To get his idea for "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde", Robert Louis Stephenson didn't have to delve too far into the fantastic. He only needed to see what happens when some people have too much to drink. I'm not a complete teetotaller, no way would I suggest complete prohibition (look what happened when it WAS tried) but it's easy to see why some people are. If you want to see someone change their behaviour, quite scarily sometimes, watch what happens when someone can't handle drink.Come to that, it's probably just as well I never became too fond of it myself.
Back in the single partying days, I recall thinking there were about four things you could count on seeing at a party where the drink was flowing. There was the 'sad' drunk, who became maudlin or depressed and started crying all over the place, or threatening to end it all, and other people had to run around restraining and consoling them. (Could have been a bit of attention-seeking?). Then there was the 'sick' drunk who threw up in an inappropriate place, so someone has to clean it up. Then there was the 'silly' drunk, who tried playing chicken with cars on a busy road or proving they could jump from the top floor of a building. And lastly was the 'aggressive' drunk who wanted to fight everybody in sight. I once had to help subdue a guy, normally as quiet as a mouse, who pulled out a knife and swore he was going to carve someone up. Fun!
You've heard all the theories, about whether people just say what they really think when they're drunk or whether the alcohol distorts their mind. I don't know what the truth is, but this I do know: it can seriously scare you seeing the way some people carry on just because they've taken in something which is quite legal to sell. So I'm not suggesting banning it altogether, but it's easy to see why some people do! Lives get lost, either by stupid behaviour or aggression loosed when someone has had a few.
I blogged on this subject once a few months ago. The alcohol manufacturing industries must seriously hate the thought of a Christian revival. It would reduce their business to a fraction of its present rate, and cut into the amount of work for casualty surgeons, nurses, tow-truck drivers, ambulance paramedics, lawyers, police, glaziers replacing broken windows, auto-repair businesses... costly little habit, that drinking!
It is boring to become a self-righteous moralist, telling other people how to live. And I need to mind my own manners, not comment on everyone else's behaviour. But I had to say: if you want to see a real-life Jekyll/Hyde transformation, you only have to be around when some people start drinking.
It tells you something if people have to soak away their senses to cope with life, too. There must be something missing. God help us to see what it is.