On October 20, I used this space to lecture about temperance. I climbed up on my soapbox and explained that the freedom built into the college lifestyle should not be abused, because someday in the not-too-distant future our generation will be responsible for preserving civilization in an era of growing population, advancing technology, diminishing natural resources, and mounting cultural tensions.

This inheritance, I insisted, will require us to be alert, adaptable, adept, and ambitious?which means that drinking ourselves into oblivion three nights a week will leave us tragically underprepared.

We must recognize that cultivating responsible attitudes is critical, I argued, because when we get important jobs, we won't be able to futz around anymore.

Well, a real man knows when to admit he was wrong. And I've got to say, I was way off base on that one.

Of course, I can't be held solely responsible for my mistake. The media are at least partially to blame. I'm a big fan of the "The West Wing," and most of my ideas about what high-ranking government officials look and sound like come from that show. Therefore, I have always assumed they are tireless, focused creatures?perpetually indisposed to participating in the sort of hedonism typical of a college weekend; the products of a life of discipline and restraint.

I have also been made to understand that they casually engage in stichomythic, impossibly clever dialogue and are either attractive or "interesting-looking."

I was disabused of all these misperceptions recently when I stumbled across a blog called MaineWebReport.com. The author claims to have discovered the MySpace profile of a high-ranking official in Maine's state government. That such an official would have a MySpace page was not especially shocking; membership in the popular network is by no means damning, and plenty of public figures and those who work closely with them have profiles.

But this officer's page, which the blogger says he preserved via screenshot after its owner set it to "private," hardly projected the Seaborn/Lyman-esque portrait of savvy and diligence that I had always associated with policy strategists. On the contrary, it more closely resembled what Bluto's profile would look like if "Animal House" took place during the Facebook era.

This fun-loving bureaucrat's profile picture shows him with a Hawaiian shirt draped over his festive paunch, adorned with a lei, grinning from behind dark sunglasses and holding a blue solo cup triumphantly above his head. To the right of the portrait lies this profound dictum: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

Amusing, you might think, but not earth-shattering. Given how intelligent and well-connected many Bowdoin students are, it is not outlandish to think that the same student you see attempting to drunkenly microwave his cell phone at Super Snack might land a job arranging files in some statehouse and executing this menial task without incident.

But this page's alleged proprietor is no paper-pushing intern. He is a top policy adviser to the governor.

And believe it or not, the adviser's reflections on the divinity of booze do not end with his enlightening banner quotation. In the most recent (October 24) entry to his blog, he has posted his answers to a survey on alcohol use, which he describes as his "favorite subject." In response to the question, "What is your favorite day of the week for drinking," the consultant quips, "Any that end in 'y'." When the survey asks him when he last drank, he cheerfully replies, "An hour or two ago, living it up during the gubernatorial debate."

Here are some other highlights from the MySpace profile:

1) "What's Flag Day without piling on the booze?"

2) His favorite drinking game (Beer Die).

3) A photograph of him drinking beer from a brassiere-shaped Camelback worn by another man. As you might imagine, given my impressions about the character and disposition of high-ranking government agents, I was surprised that a top adviser to the governor would appear as though he would fit right in at Ivies.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how closed-minded I had been. I mean, there have been plenty of political figures in history who were fond of the bottle, many holding positions of far greater responsibility. Winston Churchill was a lush, and he ministered Great Britain through World War II. So was Ulysses S. Grant, and he made it all the way to the $50 bill. Ted Kennedy could still probably drink any Bowdoin undergrad under the table, and he's been a U.S. senator for almost half a century. I'm even told that the governor's adviser ripped off that Flag Day maxim from the father of American democracy, Benjamin Franklin (prompting me to assume that half-baked key-kite experiment was conceived Flag Day).

There is even a precedent for play-hard collegians rising to power from 'neath the pines. Bowdoin's own Franklin Pierce, class of 1824, was a boozehound, and he got to be president of the United States! Sure, countless experts have him ranked among the worst presidents in our country's history, but he was good enough to have a reading room in Hawthorne-Longfellow Library named after him. That's got to count for something.

All this proves rather definitively that the virtue of temperance is bunk. So please, don't let my baseless admonitions spoil your last years of unaccountability. Perhaps I'll see you around campus tonight, participating in a rousing game of speed quarters or enjoying a restful nap on the floor of Crack House.

But if I don't see your flushed, smiling face this weekend, no worries: surely I'll see it printed on our money someday.