Spotted on a billboard about teenage drinking:
"The earlier he starts drinking alcohol, the more likely he is to abuse it."
Unfortunately, this billboard doesn't give us a suggested time. What's too early for him? 5:00? 4:30? Earlier?
In my book, it depends on when he finishes work. If you're off the clock for the day, there's nothing wrong with having a beer. But, the cocktail hour is so ingrained in our collective social consciousness, it's tough to imagine that a billboard would claim that happy hours cause alcoholism.
On the weekend, the magic time is 12:00. Various family members have expressed variations on the sentiment, "If it's after noon, I can have a beer without it meaning that I'm an alcoholic." I agree. However, sporting events can wind the acceptable drinking clock further forward. Are you an alcoholic for popping open a beer at 10 AM if there's a football game on? It's a complicated calculus. Did you have anything to eat first? Is this a playoff game? Does the game have postseason implications? Did Joe Ayoob throw an interception on the team's first offensive drive?
The earliest I have had a beer, after waking up, is probably 5 AM. "Sean, you are an alcoholic!" scream my friends/voices in my head. However, this was the World Cup final. If I were in Germany, having just one beer in the first half would have branded me a Mormon. I had a Guiness fairly close to sunrise for last year's FA Cup final, but there were mitigating factors:
1) I was with my parents.
2) I had already eaten a disgusting British pub breakfast minutes earlier.
Drinking during a soccer game seems more acceptable than drinking during a domestic sporting event. I feel like I'm still not a legitimate fan of the beautiful game, so my exuberant drinking is almost ironic - I'm winkingly playing the role of a true soccer hooligan. If this was an NFL game that began at dawn, there would be much less ironic distance between me and a substance dependency issue. Plus, in Europe, it was nearly happy hour.
In conclusion, I do not have a drinking problem. OK, billboard?