A Whiskey Bottle by Arthur Brisbane

Story type: Essay

How should a whiskey drinker talk to his son? If he talked as he feels he would hold up the flat, brown bottle and say:

“My boy, you know that I am a poor man and have nothing to leave to you or your mother.

“The difference between myself and the successful men who have passed me is this:

“I have gone through life with this bottle in my hand or in my pocket. They have not.”

A man comes into the world prepared to do his share of the world’s work, well or ill, as his brain and his physical strength may decide. Of all his qualities the most important practically is BALANCE.

The whiskey in that bottle destroys balance, mental and physical.

It substitutes dreaming and foolish self-confidence for real effort.

It presents all of life’s problems and duties in a false light. It makes those things seem unimportant which are most important.

IT DULLS THE CONSCIENCE, WHICH ALONE CAN MAKE MEN DO THEIR DUTY IN SPITE OF TEMPTATION, AND STRUGGLE ON TO SUCCESS IN SPITE OF EXHAUSTION.

Keep away from this bottle, and keep away from those who praise it. He who hands it to his fellow man is a criminal, and he who hands it to a young man is a worse criminal and a villain. —-

It is a well-established fact that in the usual order of events drunkenness would be handed down from father to son, and hundreds of thousands of families would be ultimately wiped out by whiskey.

It is not true, fortunately, that the son of a drunkard actually inherits drunkenness fully developed. But a drunkard gives to his son weakened nerves and a diminished will power, which tend to make him a drunkard more easily than his father was made a drunkard before him.

See also  Anecdotes Of The Fairfax Family by Isaac Disraeli

The great safeguard of a drunkard’s children undoubtedly lies in the warning which they see every day in their home and in the earnest advice which the man who drinks will give to all young people if he have any conscience left.

If the man who drinks would save his own children from the same danger, he can do so better than any other. He need not lose their respect by telling them of his own mistakes, if these mistakes have been hidden from them. Let him simply tell them, without personal reference, what he knows about whiskey, its effects on a man’s happiness, success, self-respect and physical comfort.

Whiskey gives a great many things to men. Of these gifts here are a few:

Lack of friends, lack of will, lack of self-respect, lack of nervous force–lack of everything save the hideous craving that can end only with unconsciousness, and that begins again with increased suffering when consciousness is restored. —-

Fathers and mothers blessed with self-control and with good children should use the picture of a drinking man as a useful, moral lesson in talking to boys and girls from seven to twenty years of age.

Children are impressed most easily through their imaginations. An intelligent father or mother can produce upon a child’s receptive mind an impression that will last for years.

With the fear of whiskey there should be impressed upon children sympathy and sorrow for the unfortunate drunkard.

One of the ablest men, and one of the most earnest in America, said to his friends very recently:

See also  The Character Of Heroic Literature by George William Russell

“I never drink, as you know. But when I see a man lying drunk in the gutter, I know that he has probably made that very day a harder effort at self-control, a nobler struggle to control himself, than I ever made in my life. He has yielded and fallen at last, but only because all of his strength is insufficient to overcome the disease that possesses him.”

Teach your children that drunkenness is a horrible disease, as bad as leprosy. Teach them that it can be avoided, that the disease is contracted in youth through carelessness, and that it is spread by those who encourage drinking in others. Tell them that the avoiding of whiskey is not merely a question of morals or obedience to parents, but a question involving mental and physical salvation, success in life, happiness, and the respect of others.

Leave a Reply 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *