That's Going to Kill You

“I had an uncle that drank a quart a day every day of his life. Heck, I spill more than that. No kidding, he could drink a quart and not even stagger. Heck, he couldn't even move. We told him, we says, ‘You better quit drinking that stuff. It's gonna kill you. Sure enough, it killed him. He died last year at the age of a hundred and two. Well, don't laugh. We dug him up last week. He looks better than y'all do now.” - 10 Little Bottles by Johnny Bond

I thought of those lyrics while reading a column in Whisky Advocate by Stephen Beaumont. He was relaying a conversation he had with a gastroenterologist when he went in to his doctor’s for a checkup. It’s Stephen’s job to sample and review varying beers and on average he has about three or four drinks a day. On top of that, he also drinks on occasion for his own enjoyment. Well, when he told the lady that she started giving him a lecture on how he was going to get cirrhosis and that what he was doing was not worth the risks to his health. Notice she didn’t say might get or he ran the risk of getting cirrhosis. No, she told him he was going to get cirrhosis.

It seems that every time you turn around, something is going to kill you. While it’s true that enjoying certain things like alcohol, cigars, coffee, or rare steaks, may increase your risk for developing some disease or another, it’s also not a guarantee. That is why I thought the Johnny Bond song so relevant. While he was joking, it has still been true that people who have enjoyed their vices have still lived long and full lives. The key is moderation and balancing it with the other areas of your life, such as exercise and frequent checkups with your doctor.

Furthermore, just because you don’t drink or smoke and you follow a strict vegan dietary regimen, that doesn’t mean that you won’t develop one of those diseases. While your odds may be better than those of us who do imbibe, they are not a sure thing. And if you continue to lecture us about our scotch and cigars, your life expectancy may just get shorter and shorter. Then where does that healthy living leave you?

I don’t mind other people living their life in abstinence of what I enjoy. It’s a free country. By all means, do as you please. However, stop there and don’t feel the need to lecture me on what you think I am doing wrong with my health. I had enough of the Holier than Thou attitudes when I attended church, I don’t need it from some toothpick on a health kick. Besides most people who tell me they don’t drink would have their personality greatly enhanced if they started having a cocktail or two. Hell, some need the whole bottle. Perhaps that’s why I drink now, in order to put up with some of the people around me. Can I blame them for my poor health?

There are too many health police on a mission to save me from myself. Nobody gets out of this life alive and when I go, I plan on going happy. Oh, I agree that we all want to hang on as long as possible and I take what precautions I can, but I also plan on enjoying as much of this life as I can. We all take risks in the things we do. I worry about my son every time he takes his surfboard into the ocean or my kids as they drive those long trips. However, we can’t live in a bubble. Eventually someone would pop it anyway, so why not live. Do what you enjoy while still taking care of yourself. Life is to be enjoyed. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty for doing what makes you happy. After all, they’re probably just jealous that they don’t feel the freedom that you do.

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