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lll. Where the College Man Gets Off.


The college man has been noted since the wastrel days of the Goliards as a bacchant of the first degree. How much truth and how much poetical tradition there is in this reputation it is rather difficult to say. It is sufficiently true that each succeeding generation during its four short years of life endeavors through the medium of a few picked individuals to maintain the glory of the vine.

The proportion of young men in college who are not total abstainers is perhaps rather large in relation to the average of a community. The proportion of those who talk about it is overwhelmingly large. The proportion of those who are addicted to alcohol is surprisingly minute.

The college man does not drink. He gets drunk. The occasions of his getting drunk are varied and sporadic. A football victory, a visit to the metropolis, a check from home, the end of the examinations, a large party, a small party, may serve as the whywithal of a "spree." The aftermath consists largely in telling how much he drank, remembering with a triplicated record the sum of beverages which come his way. If a college man had no one to drink with, if he had no one to tell about it afterwards, he would be as abstinent as a sailor on the sea.

There are few cocktail-sippers among typical undergraduates. Those who drink do so not for the pleasure, but for the effect. It is the grand deflance of their abundant youth towards disaster. It is much as a rich man may throw away pennies, knowing that pennies make riches, but confident of the abundance of his resources.

Again, the college man drinks for friendship. His been hours represent those times when he may come the closest amity to his fellows. Poetry? Surely. But a fourth the things we do, and a half that are worth doing, are done for impractical reasons.

In the total we may say that alcohol does small real harm to college men. It wastes time, both in the imbibing and the recounting. It wastes money, but a college man would do that anyway. On the other hand, it puts the climax to a full evening, and affords the means of a certain amount of boon cordiality. The harm which the drinking of the college man does is not personal, but by example. There is a proportion of our citizens by no means small who, while vociferously disparaging the college man, yet copy after a fashion his method of dressing, his method of talking, and his method of drinking. The college man may not be a source to them of the desire for drink; but he is an inspiration.

An unusually large number of men have declared their intentions of abstaining during the war. We do not wish to urge a resolution so unalterable against a man's own conscience. Yet the effect by example would be tremendous on the philistine world. It would serve as a mark for those to whom abstinence would require the breaking of a habit rather than the denial of a sporadic amusement.

We have deeper ways of binding friendships now than with drink. We have surer tests of manhood than a Freshman's ability to stand up after eight highballs. We have more important things to do than get drunk once a week, once a month, or once in six.

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