Thursday, August 03, 2006

Vertical Drinking

Man, what will they think of next? Police in Preston, Lancashire, England are pushing for a new rule that bans "vertical drinking," a.k.a. standing at the bar and pounding a few back. Apparently there's the belief among Preston law enforcement that drinking at the bar causes fights, not so much because of increased alcohol capacity when standing, but because proximity to other drinkers increases the likelihood of confrontation. As Alan Hamilton of the Times Online put it:

When the mindless nerd next to you knocks the pint out of your hand, it’s much easier to go for him directly than having to get out of a chair to punch his lights out.

He goes on to add:

Police in Preston already have an alcohol harm reduction and prevention team. Sergeant Andy Hobson, the team’s alcohol project manager, said: “If people are sat down there is less potential for flashpoints than with vertical drinking. This is not designed so much to affect the amount they drink; it is the proximity of other people when you are stood up, which is where the problems can start.

“People go into these places and crowd round the bars, then the next you know somebody gets a push, the pint goes over and that’s it.”

So the obvious solution is to make a rule that says that only people who are seated can have a pint. Hamilton points out that next year there's an England-wide edict against smoking in pubs going into effect, and that's going to complicate matters. Uh oh!! Conflicting edict alert!! They're practically ordering people to start a donnybrook. There are going to be all these drinkers, whose only reason for not starting a brawl is the fact they're seated, having to stand up, walk to the door, and step outside together for a smoke. Even more dangerous, what if it's raining, and they have to huddle together around the door? The potential for violence is enormous.

Am I the only one who thinks this is hilarious?

Hat tip: Brannon Denning (who is one of four people subbing for Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit this week. I think he's doing a fine job.)