Paulgram, Instagram, Abstigram

Did you know I write email newsletters from time to time? They’re called PaulGrams, and I just sent one out this morning. You have to subscribe to get them; the signup box is on the left sidebar under PaulGram (duh). Just enter your email address and click “Subscribe” (duh again). Don’t worry, I won’t flood your inbox with them … the first one went out on Christmas Day, 2015, and today’s newsletter was just number three.

The latest PaulGram celebrates my 21st anniversary of publishing online. The original Half-Mind Catalog went online in August 1995, the humble beginning of today’s vast publishing empire. Gosh, where does the time go? And when do I start getting paid?

Speaking of web empires, I now have Instagram and Pinterest accounts, and have posted lots of photos. Link up if you’re interested, and I’ll follow back.

Back in March I marked another anniversary, my ninth year of not drinking. I’ve learned not to toot my horn about that too often. People are defensive about drinking—my Hash House Harrier friends in particular—and they don’t like wet blankets and party poopers. But over the last few years I’ve seen drinking expand into places and situations that were once thought inappropriate. If you don’t live in a state that still enforces blue laws, you can now drink in movie theaters and even department stores, and I’m talking hard liquor. Where next? The DMV?

I was raised to believe there are times and places for drinking, and that the surest sign of alcoholism is starting to drink at the wrong times and places. When I first quit drinking, nights were the hardest thing to deal with, because that had always been drinking time. Places and situations were easier to avoid. I stayed away from bars, avoided friends who drank heavily, and made sure I had a bailout option—a car stashed somewhere nearby—for when the hash circle started to drag. Later on, once I was sure I wouldn’t be tempted again, I loosened up.

I had an easier time stopping than most people (I don’t know why, I just did). At first, though, I felt like this woman, who talks about “dog-paddling through the booze all around me.” How hard must it be for people who need to quit when everyone around them, almost everywhere they go, at almost any time of day, is drinking? Unless you go live with the Amish, it’s difficult to keep drinking culture at arm’s length.

It’s especially hard for young people, those who least want to listen to anti-drinking talk, because they’re going to live forever and they can quit any time they want, etc. On my other blog I’ve written about sexual assaults at hash events. Most hashers are young, and most of them drink. The kind of hash events where sexual assaults have taken place—the ones I know about, anyway—are pretty much all about drinking. Knowing what we know about college drinking and campus rape, it’s pretty obvious there’s a connection between drinking culture and rape culture. I’m not saying one causes the other, but there is a clear connection, as strong at the hash as it is on campus. Hashers don’t want to hear that shit, neither do students … and neither did I, when I was younger.

Speaking of drinking, are we sure Donald Trump doesn’t? I’m starting to have my doubts.

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