Category Archives: alcoholic drinking

Shakespeare Didn’t Corner the Market on Tragedy

photo from Star Telegram

Shakespeare did not corner the market on tragedy.

The play that has been unfolding in the past month here in Fort Worth is worthy of a Shakespearian nod along with the best of his works.

Last month there was a two vehicle accident in the middle of the afternoon. The driver of a pickup veered into the path of an Escalade EXT. The teen age driver and one of his passengers was killed. Another passenger was seriously injured. The driver was drunk. He had left school at lunch time to purchase a 32 oz. bottle of malt liquor. He was seventeen. The dead girl and the injured one were both fifteen. I’m sure they were probably excited to be with “an older man” who was showing off his skills of being able to drink and drive at the same time. That was a fatal flaw in their thinking.

As if that were not enough of a tragedy, the event took another life yesterday. The teenager had a friend who tried to stop him from driving. The newspaper article does not go into more details of how the friend tried to stop the driver. In any event, the friend failed in his efforts and instead decided to follow the truck to make sure his friend and passengers arrived home safely. He witnessed the fatal accident and tried to help, but it was too late. The girl died at the scene. The driver died the next day.

The friend was left behind with a terrible sense of guilt  . He blamed himself for the death of his friend. He had failed to prevent the accident. His self-reproach was unimaginable.

The teen age years with their normal angst are hard enough to navigate. Adding to that the death of a friend, for which rightly or wrongly one takes on full responsibilty, is a load that few people can handle.

The friend succumbed to the pressure.

He died a few days ago from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to his head, leaving his mother and a younger brother to find him.

He also left behind another who claims he was the young man’s “best friend”.

The clerk who sold the boy the malt liquor was arrested in a sting. The mother is left with her grief. There was no gun in the house. She will always wonder how he was able to obtain it.

The boy had returned some borrowed clothing from his “best friend” and talked about what good friends they were…like brothers. The friend is now probably wondering why he didn’t pick up the signals that the boy was saying good bye.

The teen age years are difficult enough to get through without the addition of guns and alcohol. The DARE program presented by the police just isn’t enough. They try to teach the kids tools to help them through the gauntlet until adulthood is reached. Sometimes they are successful, sometimes not.

Do I have the answers? Certainly not. I have felt blessed every day that my son made it through those years of drinking and driving in spite of me more than because of me.

Tragedies happen. If someone knows the answers to how to keep drivers from drinking, teen agers from obtaining guns, and friends from committing suicide because of the guilt, I hope s/he comes forward. We have been involved with these problems too long.

I’m certain Shakespeare with his command of language could even come up with a quote that would wake us up to the fact that what we are doing is not good enough. Enough is enough!

My knowledge of Shakespeare in extremely limited. The quote that kept running through my mind as I read the paper was this:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep:
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to…

It is sad that the friend who tried to help decided “not to be” and all too sadly, “there’s the rub”.

Namaste  Attic Annie



Filed under alcoholic drinking, childhood, friendship, grief, teen age suicide, Uncategorized

LiLo Such a Messy Falling Star

Lindsey Lohan was a cute red headed freckled child star. She could act. She could sing. Thousands of other children wanted to grow up just like her…A STAR. Unfortunately, if they do, they will be as out of control as she is.

It is sad that at the age of twenty four, she has already been in a revolving door of DUIs and rehabs  for many years. The article from which the above picture was printed stated her obit is already being prepared. People are writing her off. She has become the butt of jokes. David Letterman used her as a top ten list. “Signs that Lindsay Lohan  is out of control.”

Now she is accused of felony grand theft for taking a $2500 necklace. She claims she thought it was a “loan”. She is the subject of an interview on the Today Show. Every bit of her is critiqued from her angelic white dress which suggests purity but, “Come on, Lindsay. It’s way too short. A suit would have been more appropriate.”

She is in a position where EVERY thing she says or does is spread across the world wide internet. When the judge tells her not to “push your (her) luck” that she’s” just like everybody else”,  it is sent immediately to you tube.

Unless a potential juror does not have a television, newspaper service, internet, etc, etc,, that person is apt to know all about Lindsay Lohan. They can’t help it. Wouldn’t that lead then to a tainted jury?  Several years ago, Winona Ryder faced the same issue in her shoplifting charge. There was a “prosecution motion to admit prior bad acts, evidence this was not the actress’s first run-in with store security.” The prosecution in Lohan’s trial won’t have to admit it. There is probably no potential juror alive who doesn’t know everything already. To “taint” means “to make someone seem less honestmorally pure etc. Showing her actually wearing the necklace certainly makes her seem less honest to me. Commenting on the attire she wore to the hearing implies that she is not necessarily morally pure. The woman can’t win. She is being compared to a tart. Let’s bring in sex to darken her image even more. Even a change of venue will not help find an impartial jury in her case. But then, according to the Today Show, since this is her first felony charge, she may not even get any prison time at all. “A day in prison to any one else is like a year to Lindsey” ??????? I don’t understand that quote. Time is one thing that is impartial. Are they perhaps referring to her star light fading?

Do I feel sorry for Lohan? I guess, in a way. So many stars self destruct when they can no longer  stand the brilliance of the light constantly shining on them. The amount of $2500 to me is like $2.50 to Lohan. This has to be a case of wanting to get caught. Of needing to be caught. But then I’m not in any way a psychologist.

She has been surrounded by enablers all her life. She is the product of parents who divorced when she was still quite young. Any average child cannot some times cope with that, let alone a child who is on the road to becoming famous.

There have been other child stars who either faded before they could get adult roles or managed the transition to becoming adult stars. Some of them began to self destruct, like Drew Barrymore, but then turned themselves around. There are others, like Jodie Foster, who never seemed to crave the spotlight and managed to steer clear of all the media attention, all the while carving out a spectacular career for herself.

It is not too late for Lindsay to turn herself around. Many successful stars live their lives away from all the publicity and “glamor” of Hollywood. They shun the press yet they manage to be very successful with their careers.

Does Lindsay act this way because she is craving love? Is she addicted to the attention? Does she do ANY thing just to know that she is still in the spotlight? Who knows? IMHO, I think the media should back off and let this matter play itself out without any more attention. I think professional help should continue to be a part of the conditions of punishment. I believe she can be saved. Falling stars make so much mess. Namaste Attic Annie



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Filed under alcoholic drinking, Casual conversation, childhood, diary, family, general topics, humor, life, Lindsay Lohan, musings, relationships, self worth, Uncategorized

Happy Non-Anniversary, Ex (reliving the date from hell)

Yesterday was the thirty-sixth non-anniversary of my marriage. My ex and I were married for eleven and a half years, legally. It was maybe an hour or so in reality.

No one wants to hear on a two day honeymoon that their beloved thought about not showing up for the wedding. He was the last member of the party to appear. The timing of  that statement being  uttered  is thankfully lost in time. It seems it was the first night of wedded bliss but I’m not entirely certain. The wedding ceremony was in the evening so it didn’t take him long to take off his mask.

There is a television show now that is called, “Who the bleep did I marry?” I think I’ve only managed to see one episode. I did not know who I was marrying. Not at all. The show is about people who marry without truly knowing their mate. Respect for my son has kept me from auditioning for the show. Of course, he wasn’t a mass murderer or armed robber or anything so my story would probably not be worthy of airing. He was just a sociopathic, bipolar, alcoholic con. But that’s just my personal opinion.

I will never regret marrying him because out of that union came a pretty great son. But that event was among a very short list of things for which I am grateful about that marriage.

I should have listened to my instincts and never even gone on that first date. We were supposed to double date with the couple who lived across the hall from me. The man was my ex’s client. My ex was a traveling salesman. My neighbor set us up. Things would have been different if I had listened to all those jokes about traveling salesmen. He could have been the poster boy.

The date was set up almost a month prior. I was told that my ex was going through a divorce and would like to meet someone. His divorce became final about a week before we met. I didn’t even give a thought to the idea of “rebound“. Big mistake. BIG

He did not confirm the time he was supposed to meet us. There was no word from him prior to that evening. I assumed he was not going to show. (Strike one) An hour past time I left my apartment for some fast food.  Another forty- five minutes past that there was a knock on the door. Instead of five  o’clock it was closer to seven. I opened it and saw my neighbor with a young man standing behind him.

The very first action my ex took was to start gazing at my head, down to my feet, and back up again. You know the look. The one which mentally calculates if someone is acceptable. (Strike two) I know my eyes narrowed but other than that I ignored it. My first instinct was to slam the door in his face. He already had two strikes against him.

I am too kind for my own good. I didn’t want to embarrass my neighbor since he had gone out of his way to fix me up. I decided to go to dinner with them.

My ex explained more to the neighbor than to me that he had forgotten. He was having drinks with my neighbor’s secretary when he remembered. (Strike three) Now if this were baseball, the game would be over. Oh, no, it was just beginning.

The four of us got into the car which my ex was driving. Before we even left the parking lot, he started cracking what used to be called “blue jokes“. I felt my neck reddening. I couldn’t even look at my neighbor’s wife. In the meantime the two men were laughing hysterically. (Strike four)

We arrived at the restaurant where my neighbor and ex start taking business while his wife and I just sat there mum  while being ignored. To talk over the two of them would have been talking too loudly. (Strike five) My ex examined the waitress and made an extremely inappropriate remark about her derriere or maybe it was her breasts. Again, I can no longer remember the exact utterance, but I remember hoping she certainly didn’t hear it. (Strike six) I played with the steak and tried to eat some of it but I was full of fast food hamburger and was filling up even more quickly with disgust. Much of it went home in a doggy bag. My ex didn’t care. He filed the date on his expense report anyway.

We finished the meal and headed back to the apartment. When we got upstairs, my neighbor invited us into their apartment to chat. During that eternal time, my ex decided  to educate my neighbor on the quality of ties. (Strike seven) He assured my neighbor that the more gold threads in the lining, the finer the tie. At that announcement, my neighbor proceeded to bring out every tie and together they examined the linings. Turns out, my ex did not know a thing about the quality of ties.  

Finally I faked a yawn and explained I had to prepare for school the next day. It was almost ten. By this time my ex had had time for some of the buzz to wear off. He walked me to my door directly across the hall. I was about to walk inside without even saying good bye. He asked me if I would like to go out to have a drink with him. I was shocked at the audacity of him to think I wanted to spend another minute in his presence.  I swear my first thought was, “I have had such a horrible evening with you I feel like I need a drink. You OWE me.” My roommate and I partied pretty hardy back in those early days of the 70s but we never kept any alcohol in the house. I NEEDED a drink. I have anger issues. I don’t let myself express it.  Alcohol helped.

That’s about the end of the story. I took him to the local place where my friends and I usually hung out. There were a few guys there who I knew. They started talking to me. I ignored my ex. That was enough for him to decide to turn on the charm. I swear he became another man. We drank. We danced. We laughed. I melted in his charm. I found myself enjoying his company. We left the bar and drove to the most romantic place in town to park. We sat and talked and I didn’t get home until 4 o’clock. By that time there were as many stars in my eyes as there were in the sky. He had me feeling so sorry for him when he recounted how his ex had cheated on him. He talked lovingly about his young son. He talked about the course in life he had laid out for himself. He tallked about the fact we were of the same German Lutheran background. He talked about his family. He created a picture of a wonderful man.  Charm and empathy…I erased all the strikes. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Filed under alcoholic drinking, Casual conversation, dating, general topics, life, musings

Tragedy in Switzerland

Two students die after fall from cliff

Two pupils at the prestigious Leysin American School have died after falling down a cliff. The incident is said to have happened after a party.

The two boarding school students, an 18-year-old American woman and a 17-year-old Moroccan man, disappeared on Friday afternoon.

Police in the canton of Vaud said that the pair were found on Saturday at the foot of a cliff near the town of Leysin on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva.

Officials said at the weekend that both appeared to have drunk alcohol at a student party on Friday and a criminal investigation had been opened to determine the circumstances of their deaths.

Autopsies are being carried out at the university centre of legal medicine in Lausanne to discover if the students’ bodies contain traces of alcohol.

A statement said that police were informed when the students failed to appear at final dormitory check-in on Friday. A vigil was held at the school on Saturday evening and a remembrance service on Sunday. and agencies

Swiss police: US, Moroccan die in cliff fall

(AP) – 2 days ago

GENEVA — Swiss police say an American woman and a Moroccan man attending a prestigious Swiss boarding school have died after falling several hundred feet down a cliff.

Police in the canton of Vaud say the pair were found Saturday at the foot of the cliff by the town of Leysin near the eastern shore of Lake Geneva.

Police say both appeared to have drunk alcohol at a student party Friday and a criminal investigation has been opened to determine the circumstances of their deaths.

The Leysin American School has named the students as Sidonie Fery and Mehdi Berrada.

School chairman Steven Ott said Sunday that both were 19 years old and final year students. He declined to answer further questions citing the police investigation.

The above articles were published last weekend. So far I have not seen any more updates. There is an age discrepancy between the two articles.

There are probably privacy issues involved that the concerned parents may not wish to have broadcasted…issues beyond drinking alcohol in a steep cliff area of the world.

Information Update

April 25th, 2010. Posted in General News

On Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 12:20, the Leysin American School was informed by the local Search and Rescue Team, called in by the authorities, of the discovery of the bodies of Sidonie Fery, age 18, and Mehdi Berrada, age 17. They died in a mountain accident after falling off of a cliff below a public picnic area in Leysin after crossing a barbed wire fence.

Below is the ruling on alcohol consumption found in the Leysin handbook.

Alcohol Consumption

(A limited privilege, which may be revoked at any time) Seniors, 13th Grade, and Post Graduates with parental permission may earn the privilege of being able to consume limited amounts of alcohol. Privilege will be granted at the Dean’s Reception if students show collective, social responsibility in earning this privilege, and only after the successful completion of an Alcohol Awareness Seminar. The program may be implemented and/or terminated on a year to year basis and without notice. The parameters of the program will be clearly outlined by the Head of School and the Deans. The following guidelines apply:

• Students may only consume alcohol with dinner and/or after 19:00 on Friday and Saturday nights (or during special occasions approved by the Dean of Students)

• Only beer and wine may be consumed. Hard alcohol (spirits) is forbidden • Alcohol must never be consumed on campus, with the exception of chaperoned, school sponsored events. Alcohol must never be consumed in the dormitories • Senior students with or without drinking privilege will be breathalyzed each weekend night. BAC (blood alcohol concentration) must not exceed .05 at any time Non-chaperoned drinking may only occur in designated establishments • LAS reserves the right to breathalyze students at any time without warning • Breaches in the points above may yield harsh punishments and result in temporary or permanent loss of privileges. Repeated alcohol abuse will lead to referral (mandatory attendance) to alcohol awareness counseling Despite Swiss Law, allowing 16 year olds to purchase and consume beer and/or wine, LAS regulations dictate otherwise. All underclassmen and those seniors without parental authorization “regardless of age” are NOT permitted to purchase or consume any alcohol under any circumstances.

Underclass students are not permitted to drink alcohol under any circumstances. If they, or seniors before drinking permission has been granted, are caught drinking, they will receive an on-campus suspension, followed by withdrawal from LAS for a second offense. After drinking permission has been granted (it has been after winter break in past years) seniors receive a series of consequences that can range from 2 hour check-ins to withdrawal from LAS.

It seems on the surface that LAS has a pretty good control of alcohol consumption concerning their students. However, is it possible to ever control all students at all time when drinking is concerned?

A BAC level of 0.05 involves the consumption of alcohol that depends on the weight, sex, and body fat of the drinker. If you examine the charts, that’s anywhere between less than one and no more than two drinks to achieve that level. At that point impairment includes alertness, judgment, coordination, and concentration. Feelings are experienced as mild euphoria, relaxation, sense of well-being, joyousness, and decreased inhibition. There are very few young men and women who have the maturity to stop at just one or two drinks. They LIKE the behavior changes they feel.

I feel very sad for the administration of this school. Quite often, even though the parents’ social lives center around drinking, they will quickly condemn whomever they wish when it comes to alcohol related events in the lives of their children. The old hypocrisy thing again. The administration will have a fine wire to walk.

The Moroccan parents might be even more upset and chagrined. That society as a whole does not look favorably upon alcohol consumption.

Perhaps it was a case where the students were just friends who wandered too close to the edge of the cliff on their way back to the dorms. Perhaps there is more to the story. Perhaps it is the age-old story of two young people from two very different worlds who realized even in the world today a relationship between the two of them would never be accepted. After all, as seniors they would have parted in less than two months. There are many “perhaps” issues to this story that will probably never be told.

Their parents and friends will be left to grieve. The school will be left “holding the bag” since ultimately, even though they clearly state the rules, they are the ones responsible at all times for the health and well-being of all their students.

There may or may not be lawsuits from the parents. The school may or may not survive this tragedy. A lot of people will have to do a lot of soul-searching to determine how such an incident can ever be prevented from occurring again. Life is not always kind. I wish the best outcome for the staff and faculty of this fine school as possible. Namaste. Attic Annie


Filed under alcoholic drinking, Casual conversation, diary, education, friendship, general topics, life, musings, teenagers, Uncategorized