehicle accidents, and there were only minor physical accidents that were usually funny, like someone falling off a boat dock into the water, or someone falling over backward in a lawn chair from laughing too hard, which just added to the entertainment and laughter.

In Dickinson, North Dakota on the other hand, living here for me is like the movie Planet Of The Apes, Deliverance, or The Grapes Of Wrath.  I could say that I don’t know what is wrong with the people here, but that isn’t true, I do know what is wrong with the people here.  When the people in Dickinson get a hold of alcohol, the majority of them turn mean, they become hostile, confrontational, and wanting to physically fight people.

Here is the difference:  instead of being around people who feel that they are doing well professionally, most of the people here are just hourly workers who feel powerless, vulnerable, taken advantage of, and they are angry.  Instead of being around professional people who do not want to alienate others, most of the people here are just hourly workers who do want to alienate others because they are tired of being told what to do and they are angry.

Instead of being around people who are being careful in order to not lose their professional license or position through misconduct, most of the people here are just hourly workers who feel like they want to misbehave when they are not at work because they are tired of being told what to do and they are angry.  Instead of being around people who have a large amount of financial assets and are fearful of being sued, most of the people here are just hourly workers who feel that they have nothing, they are angry about it, and they want to fight somebody because they are angry.

One more thing about Dickinson that is so different from where I grew up, the Police in Dickinson feel like they have the right, and that it is their job to stalk everyone in Dickinson to try to arrest them for something, anything, especially DUI.  But since most of the people in Dickinson are just hourly workers, they pretty much are just like livestock or prisoners as far as the Police are concerned.

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