The level of carnage I was met with on the streets was truly breathtaking.
Having stepped out into the cold night, I knew I would face some horrible sights, but I wasn’t truly ready for just how bad it was.
The real tragedy was that looking around at the casualties, I knew this was entirely avoidable, just through the use of sheer common sense alone.
Having walked a short distance along a busy street, I sidestepped a couple of bodies, pausing each time to check for vitals and responses.
Thankfully, on each occasion I can say the people lying scattered on the pavement were uninjured, if a little worse for wear.
This was Scotland, mid-December several years ago, Black Friday – the real Black Friday, not the silly American one where we’re expected to go nuts over a five per cent discount on unfestive items like toilet paper.
Black Friday falls each year on what is often the last Friday before Christmas, when most people in the UK will step out for their work Christmas lunch.
It’s become notorious because so many people end up dangerously drunk and incapable of looking after themselves.
Many of us enjoy a drink here and there, so it seems like the festive season is a great time to get, well, ‘more festive’.
Some blame those who don’t normally drink at any other time of year and suddenly let loose all in just one day, the general idea being they “just cannae handle it”.
But that’s not the case. There’s no one single group or type of person that’s to blame for the level of stupidity that ends up seeing our taxi ranks clogged, our streets littered with bodies, our police inconvenienced, and our A&E wards full.
While some may have a greater tolerance for alcohol than others (or at least they like to tell everyone they have), it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to moderate ourselves, and indeed look out for any members of our party who may be overdoing it a wee bit.
The fact that most office Christmas parties start at lunchtime and carry on until late is probably a big clue as to why we always end up with people stumbling around the streets like the walking dead.
Being able to “handle it”, doesn’t mean drinking as much as you can. It means knowing your limits and being smart enough to make the right choices. It means recognising that you’re done, and having the courage to say no.
By all means stay out and enjoy yourself, but don’t be afraid to sit out a round (preferably when it’s yours if you’re a frugal Fifer), or sneak in the odd soft drink.
No one’s going to think less of you if you pace yourself. In fact, they’re more likely to think less of you if you overcook it a bit and end up in a mess – you can guarantee you’ll be the talk of the office for at least the next year, and probably not in a good way.
This year it’s most likely going to be December 15 that Black Friday falls on, though given where Christmas lands it’s a safe bet that December 22 will be every bit as messy.
Let’s look after each other this year. Knowing your limits shouldn’t stop you enjoying yourself.