Making An Impression

A Fool In NH Column Heading

In New Hampshire it is illegal to have pictures of minors on the labels of alcoholic beverages. Some think this encourages children to drink.
I’m sure that some of you right now are asking: “Why would pictures of coal workers make kids want to imbibe?”
I hate to break the news to you who are in this camp because, even though you did use the word “imbibe” properly, you were thinking of a different spelling and meaning of the word “minor.”
For those of you adults who knew what this “minor” meant, you are probably asking: “Is worrying about pictures of kids on beer bottles really a big problem? It seems like we should be focusing on more important things when it comes to our kids, like education, so when they are old enough to actually want to read the part of the newspapers that focuses on things like new laws instead of the Kardashians, they will not be confused with the word “minor” as opposed to “miner.”
Okay, I’ll be serious and start again.
It has been decided, by adults, that putting images of those under legal age on containers of alcoholic beverages could, in some way, shape or form, encourage those under legal age to want to partake of said alcoholic beverage. (That was me, trying to talk like a responsible and knowing adult…or a lawyer.)
Are kids impressionable? Of course. I should know, I was one once and by seeing advertisements that encouraged me to think that it would be much cooler to be older so I could do things older people did, caused me to age and, every morning when I wake up and see strange hairs growing out of my ears, I rue the day I ever paid attention to that advertising.
If I hadn’t had to satisfy that curiosity that was part of being a kid, I might still be one today. Then again, with pictures of kids on beer bottles and other everyday influences into the world of adulthood that is so prevalent, I probably wouldn’t have made it and I’d been an adult today anyway.
It is a vicious and confusing circle.
Anything we can do to keep kids from wanting to act like adults is a good thing. We already have way too many adults in the world and they really are the only reason that we have so many problems.
It’s the adults that keeping screwing things up by doing things like starting wars, becoming politicians, inventing new fad diets and putting the pictures of kids on beer bottles.
I think eliminating pictures of kid on beer bottles is just a first step. How about putting a ban on kid’s being used in supposedly clever commercials where they act like stressed out adults in an attempt to sell us older folks one product or another? Kids watch these commercials too and could be influenced to want to act like stressed out adults way before their time.
How about making it illegal for adults to tell a kid, while twisting their cheek: “You are getting so big” in that condescending tone we all remember. All it made us want to do was hurry and grow up so we could be as big, or bigger, than the person who did thid so they would finally leave us alone. The worst part was that once we grew up, we started doing it ourselves. Talk about impressionable.
Of course, I realize the point of the kids on beer cans thing is that we don’t want kids to drink alcohol when they are young and I agree wholeheartedly. Drinking is a thing that should only be done by adults who are already at the age where they’ve embarrassed themselves enough in their lifetime that it doesn’t really matter any longer.
I think that if we simply expose kids to a few family parties where Uncle Lou and Cousin Bernie get into one of their sloppy political arguments around the dining room table after a few beers, that would do much more to sway them from ever wanting to have a drink than anything that isn’t on a label would.
Will keeping images of kids off of alcoholic beverages keep them from drinking at an early age? It’s hard to say. We as species are very impressionable and in this day and age of the Internet, Social Media and cable television, the temptations to be influenced are everywhere. Still, I guess we, as adults, need to do all we can to keep some of those influences from reaching those who aren’t old enough to make the right choices.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to make a phone call. The guy on TV said if I make the call within the next ten minutes I will get not just one, but two combination potato peelers and toenail clippers for only $9.95.

Brendan’s new book “The Best Of A F.O.O.L. in New Hampshire” is now available online at www.foolinnh.com and at the Weirs Times.