Let's Open A Bottle

Let's Open A Bottle

The health police are at it again. After whipsawing the public about the benefits and risks of coffee, butter, and meat, and the sustainability or not of cattle farms vs. almond groves, the experts have the latest word on alcohol. It does no good at all.

That beer at the 4th of July barbeque, that glass of wine at dinner, that cocktail on the patio under a star-studded summer sky, all those occasions in the thousands of years of human history in which people enjoyed the fermented fruit of the grape and the grain—are and were all bad choices, according to an article by Susan Dominus in the New York Times. In  https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/15/magazine/alcohol-health-risks.html?te=1&nl=from-the-times&emc=edit_ufn_20240625 she asks, “Is That Drink Worth It to You?”

Ms. Dominus quotes Tim Stockwell, a scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, who changed his mind about the benefits of alcohol after a careful analysis of the data.  He concluded that no amount of alcohol is really safe.

After learning all the longevity risks, the writer pinned Dr Stockwell down on the projected loss of life in terms of actual glasses of buzz-inducing beverages. The answer: It’s complicated.

One could also say it is reassuring.

“Stockwell,” she wrote, “offered me another way of thinking about it, which is even more bottom-line oriented: How much time does a certain amount of drinking shave off your life? For those who have two drinks a week, that choice amounts to less than one week of lost life on average, he said. Consume seven alcoholic beverages a week, and that amount goes up to about two and a half months.”

She concludes, “One function that drinking plays in so many people’s lives — and one reason it’s so heavily associated with important life events, like weddings and wakes — is that it’s a way to turn off the part of our brains that unhappily obsesses over rational calculations, allowing us to feel like we’re living in the moment.”

Moments are all we have.

I’m past the age now where I worry about a couple more months of life lost at the price of pleasure. An evening with friends, lots to catch up on? Let me pour you one, please. I’ll have one, too.