beerHow's this for a sign that the world has gone crazy? A dad asked his son to hold his beer during a preseason Arizona Cardinals game, and the act got both father and son kicked out of the stadium! Ya know, because it's letting a minor "possess" alcohol and all.

Uh. Huh.

John Coulter told USA Today he wanted to take a photograph shortly after kickoff, so he handed his brewski to his 15-year-old son. Who wouldn't? Stadium brews are priced like liquid gold. I wouldn't want to stand the chance that it would get tipped over either.

But Coulter says the innocent "hold my beer" moment landed him in trouble with undercover officers from the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, who told the father it was illegal and kicked him out of the stadium. One official later stated the dad got lucky becausehe could have been charged -- and the misdemeanor could carry as much two years in jail, a $2,500 fine, and three years probation.

FOR A DAD LETTING HIS KID HOLD A BEER.

America! Can we drop this puritanical approach to alcohol? Please?

He didn't GIVE the kid a beer. He let him hold it. There is a big difference.

Parents have gone 'round and 'round for decades over whether it's OK to let younger kids taste alcohol. I'm firmly in the "it takes the taboo out of alcohol camp," but to each his own.

If you don't think kids should even have a taste, that's your prerogative.

But I think we can all agree that there's a big difference between having alcohol around kids, even letting a child hold an alcoholic beverage, and actually SERVING them alcohol.

I grew up in the country where fetching your Dad a beer from the fridge is just what kids do. We touched the beer. It did not give us cooties.

Nor did it make us more likely to drink. As my 8-year-old daughter (who, gasp, has held my beer) noted the other day when the subject of alcohol came up, I "don't drink it very much."

Call it anecdotal evidence; I am just one person of many.

But beer (and wine and liquor) is around kids all the time, sometimes even in their hands. You see kids moving their parents' beer from the grocery cart onto the conveyor belt. You see kids helping Mom carry her bag of booze out of the liquor store. You see kids shoving the bottle of wine out of the way in the fridge to get at the juice boxes.

None of this is "serving" a kid booze. But they're about as involved with it as John Coulter's 15-year-old was by "holding" Dad's beer.

Honestly, there is really no way to completely excise all evidence that alcohol exists from kids' lives. And yet there's nothing to indicate that simply being in proximity to the hard stuff destines our kids to become alcoholics -- in fact the CDC data indicates only 5 percent of Americans fall into the "heavier" drinking category. Five percent does not an epidemic make, folks.

Five percent is not a reason to freak out.

Let's remember: alcohol IS legal. It may not be legal for kids to drink it (although it is actually OK in many states for parents to serve their own children in the privacy of their own homes), but as long as it IS legal for adults to possess it, we have to acknowledge that their kids will be around it ... maybe even touch the cup.

Do you let your kids hold your beer? Was this dad out of line?

 

Image via Lee Coursey/Flickr