An Observation of Fantasy TV

Natasha and I have had an ongoing observation.

A question, really.

“How come we could never drink at work?”

It comes from viewing the fantasy of television and movies, where there’s never an inappropriate time or place to have a drink.

On NCIS, Director Vance has a stock of adult refreshment in plain view and will occasionally offer a dram of golden liquid to one of his employees.

On A Discovery of Witches, the vampire drinks red wine in his laboratory. He says it doesn’t have the same effect on him as it does regular humans, but I don’t buy it.

On TV Westerns, the marshal and his deputy are day-drinking in the saloon when on duty. Natasha and I are not sure how they can do that and then shoot straight when the bad guy calls them out into the dusty street for a gun fight.

In numerous movies and TV shows, we’ve seen people at their workplace who open their desk drawers and haul out a flask of intoxication as if it’s no big deal and has no great effect on them. There are no rules or consequences. There is no one to stop them and say, “That’s probably not a good idea.”

I remember many days in my past work life where a shot of something might have been good for the soul and stress. However, if one does not have the wherewithal to practice moderation or if it somehow becomes a daily habit, there could be serious repercussions. It’s one thing to overdose every day on sugar to combat stress, it’s another to become a drunken mess who can’t think straight.

Although, there were days when I didn’t need a drink to not think straight.


Although Natasha and I are retired and we could drink all day, every day, we don’t. We both have to be careful about what and how much to imbibe, if anything. Wine and clear alcohol make for bad headaches in moi, and, with the pandemic and staying home, I haven’t had much beer or brandy over the past 12 months. It’s been a tough, sobering year.

Still, it’s fun to point out the working day-drinkers on TV and wonder “how come we didn’t get to do that?” while we snack on our healthy chips, drink purified water and know that we probably wouldn’t have if we could have.

Spreadsheets and contracts are hard enough to analyze and decipher without adding in blurred vision.

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21 responses to An Observation of Fantasy TV

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Now that I think about it, you’re right. Not only that, but it was characteristic of some of my favorite characters. Lou Grant and Colonel Potter come to mind immediately. I had a bottle of bourbon in my desk at work, and some disposable shot glasses. The bottle was given to me to keep, after no one drank any at a company outing. I was able to avoid it, but I poured a few shots for others.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Yes! Colonel Potter! I would have accepted a shot of something adultish from him or you. At least you’re able to say you had alcohol in your desk drawer, even if you didn’t imbibe. I had to rely on my drawer of chocolate, chips, nuts and other stress-relieving chewable.

      Have a nice Wednesday and a beer Dan, because you can!

      • Dan Antion says:

        We were not allowed to have alcohol in the office, but the CEO told them to give it to me (and may have had one of the shots). I had plenty of chocolate. I might do a little yard work today. In that case, a beer will be welcome.

  2. quiall says:

    What an astute observation! Vance does have a lovely array of liquor. Now I’m going to watch other shows because I’m pretty sure they do it too. I felt guilty when I brought a rum cake to work. But I didn’t stop everybody from polishing it off

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Rum cake…yum! Many, many moons ago, Pam, I remember having an adult refreshment (with a few others) during a lunch break from work, but that was a time when others smoked at the tsble and I was under a lot less stress.

  3. Ally Bean says:

    At one point early in my working life I worked in a large law firm where the lawyers drank during the day. At lunch. In the afternoons. In the evenings working late It wasn’t considered a big deal. BUT now thinking back on it, it was odd.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I mentioned this once before in one of my posts – the judge who married my ex and I at the courthouse long ago was inebriated at 10:30 in the morning. We could smell it. He was well-known for his love of adult refreshment in the community, which was not necessarily a good thing. A number of years later, he came to lunch with my boss and me and another employee, and I witnessed firsthand a 3-martini lunch. I’m guessing the job of sentencing people got to him.

      • Ally Bean says:

        Wowsa, that’s a lot of martinis at one time. I imagine you’re right about the strain of sentencing people. Plus lawyers do have a reputation for being hard drinkers.

  4. Since I work until I go to bed at night, I do sometimes drink on the job (of writing, not editing other people’s books) at dinner. It usually leads to falling asleep on the job. 😛

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Lol, that sounds like me…wanting to sleep after a beer and a meal. At least you are your own boss and don’t have to face HR for sleeping on the job.

      • No, I’m harder on myself than any HR could be, though, when I don’t get things done. Sometimes I wish I had someone to crack a whip. 😛

  5. lois says:

    Well, this is a fun thing I never thought about before. Can you picture Casual Friday….being really casual?! Cheers, Mary.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      We had football Fridays at work (jeans and team apparel), so why not add in a tailgate party and mug of beer. Yup, that would be extremely casual…and nonproductive!

  6. John Hric says:

    Day drinking shortens the feed back loop. There is always someone ready to comment on lame ideas. Without even being asked.

  7. murisopsis says:

    Oh my! I don’t drink but I’ve known a couple of bosses who kept a bottle in their desks. I worked in research and there was zero tolerance for drinking on the job – literally lives were in our hands and those hands had to be stone cold sober!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      There are definitely jobs that require total focus and a sober state. Research and brain surgery would be two.

  8. J-Dub says:

    In 1984, I had a boss who kept a flask in his desk drawer. He wasn’t the only one either. They changed the handbook in the later 80s. I don’t remember exactly when. I had all but forgotten about that.

  9. JoAnna says:

    Now that you mention it, there is a lot of day drinking on TV. Dan’s mention of Col Potter reminded me of my dad who loved MASH. Dad developed a drinking problem in Vietnam and struggled to cut down afterward when stationed at Guantanamo Bay. It was not easy. I learned about this many years later, so apparently it was somewhat under control by the time he got home. But it’s a slippery slope for a lot of people.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You are right, JoAnna. So many people have to be careful with alcohol, so it is good the TV version of reality is not always true reality.

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