rational drinking

Since my first taste of beer in view of the White House in March ’69, me an innocent 16 year old junior, I have not met an alcoholic beverage I didn’t like.  This would seem to be incongruent with my supposedly high powered brain, but man I loved those weekend evenings with a car full of buddies and a case in the back.  It got bad enough my assistant principal, Johnny Mac, called me in to ask me why I was going on drunks every weekend.  As was ever my wont, I kept right on doing it, getting straight As so they’d shut up.  I spent quite a bit of time in the back of chemistry class calculating what would be the best deal for our upcoming weekend, based on cost and relative alcohol content.  Was a good mental exercise, sort of like baseball stats.  No wonder my math SATs were through the roof.

I sort of slipped away from this in the ensuing years.  The calculations, not the drinking.  That’s continued.  I can count one DUI, in Maryland, which even included a few hours in jail.  There’s been no AA, though I’ve seen a few “alcohol counselors” at the U who provide cheerful suggestions how to monitor and hopefully reduce my drinking.  I deleted their apps from my phone last year.  The most serious stretch saw me in a program for disciplinary purposes because of opioid prescribing.  Total abstinence was required, enforced by random pee tests. I’d have to call a number each morning to see if it was “my day”.  The pee tests could detect any alcohol within 5 days, so this was serious.   I found a way around it when I travelled, and thoroughly enjoyed my beer and oysters in Half Moon Bay.  Seven months into the program, my coordinator called me to say her committee had judged that alcohol was not one of my problems and I could quit that nonsense (not her words).  Now Kathy says I overcompensated after.  My weight began to climb and who knows how many more alcohol asshole moments I provided.  To this day, I recommend against total abstinence for those who wish to cut back, citing the rebound effect.

I gained a lot of weight utilizing Traverse City Whiskey as self medication for my brachial plexus injury and have managed to shed most of it having apples for lunch.  COVID has brought its own challenges, and alcohol consumption is definitely up at 1611 Harbal.  For a while, we were keeping the caloric consequences in check by daily 4 mile round trip walks to Kathy’s office.  With the campus shutdown, we do almost none of those, and are left to our own designs to getting in what walkies that we can.  Apparently, these are not enough say my 501s.  I have acquired some comfy sweatpants, bit those are way too accommodating.  I’ve observed for years that health care professionals, mainly nurses, who wear scrubs all the time get ever fatter as they have no feedback from their clothes.

I’ve decided to face my enemy head on.  But of course he is also my dear friend.  In the spirit of Mr. Peach’s chemistry class, here is how these libations figure:

drinkserving size% alcoholCalories/servingcost/servingGm alcohol/servingCost/gm alcoholcalories/gm alcohol
beer12 oz/355 mL7.6*228$3.502713¢8.4
Red wine5 oz/150 mL13.5125$420.2520¢6.2
whiskey1.5 oz/45 mL51.7***135$223.275.8
whiskey1.5 oz/45 mL43110$219.3510.5¢5.7
vodka1.5 oz/45 mL40****97$1.20186.6¢5.4

* Founders Harvest Ale; $13.99/4 pack

** based on $20/750 mL bottle

*** based on Traverse City Whiskey, $34/750 mL bottle

**** Ugly Dog $19.99/750 mL bottle

These are all Michigan products, on purpose.  We just observed our 184th birthday yesterday.  You can for sure find cheaper sources for all of these products.  Some results will confirm suspicions you probably already had.  Beer definitely gives you the fatter buzz, with all those extra calories per gram of alcohol.  Distilled spirits are cheaper than their fermented cousins in getting you off.  And the bargain basement is clearly occupied by the Ugly Dog, whose clear spirits get you off cheaper and more leanly than anyone else.  How about that.  As Frank Sinatra said: “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.”

“All you need is love” say our Beatles

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

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