By Andru McCracken, EDITOR
I’ve pretty much given up on social media as a sort of vehicle that, by its very existence would somehow help humanity. As it turns out, it’s mostly just a massive timesuck eating away at what is real, and devouring what’s most precious: time. Social media is an endless well of half-truths and flat out lies we like to tell ourselves, a dangerous way to organize ourselves into bubbles, classes, marketing segments. Our profiles there are a projection of the life we really wish we were living. In reality we are glued to our devices losing much of our connection to reality. If the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was made to suffer through this age, he would have probably ranked social media lower than religion… and he didn’t like religion very much.
But recently, with the help of a friend I stumbled across one teensy little light on the internet: the BC Whiskey Wizards. There I found grown men sharing their fear, anguish, rage and helplessness.
If there is one thing that is notably missing in the boundaryless age of social media it is actual sharing.
The BC Whiskey Wizards’ feed on Facebook puts a new twist on something as old as time.
Here, men post the things that have got them down, what’s got them worried, what they are struggling with, what they’ve done about it, and sometimes how their actions have failed.
Sometimes they are just venting, wanting to be heard. Sometimes they are asking for advice. Sometimes they are just grieving a loss or a partner or a friendship.
What unites all of these things in the weird little world of wizards is this: None of these things are supposed to be talked about.
Most of us guys are counselled hard from an early age never to talk about what’s weighing on them, our fears, or our weaknesses.
But, maybe in the same way we can type such awful comments on the most mundane things without considering other people’s feelings, social media allows some guys to type out what is actually on their minds and hearts without a filter.
It’s not that this is the first time someone has ever attempted to provide solace to guys or to get them to talk. There are lots of programs (in bigger places) to help guys work out their feelings and understand themselves, but what Tommy Gunn-Smith and his friend Ron Tuck have going on in spades is that they’re just two dudes that like whiskey.
Tommy demolishes stuff and ties rebar for a living. He’s not a white collar program manager with a fist full of degrees in psychology. He’s a blue collar dad and step dad trying to keep the peace at home, trying his best not to fight with his wife. And as he’s setting up an anonymous whiskey gift service for people down on their luck and going crazy with COVID-19, he happens to notice other men in his position.
He and his friend accidentally built something really big. As big as a hot tub time machine.
Every once in a while, the internet spits out another gamechanger. Wikipedia was one in my books (hey it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn good). This is another.
The fact that the program got started by guys who thought it would be cool to have a bottle of whiskey and a couple joints show up on their doorstep once in a while is a big reason the project has merit.
Like anything, your mileage will vary. There is an awful lot of, emmm, un-professional advice.
The answers on ‘how do I get to sleep” range from ‘read a book’ to ‘get stoned and drunk before bed.’
One dad of a four year old asked how if the “F” could he get his four year old to sleep and I was in the middle of typing an answer (I also have a four year old at home) and I suddenly realized, I don’t have a bleeping clue.
Mansplaining here comes with the territory.
But even though all the answers aren’t genius, the fact that men of my generation are getting the opportunity to say what it is that is grinding on them? That’s new.
If Nietzsche were alive for this one, I’m thinking he’d be getting a lot of relationship advice and even better I’ll bet some dudes would drop off a basket of whiskey and weed.
Whiskey and weed really won’t solve anything, mostly they just complicate issues that are complicated enough, but having a chance to talk about the issues that are weighing you down with people that will listen, that’s really good. And even in this connected age, it’s hard to find.