Real Men of Genius
By Ned Wicker
The Budweiser people always come up with funny ads and the “Real Men of Genius” campaign is particularly funny, although I do prefer the lizards. But the campaign should be based upon the lives of real people and I have a good candidate. I was reading an on-line newspaper this morning and there it was.…start the music.
At two in the morning, police pull a man over on a 55-mph, two-lane county highway. They had been following for a while and noticed that the brake lights were on continuously, so they decided to check it out. A 44 year-old man and his 12 year-old son were in the car, only it was the boy behind the wheel, not dad.
"He's driving 'cause I had a little too much to drink. And he needs to learn how to drive sometime," he told the officer, according to the report. A little too much to drink in this case was a .15. The limit is .08. But the “Real Men of Genius” are always thinking. Dad is drunk, so he let’s the boy drive. The fine for allowing an unauthorized minor to drive is $114, while the fine for drunken driving would have been about $740. Even drunk, dad might have been thinking, but probably not.
The police called the man’s wife and she came and got him. You can imagine the ride home. What are you doing? What were you thinking? You get drunk and a 12 year-old boy drive on a dangerous highway?
This lapse of self-control, judgment and common sense is not uncommon to the alcoholic. Endangering the life of a 12 year-old boy is of no particular consequence. Dad probably thinks he was doing the right thing.
How many times has this man not had his son with him and drove home while intoxicated? How many times has he avoided calamity, an accident, or run-ins with the law just because he wasn’t caught?
Maybe this is just situational ethics. Nothing bad happened so it’s ok. The problem with situational ethics is we make an assumption that there is solid basis for the ethical decision, so the standards by which these decisions are judged are sliding. Allowing a 12 year-old to drive is not ethical.
Getting drunk and driving is not ethical. Our man of genius didn’t call home, didn’t get a ride from a friend and he didn’t call a cab. No he put the life of his son in jeopardy because he wanted to drink. Drinking was more important than family, more important than public safety and sadly, or thankfully, the only thing that stopped this man was the police. Will he do this again? Why not?
He’ll probably pay the $114 fine without argument. It’s a slap on the wrist. His wife will get mad at him, but she’ll probably get over it because she did in the past. He’ll probably tell his friends all about it and brag about how his boy drove the car on the highway.
After all, the boy has to learn how to drive sometime. Never mind waiting for driver’s education when he’s in high school. It’s a macho right of passage thing.
Now I ask you, will this man go into treatment after such a potentially deadly situation? Other than dealing with his wife and lightening his wallet, has he come to the realization that something very serious is going on?
He’ll pay the fine and maybe admit that he made a wrong decision. The real issue to be considered is what will happen the next time he gets drunk and needs to find a way home.
Alcoholism robs people of their capacity to reason, so a dreadful decision can be made as easily. As you can see, alcoholism and drug addiction are family diseases.
This man’s boy and his wife suffer because he chooses to drink. His choices, his behaviors in this situation were regulated by the alcohol and he was no more in control than a curious bystander might be gawking at the scene of an accident.
When you make the decision to allow a little boy to drive you home on a dark, two-lane highway with a posted speed limit of 55, your life is out of control. The alcohol is in control and your life is unmanageable.
What does the real man of genius to next?
Here is another Alcohol Story:
Too Much Alcohol
One of the more common excuses offered by alcoholics and drugs addicts in defense of their behavior is:
“Leave me alone, let me drink, I’m only hurting myself.”
That’s simply not true.
The disease goes far beyond the individual, as it has a dramatic impact on the immediate family and the community at large.
Here’s a case in point about a man who was stopped in a local suburb on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Police received a complaint that a driver swerved up on a curb.
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