Hello, my name is The Jules and I like drinking alone, until bedtime, when I find I have to bounce off the walls on my way up to bed, giggling inanely at my own burps.
There. I said it. Thank you. Such a relief. Now I can start to . . .
. . .well, carry on regardless actually.
You see, shockingly, I'm not that bothered by my current levels of alcohol consumption. This goes against current media reports that we must all cut back on our booze as it is ruining society and contributing to 'Broken Britain', the cliché à la mode that automatically makes me want to punch the person who says it, or vote for the party that they're not a member of.
And we should all take notice of the media due to their pristine record of abstinence when it comes to recreational drug and alcohol consumption, shouldn't we?
No, we should make up our own minds. So, in the spirit of evidence based living, I conducted a completely objective poll at work to see if anyone else liked getting sozzled on the rare nights you get to yourself, with the aim being to see if I drink too much (sociologically speaking, not physiologically, cos most people drink too much if we're thinking in strictly medical terms), and the results were surprising.
First I asked Clare, who stared at me as though I spent my spare time biting the heads of terrapins before telling me "You need to get help." Then I polled my mate Phil, who reported that, yes, he does enjoy a quiet night in, with the telly and some booze, slowly getting four or five sheets to the wind.
So there you have it. Although not exactly a randomised control trial in the strictest sense of the term (i.e. at all) we can use the power of statistics to conclude that 50% of the UKs population like getting drunk alone whilst in their own house, in their own time.
Of course, I'm a happy, chatty drunk, whilst Phil is a mean drunk, so whilst I can talk to Bert the house rabbit about quantum physics, which I suddenly understand with a clarity that eludes me during sobriety (very good listeners rabbits, you can tell by the ears), Phil has to fight a door.
Alcohol has a bad press at the moment, due to the countrys current passion for binge drinking. It's a real problem, apparently, and the only way to combat it is, so they tell us, to put the price up.
Er . . . is it though? If alcohol was more expensive, would it make any difference to my (and therefore my countryfolks) habits? Well no. I don't usually drink to he point of cerebral clobberation anyway. And neither do most people in reality. It's an occasional thing.
These days, I am well-off enough to afford a constant supply of my favourite tipple, which is single malts of various denominations. I could drink a bottle of the stuff a day, without doing too much damage to my finances.
But I don't.
"Why," I hear you ask, "if you can afford it, don't you just go hell for leather and get smashed every night?" This is a good point, and takes some analysis.
I don't drink a bottle of the good stuff every day because:
a) It would kill me, possibly through cirrhosis and pancreatitis, where I might begin to digest myself from the inside out, a form of death that is more suitable as a plot for a science-fiction/horror story than a real way to go.
b) I have to interact with other humans, and it's difficult to be taken seriously if you're pronouncing words like "management" as "flammyflam" and telling the postman he's your bestest chum ever, and would he like to come in for a cheeky game of poker.
c) It makes your breath smell like an old propane heater that's been used as a urinal.
d) I have a two-year-old son, who likes to imitate me.
e) Although my ability to sing and play pool are vastly improved with inebriation, other skills seem to degrade with the consumption of large quantities of alcohol, including that motor co-ordination required to accurately point percy at the porcelain.
f) The following morning brings with it a feeling that, should you ever regain the energy to raise your arm, the most beneficial thing you could do would be to shoot yourself in the head. With a gun.
g) Calories - alcohol is annoyingly calorific. Who'd have thought something so nice might be bad for you?
So, there you go. There are a number of reasons that I don't binge drink all the time (just occasionally), even though I could afford to if I wanted to. This is called a sense of responsibility, and is the real reason why there are so many young drinkers vomiting in the streets today. Putting the price up will just make them spend more, which isn't going to help anybody (except the taxman).
The problem occurs with the small minority of idiot drinkers (not including alcoholics, who have a disease, so they drink to forget, which makes them remember how much they love getting pissed), who need to be targeted more specifically (i.e. told to grow up) so the rest of us aren't punished for their lack of self-control.
Even then, the idea of teenagers not being very responsible hardly fills me with trepidation. I was hardly the epitome of self-control when I was nineteen. The evenings were not spent assessing my accounts and comparing pet insurance, whilst putting a spot of cash aside every month so I could go to Croatia in June. No, I got badgered on Boddington's and ratted on Red Stripe (which takes some doing as it's weaker than frog piss), knowing that the burden of responsibility awaited me as an older man.
Now I am that older man and I could, theoretically, afford to maintain a constant state of internal irrigation if'n I wanted. In fact, if I did it regularly it might (possibly) have an impact on my employability, which could have a reciprocal effect on my ability to purchase it, which might be a sort of negative feedback loop system for the prevention of alcohol dependence, so that's a comforting thought.
With this in mind, I feel I can, in relative safety, continue to visit this cupboard in the kitchen:
You'll note that I am being sensible in my purchases in this time of recession by sticking to Sainsbury's Basics range of brandy. It might not have soothed the creases from Napoleon's arsenic-furrowed brow, but I can't tell the difference after two or three glasses anyway, philistine that I am.