Alcoholic. When you hear that word, what image comes to mind? Is it the drunk, out of control father sitting in his comfy chair in a wife beater pounding sixers and wreaking havoc on his wife and family? Is it the stumbling homeless guy who smells like pure ethanol begging for change on the corner and sipping something out of a brown, paper bag? Maybe it’s Meg Ryan falling over in her shower because she’s pissy drunk at three o’clock in the afternoon a la When a Man Loves a Woman. The word “alcoholic” is loaded. We attach very specific meaning and imagery to it, depending on cultural norms and proximity to alcoholism in our own lives. But what does it really mean?
I hate the comments section and I realize that I’m not professing anything radical or new by saying so. Everybody kind of hates the comments section on social media, don’t they? It is a cesspool filled with trolls and keyboard warriors talking past one another, nitpicking and parsing the most asinine of details to side step the actual point of a topic, peppered with well-intending, but sometimes melodramatic internet unloaders who are quickly made for easy bait and seized upon. And I among them.
The comments section is my new drug of choice. Truly. I’ve taken to social media has a form of anti-meditation where I maintain a singular focus on what can only be described as the worst parts of our nature (I’m looking at you, Twitter). I can stay there, stuck on scroll for hours on end, quite literally. What a wonder it must be to watch: me fixated on the screen, scrolling, stopping, clicking, reading, reacting (or trying not to), and refreshing – always refreshing. Each refresh is a new “hit.” What is happening? What do people have to say about it? What narrative will I opt into? How can I speed read this article so I can get to the thread and weigh in, either in reality or my mind? Where will my outrage take root today?