How to avoid being “That Guy”

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mark Olsen
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

You have seen the cringe-worthy posters around the wing.

For example, a cartoon of a person passed out after puking on their neighbor’s front lawn, or a photo of an obviously drunk bridesmaid who is described in the accompanying photo caption as: “After spending too much time at the open bar, this bridesmaid crashes the first dance, knocks over the wedding cake and tackles the groom as she dives for the bouquet.”

These posters and others, always refer to "That Guy."

After the shock wears off, your first thought might be: “Is this allowed to be posted around the wing?”

“That Guy” is a Department of Defense campaign that was started in 2005 to reduce excessive and binge drinking among 18 to 24-year-olds serving in the armed forces.

The campaign has two goals: To reduce alcohol abuse and to increase awareness of the social consequences that occur as the result of alcohol abuse.

The underlying message is, you don't want to be "That Guy."

“I am interested in pushing this because it will start a conversation,” said Jaclyn Urmey, Director of Psychological Health, 514th Air Mobility Wing. “That Guy” is a way to talk about a subject that some people would prefer to steer clear from.

“This is a way to talk more openly about substance abuse in the 514th,” said Urmey. “People can identify with this, either a friend, family member, or themselves.”

That Guy” uses edgy humor and peer-to-peer mentoring to prevent alcohol abuse and becoming the subject of ridicule – think about those pictures that get posted on Facebook or Instagram that go viral and something to keep in mind: “Do you really want be the next internet meme?”

“I see this as working and encouraging the Wingman Concept,” said Urmey. “It’s about helping someone not destroying their life.”

The website uses that same humor to get its message across about the consequences of excessive drinking. And because that humor comes close to crossing the line, the point comes across more successfully than past alcohol abuse campaigns.

“I’m hoping this will make someone think twice before taking that next drink,” said Urmey.