What happens when men and women in blue suffer from fear of the empty beer mug? It means we teeter on the brink of destruction.

A man called Trent

A person I’ll call Trent was a friend many years ago. When he was about 20-years-old, he referred to my brother as “Homie.” Except Trent used the term differently. He wasn’t using it as street slang for a “good friend.” Absent flattery, he meant my brother always spent time with his family. In other words, he was “Homey” with his wife and kids.

About ten years later Trent worked as an assistant basketball coach at a local high school. The police department played the fire department in a charitable basketball game in their gym. As I conversed with Trent at the conclusion of the game, I asked if he was turning into a “Homey” as he used the term with my brother many years earlier. He knew exactly what I meant when he replied, “This ‘Homie’ don’t play that ‘Homey’ game.” In other words, drinking and partying were his values, not the stability of home and family, even though he was recently married.

Fear of the empty beer mug

Several years later we (the police department) received a 9-1-1 call from Trent’s home. Medics arrived, but it was too late. Trent literally drank himself to death. He suffered from the self-inflicted ailment, Cenosillicaphobia—fear of the empty beer mug! But he died from alcohol poisoning.

Homey brings stability

I share this story because I want to affirm a value with men and women. It may not be trendy to dramatically reduce or eliminate the time you spend bar hopping with your friends, but the homey lifestyle brings stability that will never be found in the pub.

Moreover, I am not coming at this from a self-righteous perspective. I enjoy time connecting with peers. But there comes a point of saturation when bonding turns into vagabonding and it’s harmful in more ways than one. If there is a stool named in your honor at the local bar, that is a red flag. 

Finally, the value of family will far outweigh other attributes gained during a life well lived. Yet is doesn’t happen by accident. It takes concentrated effort, the fruits of which will undergird all that matters.

Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today

(Photo courtesy Eric Jackson)