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Spyglass: Let’s Drink And Go To Heaven! 

By Azore Opio

"When you drink, you get drunk, when you get drunk, you go to sleep, when you sleep, you don’t sin, when you don’t sin, you go to heaven!" These words are printed on a well worn poster pasted on one of the walls of Buea Mt. Club reiterating the "sinlessness" of drinkers who get drunk and re-echoing our faith in celebrating life with "one man." That is our own way of rejoicing in our own wretchedness, loneliness and the sadness inflicted upon us.

Politicians stagger under the weight of beer; pastors become less flexible after a snort, judges are sobered up with a tot, cart-pushers and gutter snipes pep up their egos with beer, while mediocres well up with emotions. We express our deepest joys and sorrows, fears and longings, not in shouts and leaps as in football, but our ecstasy develops into throes after a jive time with the congenial bottle.

You may be secretly puzzled how we manage to move in and out of crapulence. We are neither scrooges nor lunatics. We live on the border of reality and fact land. Drinking hard is our source of renewal. You may want to know that our capacity for festivity, drinking if you like, exceeds anything in the World Olympics. This much is hardly news. We drink more actively than any other group in the whole round world.

Our survival largely depends on drinking heavily. If we add to this bountiful food and women, then drinking is immeasurably more central to either God or his son Jesus. Drinking for us stands for hard work; a no-nonsense world of no problems to be solved. In a society that has collapsed, where people feel that they are losing or have even lost grip on themselves, we have become self-conscious and meticulous about enforced drinking.

Drinking has become our ideological straw on which to hang for our dear lives. In a society where the spirit is petrified, mediocrity has throttled creativity and Nazi-type rituals are handed down from above to effect a sick kind of order to a depraved society and produce the appearance of unity; where freedom and joy are sacrificed on the altar of acquiescence; where nationhood has been prostituted and peddled for half the price of dross; where we doze through anthems and sermons, in classrooms, drinking can be the only peg on which to hang our cloaks of troubles.

How else can we enliven our impoverished spirits if not with beer? And why not delight in the company of the flesh of the daughters of Eve after boozing? It is a mistake to try to defend the notion that God created the human body without some elements of sensuality.

We have divided our world into two spheres: the world of fantastic drinking and the world of eating and sleeping. We are the true heirs of Bacchus. We were taught to drink and to turn our backs to the world of reality and revel in fantasies; to labour diligently in the world of breweries and respect Saint Bottles and not be tricked by future. We have obeyed. We have drawn a thick line between reality and fantasy. We have decided that drinking is our reality. Why not? Drinking is our dream, vision and strategy to living.

In addition, our highly moralistic society has taught us to be suspicious of anything that appears to waste out time or does not seem to serve the concrete interest of drinking, merry making and its accompaniments such as mirth, intemperance and speculation. Our ability to drink is our ability to survive.

We, the dipsomaniac-dreaming "drinkards" are the ones that made a breakthrough in the new art and science of drinking; we leapt out of the classical paradigm of drinking with our unfettered imagination and created history by not only envisioning a new way of drinking, but  also by becoming metaphysically impervious to change.

We have all begun to recognise that changes and development are not vital to our lives and that an aging regime needs its fair share of day-dreamers. Thus, we are on a wool-gathering trip that must not be interrupted.

Drinking has opened doors that would normally remain closed to us. Through them, we sneak into forbidden chambers; we quench the thirsts of highfaluting officials; we tell off our bosses, seduce gorgeous women; we see ourselves years ago or years yet to come and speculate on what could have been or what might have been whenever we are under the influence. All these are familiar functions of our advanced drinking. We are a drinking people with a difference.

Dazed by alcohol we are more at home with power-cuts, water shortages, ghastly accidents and multiple salary cuts and even beer shortage than people we call mentally ill. For those who abhor beer and don’t drink, they are dull, predictable drudges of the world living thirsty and shrunken lives. They are terrified by drinking, afraid that if they get drunk, they might never get back to sobriety and might end up inside asylum bars!

Drinking is not a subject for the student of the trivia. Most thoughts nursed about drinking have a rather cabalistic flavour, but drinking, in our opinion, is more than just a pastime. It is a holy thing. Anyone who has understood human suffering and boredom has, at least, venerated drinking at one time or the other.

There are those who argue that drinking represents a perversion of the faith. They are wrong. A sober society may hold hot temperament closer to its heart than an inebriated society does with solemnity. In any case, regardless of its eventual consequences, the fact of imbibing in undeniable; something of the jubilant, the Dionysian, joyous.

What is even more important is the fact that we, the "certified" drinkers are driven by the anaesthetic powers of alcohol not only out of the bars and streets, but into our houses and beds, and thus inevitably to sleep and obviously out of the reach of sin and mischief. What then stops us from going to heaven? Likewise, a society that encourages and promotes festive drinking affirms the sacredness of insobriety and lends its unalloyed support to a sombre, submissive social order.

What a repressive government does is, therefore, not a matter of urgent concern in itself. What happens to our stifled sensually benumbed culture is important. To dampen the spirit in the worship of alcohol is even more important, however, in the hope that the deodorant and prickliness of the alcoholic fumes will blanket the true smells of our miseries.

Drinking is our humus, if not a sedative. As humus, it has been our single greatest source of inspiration and creativity. We have carefully and conveniently nurtured and pampered it, and those with the unusual abilities at drinking have been greatly honoured.

As a tranquillizer, it has helped us ignore poverty, oppression, mediocrity and impunity; deprecate them and even try to pretend that they aren’t really there. Why then take such a derogatory view of drinking? After all, we are realists. We are such a thick-skinned, hard-nosed, pragmatic and problem-proof culture that we do not want to be distracted by something as ephemeral as development.

If you didn’t know, drinking is how we measure our happiness, our standards of living and success. We define our philosophy and ideology, our social transformation by the number of bottles we emptied yesterday or of the number of crates we donated to the funeral the other day.

Thus, we crave you to imbibe the "Drinkard’s Creed":
You want to be saved in the name of beer?
Take a beer and all shall be well with you
Your life shall change in the name of the almighty beer

Allelujah! Amen!
Let’s drink and go to heaven!

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