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Outdoor Life: Alcohol's effects on the human male
Alvin Richardson
Alvin Richardson

In order to clear the air up front I freely admit to doing some drinking in my younger days. I candidly confess and concede this point so you will realize that I make the following observations based on first hand and anecdotal accounts. This is not gossip, idle rumor or hearsay evidence. 
    Listen up. It’s for your own good.
    Consuming distilled spirits or strong drink has a decided and undeniable Jekyll-and-Hyde effect on human beings. It will change your personality and make you believe things about yourself that are entirely untrue.
    The tricky thing about it is that alcohol affects different people in vastly diverse ways. I don’t really know why that’s true. Maybe it’s body chemistry or possibly a function of brain wave patterns.
    The consumption of alcohol can turn one guy into a gentleman who thinks he has a supernatural ability to woo women, and another into a person who believes he is the reincarnation of Muhammed Ali. It makes some people mellow and others hyper. It can make a nice guy turn mean and a humble fellow belligerent. You will see serious people turn silly and silly ones get completely ridiculous.
    One of the most embarrassing effects is that alcohol can make an uncoordinated person believe he can actually dance. Some of the most pitiful scenes I have witnessed are that of a guy who turns into a spinning and jumping John Travolta after a few cocktails.
    These are just a few of the changes that can occur to you if you overindulge in strong drink.
    I go back several decades to my earliest encounter with the effects of alcohol. In my final year of high school there was an annual event known as a junior-senior prom. I had never put much stock in it but everyone seemed to think it was a pretty cool thing. Some of the boys started talking about getting some liquor for after the prom. 
    Honestly at that point in my life I knew not one thing about the finer points of drinking, but I heard someone say they were going to get some rum. So as not to seem stupid and un-cool I said, “Yeah, get me some too.” 
    I didn’t even know you were supposed to mix it with a soft drink so later on, following a short bout with that rum bottle, I promptly crawled into my sleeping bag the wrong way and threw up. 
    See what I mean? A relatively smart guy changed into an idiot in a flash.
    Here is another first hand experience to further my theory that alcohol is a personality-altering drug.
    One of my brothers was on the cusp of getting married and so a group of us gathered to send him out in the usual Southern style. 
    One final fling at what would commonly be referred to as a honky tonk. It was a happy occasion and we all were enjoying this ritual of manhood. Everyone, including myself was in high spirits and smiles abounded. I would categorize each person that night as a happy drunk. 
    As the evening wore on and the time drew nigh to head home, I stepped out ahead of the others to take pleasure in some cool night air. While I was standing there, a young man exited the establishment and it was obvious even to me that he had dipped far too deeply into some double-rectified hooch.
    He did not appear to be a happy drunk.
    He stared at me and said, “What you looking at Cosmo?” 
    Stunned, I looked around. I was the only one nearby. Now remember, at that point I was in a pleasant mood but his tone of voice, plus the fact that he had called me a name to which I took offense (although I did not know the significance of the name Cosmo), gave rise to irritation.
    Let me explain that a little drinking typically put me in good frame of mind, but I have decided upon reflection that when a rising testosterone level combines with alcohol, the result is usually a negative one. I should further make clear that fighting was not then, nor has ever been, my forte, but the dude was backing me into a corner.
    Luckily my family and friends emerged at this critical juncture and once they realized the situation and their testosterone kicked in, the fortunes of war changed dramatically for the unpleasant chap.
    Suddenly the cheerful group went into warrior mode as their personalities shifted. One of my close kin sneaked up behind him and smashed what I can only assume was a full diet drink can into his ear. That blow swiftly ended the battle and we all returned to concluding the evening’s festivities.
    In conclusion it is fair to say, based on the overwhelming evidence, that drinking could very well turn you into a moron who climbs into a sleeping bag the wrong way, a cantankerous loud mouth, or a dancing idiot, none of which are agreeable in polite company. 
    You don’t know which one you will be transformed into so work the safe side. 
    Practice abstinence. 
    Failing that, try for moderation.  If moderation does not succeed don’t blame me. 
    I warned you.

    Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at