I’d Like to Raise My Glass to My Parents for Being Hilarious

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I grew up in a bar. I don’t say this to shock you; I say this because it’s true. And it’s not a bad thing.

Every summer, Tuesday nights were exciting because my brother and I would pick up cheeseburgers and kiddie cocktails on our way to Dad’s softball games. We’d snack out of Styrofoam containers while Dad threw killer pitches. Then we’d get bored and run off to the playground next to the field.

After the game, we’d head back to the bar where Mom was occasionally serving drinks and Dad was celebrating with the team. The other bar kids and I would jam out to 80’s hair metal on the juke box, hustle grown-ups at pool, race around the back alley, and convince bar patrons to steal a grocery cart from the store across the street. Sometimes, we’d even walk a couple blocks to get Blizzards from DQ or candy and cheap toys from the local drug store.

It was fun.

We knew our parents were drinking alcohol. They didn’t call it “Mommy Juice.” When my brother or I asked our parents what they were drinking, they were honest with us.

“This is beer.”

“This is cognac.”

“This is scotch.”

“This is tequila.”

“This is wine.”

And you know what? My brother and I – we weren’t stupid. We knew what alcohol was. We saw a lot of alcoholics come and go from that bar.

So when one of us would ask, “Can I try?” and our parents said yes, they weren’t stupid either. Before you get all Trolly McTrollerson on me or my amazing parents, let me inform you that the Illinois State Liquor law does not have an age restriction for parents allowing their children alcohol in the safety of their own home. Which was the only place we were allowed to try our parents beverages.

My brother and I tried our fair share of Bud Light tastes and the occasional sip of cognac, and every time we tried something, we would spit it out with a resounding “YUCK.” Because gross. Our child palates weren’t down with alcohol, and we couldn’t understand how on God’s green earth our parents could consume such slop. Give me a 7up and grenadine any day.

Our parents talked to us about alcohol when we were very young. They were honest. And you know what else they were? They were hilarious. They drank. They made jokes. They made jokes about alcohol and parenthood and every other aspect of their lives. Because if you can’t laugh, what’s the point?

Even I, as a young pup, would make my fair share of alcohol jokes. When my sister, Deven, was away at college, she teasingly promised a nine-year old Chrissy that when I came to visit her, she would take me to a party and give me beer. I firmly stated to her, “I prefer cocktails.”

Of course, I was talking about kiddie cocktails, but everyone laughed. I got my sense of humor from my parents. Thank God.

Because right now, Responsibility.org is asking mom bloggers to “refresh their funny” and remove alcohol-related humor from their repertoire. You can watch this video that shows their preferred messaging.

While I’m not a mom blogger or even a mom, I’ve got a few things to say about this.

I respect the Talk Early campaign. I’m all for talking to kids about alcohol. Hands down, talk about it. But you know what? Alcohol is a legal substance for people over the age of 21 in the United States. It’s often younger if you live in another country. Parents aren’t going to stop drinking on behalf of their children, so why should they kill their senses of humor on behalf of those same children?

I’ve heard that parenthood changes you, but I sure as fuck hope that when I have tiny humans, I don’t lose the ability to make a quick joke about vodka. Because…Chrissy Water, as my friends call it here in the Chicago suburbs, isn’t going anywhere.

My parents talked to me about alcohol. They made jokes about alcohol. They still make jokes about alcohol. Shit, my dad and I drink to the forest fire (IT’S A JOKE, PEOPLE). And you know what? I didn’t go out and start drinking like a lush at 12 or think my parents were alcoholics or anything like that. And you know what? Most of my friends didn’t either. The kids who are drinking underage aren’t doing it because their parents made a joke about wine when they were babies or children or even teenagers. They’re doing it to rebel. They’re doing it because their friends are doing it. They’re doing it because they can.

Refresh the target not the punchline. Alcohol jokes are targeted at adults. Let's worry more about what the kids are doing than the parents, eh-

Me? I waited until I was a respectable freshman in college, sneaking booze the proper way. By getting a junior to buy my Boone’s Farm.

Responsibility wants to start a conversation. They’re even offering a fancy monetary prize to three BlogU15 bloggers who write about Refreshing Their Funny. This post is an entry into that contest, and no one paid me to say anything in this piece. Especially considering my whole disagreeing with them thing.

What about you guys? Do you believe parents should stop posting images and jokes with alcohol as the punch line? What are some of your favorite jokes and memes? When did you start drinking?

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17 Responses

  1. At one point we were in family counseling. My oldest felt he had a right to know if I had ever smoked pot. The counselor made a snappy comeback “I’m amazed your mother isn’t a raging alcoholic!” Are jokes about booze and drinking really that big of a deal or is this just another social media invented opportunity to act superior and judgmental?

  2. I have raised my children to know that there are things that adults are allowed to do that children aren’t. I curse, I smoke, I drink (occasionally, not a big drinker). All things that they aren’t allowed to do. I also do things like drive, have a credit card and I can order things off infomercials. Also all things that the aren’t allowed to do. I’m not going to sanitize my world for kids and attempt to erase or not speak of things they aren’t allowed to do. we talk about drugs, sex, alcohol and a billion other things.

    I don’t think the problem is kids seeing things. I think the problem is parents being afraid to talk to their own children

  3. My parents are European. I had wine before I even knew what it was. I think that people that are exposed to alcohol in a healthy way early in life have a bit of a different POV on it. The one’s whose parents treated it as taboo are the one’s that got drunk for the first time at 12. I never felt the need to sneak alcohol when I was in high school because I was allowed to drink small amounts of beer or wine at family functions. So there was no mystery. And honestly what’ the point in sneaking behind your parents back when they allow you to do something anyway. Even in University. I drank. Heck I drank at lunch between lectures. My parents knew when I drank. I knew when they drank. Hell my mom’s a light weight and giggles after her 2nd glass of wine. I don’t judge her shitty tolerance. I just tease her for it 😉

      1. Ok so i’m not cool with this whole parenting trend towards saniziting everything kids come into contact with. I mean there can’t be violence in cartoons, parents can’t discipline their kids, teachers aren’t allowed to give homework. On top of that parents are trying to hide their kids from swearing, alcohol, drugs and sex. Well guess what? By keeping them in a bubble, you’re not giving them the knowledge or coping mechanisms to deal with things as an adult. I’d rather explain sex and alcohol to my kids than have them told about it at a party where they have peer pressure to deal with. I’d rather discipline my kids growing up and give them boundaries and chores and have them be able to deal with the realities of having a job than do everything for them so they crash and burn when left to their own devices. Yes there is a middle ground. But seriously, I think some parents underestimate their own kids intelligence and logic and by sanitizing everything they’re not helping anybody.

  4. “and no one paid me to say anything in this piece. Especially considering my whole disagreeing with them thing.”
    Is it any wonder I adore you?

  5. People nowadays just want to keep their kids in a bubble where there are unicorns and rainbows! Which is great, but it’s not real life!! Why on earth should parents give up their life and bubble wrap everything?! We too drink in front of our kids, we tell them what we’re drinking and we discuss what happens when people don’t know their limits!

  6. I also told my children of my drug use in my late teens and early 20’s. I told them it was the destroyer of dreams. Not that I didn’t have tons of fun( it was the late 70’s early 80’s), I blew my college years. I didn’t go to college because I knew I would do drugs and flunk out. Thankfully, I did not become an addict or an alcoholic. Life worked out well and my 2 wonderful children and loving husband are the reason. Many people are not honest about what they did in their teens and 20’s. They act like they never did any of that stuff. LIARS!!! Nearly EVERYONE did coke or pot. Once again, it was the 70’s and 80’s. Although, I’m sure the 60’s and 90’s parents were the same. My kids turned out great, I hope all the new mommies will be able to say the same.

  7. I drank my first wine spritzer when I was about 10, my dad bought me my first beer when I was 14, I started going to drinking parties when I was 16, I started going to the pub at 18 (the legal age here in Australia) I’ve gotten so drunk I’ve thrown up, I’ve made stupid mistakes while drunk, I’ve gotten stranded, nearly had a punch up with a woman who stole my cat ears and survived it all. I’m not a raging alcoholic (even though it runs in my family) and now that I have my own kid I manage to control my drinking to the odd social occasion. My daughter knows what beer is, she knows it’s an adult drink and she knows I like to drink occasionally. I survived being aware of alcohol as a child, and she will survive it too. It’s not about hiding the drinking altogether, it’s about open and honest conversations. The more you make it a taboo subject, the more likely kids are to want to try it, and the more likely they are to hide it from you.

    I am also super jealous that you hung out in a bar as a kid.

  8. Nice! I totally agree. I was also not down with the message. Too thought police-y for me. My first real drink at a bar: rum & coke, at 14. And considering that I was proofed well into my 30s, that must’ve been some dive bar and probably one watered-down drink.

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