Friday 24 June 2016

Liquid Bread

I have been thinking about alcohol lately, not drinking it but how it affects the human species. I am aware that at certain times every year we can find drunken animals because they have eaten fruit that has fermented and developed a slight level of alcohol. It is pretty funny to see a bird fall off of his perch. Some people will give beer to their dogs and once I tried to get a cat stoned. I never knew if the cat got stoned because they are always so laid back. I suppose that I could have put some potato chips and candy bars in front of him to see what would happen, but if I had chips and a candy bar at the time, I would have been quenching my own munchies.

Perhaps the reason I have wondered about alcohol recently is that I saw an ad for beer $38 for 18 cans. That seemed like a lot of cash to me and that was a sale. If I were a beer drinker, I am pretty sure I would be making my own to cut costs. I am aware that people prioritize their recreational spending and $40 or $50 a week isn’t too much to spend for something you like. You work hard after all and deserve to get a little buzz on at the end of the day. Maybe you just love the taste; I have friends that can’t wait for the day to end so that they can kick back with three or four beer. Why not? They don’t get behind the wheel and operate heavy machinery, the worst most people do is to think they can dance or sing Karaoke.

Most people…

Some people do drive while drunk, some pick fights with people for reasons that wouldn’t make sense if you were sober. Some force their affection onto others, some forget to be a good role model for their kids and some just forget how to be decent human beings. That is sad.

What I have been wondering about is how this love affair with alcohol began. Did someone watch a bird fall off a branch and think “Hey, that looks like fun. Gimmee some of those berries!” I am pretty sure that in our hunter-gatherer stage the only people that would use intoxicants was the shamans who were trying to get a direct line to whatever God they worshipped to bless the hunt/baby/upcoming battle. The use of these intoxicants was restricted to those deemed responsible. That was sensible, no one should ride a mammoth stoned.
It was civilization and specialization which made it possible for the masses to get drunk. I have heard that the Egyptians made a heavy beer that the slaves and workers would drink. It was considered to be liquid bread due to having a high nutritional value. Of course it also gave the workers something to fill the times when they weren’t working. That way they wouldn’t question why they spent every day for thirty years pushing blocks up a ramp so that some King/God could make his final journey to the nether world in style.
Today not much has changed. Well, we don’t work pushing blocks up a ramp, but most jobs are at least as boring and meaningless. I suppose the difference is that we are no longer supplied with alcohol by the masters; we pay for our liquid escape from reality from the money we earn by working for the masters. Strange world that we live in.

In 2010, the cost of excessive drinking in the United States was estimated at 249 Billion or $2.05 per drink. That works out to about $807 per person, every person whether you drink or not. The costs include loss of workplace productivity, health care expenses, criminal justice expenses and motor vehicle crashes. Sad really.

This kind of makes me wonder just what it is about our lives that we are more than willing to continue drinking in spite of the physical and psychological costs. What is wrong with our lives that we need an alcoholic escape? Could you do without the support of a drink to get you through the day? Would you?

Somehow, I doubt it. We will just keep pushing that block up the ramp.
Image result for egyptian beer

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