Story type: Essay
Men have explained variously their reasons for drinking to excess.
An able architect drank too much every night. He said that he HAD to drink. If he went to bed perfectly sober his mind went on working and dreaming, after he had gone to sleep, and he woke up fatigued and unable to attend to his work.
“I don’t want to drink,” said he, “but in order to do my work I must have the sleep that follows what is ordinarily called taking too much.”
Other men explained excessive drinking as follows:
“I must have the mental excitement that comes from drinking.”
“You can’t imagine the delightful agility of the mind under the influence of alcohol.”
“The brain works more quickly, more energetically, more freely.”
“After drinking a certain amount I can live more in an hour than I could ordinarily in a month,” etc. —-
These men who believe that alcohol improves the mind, stimulating it to better effort, constitute a very large class, perhaps the largest class of those who drink to excess.
We wish we could persuade such men that they are mistaken in believing that excessive alcohol feeds the brain.
The man who has drunk too much, and thinks that his mind is working splendidly, might learn something by studying any sort of machinery when the belt slips off the wheel, or the screw of a steamer when the power of the waves throws the screw out of the water.
While the belt is securely attached, doing its works, it turns slowly and monotonously.
While the screw is buried in the water, fighting its way and pushing its load ahead, it turns slowly and laboriously.
When the belt slips off or the screw comes out of the water, the whole thing is changed. The screw whizzes around like lightning.
The belt rattles and dances.
The screw in the water and the machinery doing its work properly are like the sober brain.
The brain that is made abnormal by alcohol is simply the screw out of water, the misplaced machine belt. The brain is no longer connected with the working realities of life. It has lost its balance and its function. It works rapidly and aimlessly. It moves with wonderful swiftness, but it accomplishes nothing.
Let men who drink too much, believing that the action of their minds is improved by drinking, think over this proposition about the machinery and see if there is not something in it to interest them.
How much actual work does this alcoholized brain turn out? What do they actually DO “next day”?
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