It was also another day where I continued with my year long experiment of not drinking any alcohol at all. There was no normal weekend trip to the local bottle shop to buy my normal bottle of wine and six-pack of beer, and despite some internal reluctance to make way for a new habit I tried to console myself with the fact I would be saving about a hundred, maybe two-hundred bucks a week by not drinking.
Looks like I’m finding a new way to get loaded: saving money.
After putting our 15-month-old daughter to bed my wife and I sat down to watch a video. We decided on The Social Network, the film based on the true story of the founding of Facebook. We’ve been meaning to see it for a while but what with being parents now we don’t always get to do everything we mean to. My wife thought the film was a bit dialogue heavy but I really enjoyed it, once I got over the fact a billion dollar empire was built by some guy called Mark in the few years I was bumming around London trying to become a rock star.
Why hadn’t I become a computer programmer? was a question I asked myself more than a couple of times.
In one scene in the film Mark Zuckerberg ‘interviews’ interns for a new position by inventing a drinking/programming game in which the budding programmers have to do shots while devising complex coding. In an earlier scene the Zuckerberg character spends an all-nighter drinking beer and programming, and this is, we are lead to believe, the night he came up with the idea for what became Facebook.
Perhaps it is simply because I am on a break from booze but I paid special attention to these scenes of drinking and creating. It made me think a bit about the role of alcohol in creative breakthroughs. Also, since most of the film is centred around legal-battle flashbacks, it is interesting to consider how reliable Zuckerberg’s memory of events was considering he was supposedly tanked at the genesis moment.
As we are told via the closing credits, and however Zuckerberg ‘got there’, his company changed the way much of the world communicates, making him a very rich man in the process: Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in the world.
And, according to The Social Network, beer helped him get there. Cool, right?
I’m sure the target market of fourteen-year-old boys would agree. The idea that getting drunk after bad-blogging your girlfriend (who’s just dumped you for being judgemental, manipulative and highly strung) can lead to riches beyond your wildest dreams is one which would obviously appeal to angry young men everywhere.
But what of another route to worldly success? Can you make a billion without getting wasted?
Love or loathe him Donald Trump has, like Zuckerberg, made a lot of money too. There are probably many differences between the two men but I think one notable one is Trump is a non-drinker. That’s right, Trump is a teetotaler: Teetotal Trump.
In the article linked to in the previous sentence Trump explains how after watching his brother die from alcoholism it was easy for him to give up the hard stuff. Of course, he’s a business man first and foremost though and doesn’t seem to suffer any moral conundrum in owning and marketing his own brand of ‘Trump Vodka’.
However Zuckerberg and Trump made their buckets of cash it seems, in some way, alcohol played a part. Whether drinking leads to creative thinking or poor choices is not an easy question to answer (there are too many other variables to consider) but one thing’s for sure, taking a year off booze is definitely helping me make some money.
Already I’m saving about thirty bucks a day.
Little Booze Joke Number 10:
Q. What do you call someone who uses Facebook drunk?
A. An Off-Your-Facebooker.