Truth In Advertising: Warning Labels For Alcohol

October 6, 2011 Alistair McHarg

"If you need brain surgery it’s almost always a good idea to involve other people." Taz Mopula

The first time I heard the term “self-medication” I laughed out loud. In searching for an analogy one thinks immediately of the old adage – the lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client. But that’s when the stakes are low, going free or going to jail. How about when the stakes are high? Sanity versus insanity? Life versus death?

Jean Paul Sartre, a very clever fellow, used to play Russian roulette because he was bored. Well, self-medication is like playing Russian roulette with one big difference, all the gun’s chambers contain live ammo.

Self-medication – (the term itself is preposterous) - fits nicely into the insufferable arrogance and egotism of mania – as if to say – I can manage this little spot of bother myself with nothing more complicated than some garden-variety drugs. I remember it all too vividly – “throwing gasoline on a fire”. monkey-drinking-booze

I adored the adrenaline rush of mania, and I tried to “manage it” with marijuana and alcohol – marijuana to knock the sharp edges off the mania and make it smooth and yummy – and alcohol to slow me down and mellow me out to the point where I wasn’t constantly irritated by the sheer inanity of the huddled masses and their inability to keep up with me.

It was an inspired strategy except that it wasn’t and a brilliant idea except that it almost got me killed – folks – when it comes time for brain surgery you really need to involve others, professionals – people who actually know what they’re doing.

The hubris and sense of entitlement one encounters in a person at the apex of mania are astounding, but add in the loss of inhibitions and appalling judgment that arise from drunkenness and you have a confident imbecile who thrives on risk-taking and abusing authority.

Some people can drink; I’m not three of them. It would be nice if the folks who made booze would take people like me into consideration. For example, if booze came with realistic warning labels with statements like these.

WARNING: Excessive Use Of This Product Might Cause You To:

Invade Russia during the winter.

Buy life insurance from a guy named Guido.

Toss your Rolex onto the chips in the expectation of filling out an inside straight.

Believe your boss really wants your advice about improving the department.

Think you’ve suddenly become a great singer who will dazzle them all on karaoke night.

Tell the cop of course you knew it was a one-way street; you were only driving one way.

Impress your mother in law with that joke about the octopus and the bagpipes.

Get the word THINK tattooed on your forehead backwards so you can read it in the mirror while you’re shaving.

The list would be long. Perhaps reading it would give us time to get over the absurd idea that we can “medicate” ourselves using drugs that are designed to rob of us of our reason.

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2011, October 6). Truth In Advertising: Warning Labels For Alcohol, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

Steve M
October, 12 2011 at 11:54 pm

Great post. Sounds like a good idea for a PR exercise for a drinks company or a competition. Who can come up with the funniest warning label, similar to yours above. So long as it doesn't get them into trouble with the PC police, of course!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
October, 13 2011 at 1:01 am

Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the reply. I like your idea a lot - the possibilities seem almost limitless!

Angela McClanahan
October, 11 2011 at 6:06 am

Or perhaps: "you are not nearly as awesome as you are about to think you are." ;)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
October, 11 2011 at 6:22 am

Outstanding! So true!

Jacki M SeiWell
October, 7 2011 at 1:17 pm

well said,

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