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Getting Hammered 

Gentlemen stay in control. Even when they’re not in control, they find it useful to foster the illusion of control. Restraint and self-control are at the very root of what it means to be a gentleman. In particular, a gentleman is in control when others are panicked, in a drunken frenzy, or otherwise losing it.

(There are, of course, occasional exceptions, such as when Blackthorne acts like a crazed idiot to distract the enemy samurai in Shogun, but this was a piece of brilliant calculation rather a true nutzoid fit.)

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Since gentlemen also tend to know their existentialism, they realize that we don’t control the universe at large; in fact, we really have very little idea, speaking from a big picture point of view, what the Hell we’re doing on earth, or how this whole thing really began. (If every effect has a cause, as Western science posits, what was the first cause? How did this all begin? What could she possibly see in him? How could that stock have cratered?) Of course, these are the very sorts of questions that might lead us to try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, but that won’t do. A drink or two is fine, but very few people really become more attractive to others when drinking, and alcohol or drugs rarely help a gentleman become his best self.

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As for drugs, we have very fond memories of the week at Ocean City, with everyone so stoned that they couldn’t stop laughing long enough to order dinner. But we were 18 then, and we’re not 18 any more. As long as users stay away from cars, we can’t get too terribly upset about mild recreational drug use. But as Isaiah said, we gave up childish things when we became a man. And now that we’re old enough and wise enough to realize how little we really control, we’re more determined than ever to look God, or nature or whatever, straight in the eye and ask a few hard questions. But we’d prefer to be sober when we do.

PS We know you think you’re better looking, and funnier, and more virile when you’re drunk. But no, no, and no. Just so you know.

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