Alcohol as Metaphor

Bill Bumpus's picture

By DAVID MACARAY

Some
years ago, when I was a union rep with the West Coast papermakers, I
was called in on a DOJ case (drunk on the job) to represent an employee
who was facing termination.  While DOJs were by no means common, they
weren’t exactly rare, either. 

Alcohol
cases vary dramatically in how they’re perceived.  If a professor or
judge shows up drunk, it’s amazing how sympathetic people can be.  They
become almost maternal in their concern.  Someone this
accomplished, this educated, doing something this disgraceful can mean
only one thing: the man is “fighting personal demons.”  A drunken
judge?  Oh my god, there has to be some tragic human story to explain
it.

But
let it be a factory worker who’s been drinking, and the guy is regarded
as a low-class degenerate who needs to be fired immediately.  But what
about this man’s “personal demons”?  Screw his personal demons.  He’s
fired.  Get him the hell out of here.

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