Yes, we're a very selective bunch when it comes to paying attention. It's not that we don't enjoy looking for extra sins to add to the other seven. It's not that we don't take the Ten Commandments seriously, even though what happens in church tends to stay in church. It's just that after everything the human race has been through over the last two millennia, everything we've screwed up by trying to be clever—like creating the atomic bomb, poison VX gas, and world-killing viruses—if there ever was a Second Coming, we'd probably ask JC to turn the seas and oceans into vodka and then take a long swim. Every single one of us.
Earlier this week, it seemed that the prayers of millions had been answered, in that respect, when the previously unknown Mr. Mark Phillips introduced something seemingly less destructive. Well, probably less deliberately destructive than smartypants physics boffins making craters out of foreign countries.
"Move over Buddy Christ and make way for Palcohol," the headlines might as well have said. You may have read about that, the powdered alcohol that you add to water, to make your favorite beverage to get shitfaced with? Only just introduced to the United States this week, this happy hour in a packet was soon to be the savior of every boy and girl who couldn't get served at pubs, bars, and booze stores across the States, or those who simply couldn't afford high liquor prices.
Well, Fanboys Anonymous now reports that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has just very hastily reversed their approval of the product, thanks to a flurry of negative publicity. So long, Palcohol, we hardly knew ya! Gutted!
|One for ma homies...|
Palcohol, which came in different types of spirits (mainly vodka and rum, followed by cocktail flavors such as mojito, margarita, etc), was designed as a handy means to a refreshing beverage in difficult circumstances. It could have been very convenient to those of us who don't have the luxury of weekends, or evenings away from work; it could have saved a lot of money at weekend music festivals and the like; it would also have saved luggage space on hikes and camping trips (thus making the perfect addition to your Zombie Survival Kit).
You may also have used it, at the website's suggestion, for cooking purposes or smuggled it into large event venues (which was a big reason the TTB pulled it), and I imagine the straight vodka mix would have made a handy first aid kit if you needed an instant disinfectant or astringent..
However, beyond the TTB's own reasons for their reverse decision, introducing this miracle beverage posed great challenges that society hadn't yet taken into account. Firstly, it presented minors with the opportunity to sneak alcohol around unnoticed. Kids have been covertly bringing vodka into their schools for decades by mixing it with coke and energy drinks. The difference with Palcohol? You wouldn't have had to conceal its appearance with soft drinks to get it into the building. You could go right ahead and slip it into your bottled water, allowing you to ruin your future at will.
|Terrible waste of cigarettes.|
I don't have a drinking problem, except when I can't get a drink! - Tom Waits, Bad Liver and a Broken Heart
NEVERRR!!! - Marv, Home Alone 2
No, Palcohol wasn't entirely aimed at responsible drinkers, despite the product's disclaimer to "Drink Responsibly!" Even a half-witted marketing team knows that in order to maximize profits for something that's meant to be a breakthrough product, they must make that product appeal to those between the ages of 15 and 35, even if it can't legally be sold to those younger than 18 or 21.
The young and carefree, the old enough to know better but still too young to give a shit, and those who don't understand the concept of moderation, these are the intended markets for any alcoholic product that isn't a reputable brand. It's competition, it's market saturation. Lipsmark (the company behind Palcohol) may not have directly advertised to minors, but they wouldn't have been the only ones selling this stuff in the near future, had it proved popular.
There are other concerns you would have to consider before playing around with your powder of choice. If dumbasses will take a shot of vodka to the eyeball, they would have done the same with Palcohol. As vodka generally ranges from 36 percent to 40 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) at least, this behavior has already proven dangerous. It might only have been a matter of time before somebody handed you a double dose. Then what? Sue the company? What does it matter when the damage is already done?
The same goes for snorting the stuff. You might not have been warned. You'd be an idiot to shove anything up your nose, but that doesn't stop people from doing it. An outrageously fun night of drunkenness and high spirits makes some people act idiotic. The rest of us tend to stand back and laugh, because who in their drunkenly right mind would listen to the voice of reason?
|"I lurrr da smell of Palcohol in the morning... reminds me of Cuba!"|
Although Palcohol was a very clever invention, it wouldn't have been likely to reinvent the alcoholic beverage industry. It doesn't improve on what we already have access to. It just would have given drinkers another convenient option. Yet I think it's safe to say that the novelty would have made Mark Phillips a profitable man. Palcohol may even have become a familiar sight on store shelves, but I doubt it would have dented sales statistics of well-known brands. This would have been a little Internet shopping phenomenon at best, the one place where anybody can get their hands on stuff they shouldn't.
An afterthought: When I read about this last night, I'd previously skimmed an article on disgusting convenience foods. As a result, I immediately thought that Palcohol belonged to Yum! Brands. You know, those guys that make monstrous fast food items because they think people have no standards?!
Was this just another irresponsibly marketed Frankenfood, or was it more clever than we're letting on? I'm sure astronauts everywhere were pissing themselves with excitement, as were prisoners looking for new and exciting things to hide up their bum. Yet after way over a decade of destroying my guts with beer, wine, and spirits, I was seeing past the novelty the moment I laid eyes upon it. This could easily have been another irresponsible product that encouraged young people to destroy their health just for shits and giggles.
Sound off, Fanboys and Fangirls! What do you make of this sudden change of heart? Would you have liked to try Palcohol and do you think the decision was unfair? Comments below and thanks for reading.