Get the drinks in, Rick
It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me to find that, at this late stage in life, I have discovered a new soulmate, someone on the same wavelength, a person whose outlook might just, like mine, be seen through rose-coloured glasses. And that’s rose with an accent. And glasses, very definitely, plural.
So all hail Dr Kari Poikalainen, formerly of the World Health Organisation (and therefore worthy of the title of Dr WHO) who has taken to print to tell us that drinking as much as a bottle of wine a day is going to do us no harm whatsoever. It is, in fact, healthier than being tee-total and the good doctor makes a point of emphasising that enjoying a bev or six not only offers “health benefits” but also that it “tastes good and helps you to enjoy life”.
Result! It also begs the question – given that his official title was “WHO alcohol expert” – as to why these job opportunities were never on offer when I fetched up for a life-changing chat with my school careers adviser? How different life could have been, if only…
The lovely Dr Kari has written a book about what he calls Perfect Drinking – and trust me, if I don’t know what that is, having practised enough over several decades of self-indulgence, I don’t know who does. It’s right at the top of my list for the next book club suggestion; particularly apt, as said club holds its meetings in a cocktail bar.
Mind you, if I haven’t perfected my drinking technique by this advanced age, I fear I never shall. Not that that will stop me attempting to continue to achieve perfection, but there you go. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, as the sainted Rick Astley once declaimed. Although in the interests of balance, I feel I must point out that it is underlined that drinking more than 13 units a day is, or can be, harmful. Unlucky for some…
In the way that coincidence often does seem, well, deeply coincidental, there is, also, a bit of a pattern emerging here. I recently found a card for my mother’s 90th birthday (she rarely says no to a glass of sauvignon blanc, either, which tells you something about a healthy long life) bearing the sage words: “At your age, it’s time to do everything in moderation. Including moderation.”
I’m way ahead of you, doc…
I’m not a great aficionado of Facebook and other such examples of contemporary communication but I do find myself looking at it occasionally, chiefly to catch a glimpse of photographs of family and friends that otherwise might pass me by. Now and then, too, someone I either know, or who knows someone I know (what used to be called “friends of friends” before the days of all-pervasive social media) posts something that fairly captures my jittery and increasingly short-tempered attention.
I saw one such post this week when an image appeared of a roomful of middle-aged and elderly, expensively besuited and obviously well-to-do men. These were, it would seem, politicians of various, different stripes, sitting in judgement on women’s health issues (mainly to do with pregnancy, contraception and maternity services provision) in the good old US of A. Ironically (although I actually think this image and its far-from-hidden meaning went far beyond anything that could reasonably be described as irony), there were no women in the picture. Or obviously, by extension, involved in the related decision-making process.
Gender aside, although such a stance is equally obviously impossible in such circumstances, it just struck me somehow that, if these self-same gentlemen were prepared to interfere as strongly, directly and with as much apparent moral outrage about matters of life and death, in gun control issues as they are in matters pertaining to dictating terms for women’s reproductive rights and responsibilities, we might all be a whole lot better off.
Sympathy and empathy
And here was I thinking that I was the only sad, old sap who failed to get a grip when confronted by a pet passing away.
I’ve had more response (and good, complimentary and sympathetic response) to last week’s piece about bereavement and the way humans react to the loss of other humans and animals than I have had to most other things I’ve written about over all the years I’ve been foisting my thoughts and opinions on you unsuspecting yet deeply patient readers.
Which only goes to prove that, regardless of how isolated and separated from the rest of the world we might feel at times of huge stress and unhappiness, there is great comfort to be had in realising that, after all, most other people know, recognise and sympathise with where we are and how we feel at those times.
And that we are never, even if we don’t quite know where to look and are often unsure about how to express what we’re going through, quite alone.
“If I haven’t perfected my drinking technique by this advanced age, I fear I never shall
“Never gonna give you up”... and now, thanks to Dr Kari Poikalainen’s wise words on drinking, I don’t have to.