With more than 20,000 cities populating the United States, what are the odds that four out of the top ten drunkest cities in America are within 25 minutes of my home, while living in number one? Even if we go a bit further out, 11 out of the top 20 are in Wisconsin.
I did not grow up here, I moved from Minnesota roughly seven years ago and while I still feel uneasy when people call the drinking fountain a bubbler, and I still want to slap the mouths that say Duck Duck Goose rather than, Duck Duck Grey Duck… I feel comfortable calling the Badger state my home.
So what is this list all about anyway?
The first time it perused across my screen I assumed it was a local survey of sorts, I mean, four out of ten cities I consider local, even spending significant amounts of time in each of them, it made sense. Knowing now that the gathered information consumes the entire country, I can’t help but laugh and everyone else around here seems to find this tidbit of national spotlight amusing right along with me.
I logged onto Facebook today and was instantly greeted by three variations of the story – one was the original, followed by two covers from the local news and radio stations and then the plethora of friends who shared the news with a bunch of laugh-cry emojis.
For the record, it is not that there is nothing else to do out here, it’s just normal to drink while doing everything.
Last year, trick or treating in Appleton, Wisconsin we stumbled across a couple in their late 20’s or early 30’s, with no children, pulling a wagon full of Busch Light. Parents walking over, laughing it up over their clever take on adult trick-or-treating. Does this kind of thing happen in Arizona or Connecticut? If I’m being honest, we already had some chocolate liqueur mixed with our hot chocolate for the trek through the neighborhood. Don’t judge us.
Now that I’ve seen this list, I’m beginning to think our normal, out here in drunksville, is not necessarily the norm for the occupants in the other 19,000+ cities. I’m being forced into these assumptions that people outside of Wisconsin who look at this list think we’re all a bunch of slurring, staggering morons. I’m stuck imagining people in Oregon and Utah right now, sipping their herbal tea or decaf coffee gossiping about how we must hate our lives to have so many heavy drinkers condensed in one common area…
…but most of us don’t.
Sure, there are people who can’t handle themselves or their alcohol consumption as well as the next Wisconsinite, but overall, it’s a way of life that everyone is simply accustomed to; call it a tolerance if you will. I could name at least five people in my life that would tell you, without hesitation, four or five drinks in a two-hour span of time is nothing. I imagine their look would scream: Yeah, and…?
Out here we have these restaurants called Supper Clubs, where people gladly wait over an hour for a table because they enjoy sipping on cocktails before dinner – that’s the whole point of coming. Even when there is no wait, a large chunk of individuals will belly up to the bar before taking a seat in the dining room only to find themselves back where they started for an after-dinner drink. Sometimes it’s a grasshopper, sometimes it’s coffee and Kahlua and sometimes it’s Jack on the rocks but it’s never considered abnormal.
Coming from Minnesota, where you can’t purchase any alcohol on Sundays and the rest of the week it’s sold only in liquor stores, you can imagine my face when I stopped into Walmart and saw a section full of alcoholic adult beverages. I felt like a rebel. You mean, I can just throw this 12 pack of Coors Light with my toilet paper, deodorant and greeting card… and be on my way?
You can buy booze at Walgreens.
Sick? Picking up a prescription for a nasty virus? No worries, you can throw in that bottle of brandy the doctor suggested under his breath; one stop shop.
I mean, if we’re being real though this list came from recent statistics the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found on per capita alcohol consumption, which makes it a touch more sensitive.
Thankfully most of us have already passed the denial phase, if there even was one, we accept who we are. Wisconsin residents and I drink more than we should; good, bad or ugly… it’s the norm. Call it an excuse if you’d like, in Wisconsin, it’s a culture.