My brother has a couple of theories in life....which tend to be concreted down. One of those....is that we need to revert back to the 1970s hard-eight-hour-physical-jobs, where a guy wrapped up things and was just too tired to get into much trouble after work. Today, there's all these guys who have no employment. They start to drift around, turning into thugs, and getting themselves into trouble.
This is the same group who gets mostly wrapped around the axle on politics, NCAA football, affairs with the neighbor's wife, spending a bucket of the wife's income on some garage project, doping up, and stealing stuff from their friends and associates.
I came across this interesting Dutch article this week, which suggests a solution for such problems.
Up around Amsterdam, there's this park.....Oosterpark, where the unemployed guys....the homeless guys...and those just out to cause trouble...would meet.
They'd meet up at the park and drink heavily throughout the day. Naturally, this led onto issues for the neighborhood, and frankly.....some folks just said 'enough'.
The solution? Well, it's an odd one.
The city had this foundation group who stepped in. They had some cash. The park needed minor maintenance and cleaning. So a deal was worked out.
The deal is simple. You show up as just a guy on the street....around nine in the morning. The deal starts with two beers (yeah, I know it's early but real drinkers drink this way). Then you have to perform some clean-up work. You can't just disappear.....you have to pick up a rake and do some actual work.
Around lunch....comes a warm meal, a half-pack of tobacco for rolling cigarettes, and two more free beers. Then in the mid-afternoon....comes the ten Euro ($13) and one final free beer. The guys conclude things, and typically walk home after that.
Fights? Well....they kinda stopped. Arguments in the park? They stopped. Guys laying around the park in midday from a surge on booze? It doesn't happen now.
It's not clear about success in this episode. It appears that most of the guys still drink....after work. But they tend to be more physically tired....so the frustration level is lessened. Arguments? The locals will say that they don't hear the big talk like they used to.
The guys admit....it's regular beer (the five-percent type), and not the heavier stuff (eight to ten percent). Getting drunk off two beers is a bit difficult.
My brother would say this proved his philosophy on this business....hard work cures life's ills. I'd tend to say that it proves the promise of a beer....might be a better solution in life than social programs, political gimmicks, and million-dollar homeless foundations.