Last Man Standing just died.
That's why it affects us so efficiently. It makes us drool, slur, feel euphoric, our legs wobble and worst of all, it makes us think we can dance. It is also why when we're younger and not terrific drinkers we vomit it back up so regularly when we drink to much of it. Our bodies reject it. Our bodies try to save us from ourselves.
Naturally we ignore our bodies and keep practicing to keep drink down and after a while we pretty much succeed.
Alcohol metabolism is normally a pretty simple chemical process. Basically the liver attempts to detoxify the body of alcohol by breaking toxic alcohol into acetaldehyde (another toxic chemical), and then reducing acetaldehyde to acetate or acetic acid which quickly convert to glucose in the blood. Your liver can break down about a unit of alcohol per hour, depending on factors like body weight, regularity of use and sometimes race. It's when we overload our bodies that we head into unchartered territory.
Because we forget alcohol is a toxin we treat it with utter disrespect. Certainly in this country we use and abuse it with wild abandon. Over Christmas I drank like like a sailor on shore leave. I wouldn't be so cavalier with any other poison. I wouldn't ingest any other poison- apart from caffeine- and worse, I am a 'good drinker' -which just means I can drink a lot and stay upright.
Every weekend Dublin is awash with binge drinkers, and it's not-as our papers like to cry- ONLY our youth. Just because the older generation are not falling about the streets and vomiting into their shoes does not mean that they are not binge drinking, far from it. It means that- like me- are probably good drinkers. Conditioned to hold their hooch.
Wine drinking has rocketed in this country, beer is cheap as chips to buy in supermarkets and off licenses, we are geared towards social drinking, private drinking, celebratory drinking and reward drinking. Hell, I like drinking. The reason I'm off it at the moment is purely because I felt my body and mind needed a break after the Christmas excesses, and I've got to say, and probably have been boring the ring of of anyone who asks, I feel bloomin' great, more energy, sleeping brilliantly, skin looks terrific, why I'm alive, ALIVE!
I also can't wait until the end of February so that I can run into a bar and shriek 'RUM AND COKE BARKEEP, KEEP "EM COMING!"
All this bring me back to the alcohol=poison line and a story I read today in both The Sun and the Daily Mail ( no seriously I will get help).
"A finance graduate collapsed and died after copying a tequila and gin drinking contest from a Hollywood comedy film.
In the space of 45 minutes, David Reid and a friend downed half-bottles of the spirits, as well as shots of whisky, having already spent the day drinking beer and cocktails.
The 22-year-old, who had landed a job at the Bank of New York and was just setting out on his career, began speaking "gibberish" and was carried to bed. When his friend checked on him during the night, he was dead.
His father Philip Reid, a former pub landlord, told of his shock at how a single drinking session had taken his son's life.
"A lot is said about the superficial effects of binge-drinking, such as fighting, but this shows it can kill," he said.
David and his friend James Lynch had been attempting to emulate the "last
man standing" scene from American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile, which ends when one "contestant" passes out.
"A drinking contest might be fun for 15 minutes, but the consequences are not worth it."
Yep, David died from alcohol poisoning. Tests found he had 524mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The driving limit is 80mg.
He also had cannabis and cocaine in his system. A potent mix no doubt, but it was the over dose of alcohol that killed him.
I suppose you can't put a young head on old shoulders. As I often tell the Little Goth Kid-making her eyes roll-, life is not a movie. We are not actors. If we get a scene wrong we rarely get a chance to do retake. I hope she and her friends make it through their teens and early adulthood without harm. I really do.
But everybody takes risks, we humans do silly things, stupid things from time to time, if we're lucky we live to fight another day, maybe get older, maybe learn a bit of sense, but if not, well we pay the price for our folly.
David Reid paid the price for his. And it was a heavy one.
Labels: an untimely exit.