Never mind. My ego should recover in three to four months with sufficient stroking.
And now to the news. The biggest consumer of alcohol on the planet is an Asian, a science report said. That headline made me think they’d located a gentleman I shall refer to only as Uncle E.
When I was growing up, his daily beer intake matched everyone else’s daily oxygen intake, the only difference being that humans can survive several minutes without oxygen. When he went on holiday, they shut the local brewery. In biology class at school, I used him and the brewery as an example of symbiosis, entities dependent on each other for survival. We used to joke that when pink elephants got drunk, they saw him. He cut himself once, and no blood came out, just pale stuff that looked like Corona Extra.
But a read of the report revealed that scientists hadn’t found my relative. The world’s biggest drinker is probably the Malaysian pen-tailed tree shrew. It lives on a type of flower nectar which has evolved to be an alcoholic drink, said the study published by the Royal Society. (Evolution is a wonderful thing.) I wish I had known about alcoholic flower nectar when I was young, and was busy giving up frivolous luxuries like food, water and shelter to pay for my beer.
Scientists also found a type of chimpanzee that regularly drinks the equivalent of a whole bottle of wine in fermented tree sap. Since most mammals have much smaller bodies than humans, drinks should affect them more. So I guess three glasses of beer might be 21 glasses in “dog beers”.
By coincidence, my youngest child a few days ago asked me: “Why don’t you drink wine, Dad?”
I was first asked this question when I was about 28, three or four years after I had given up alcohol, and I’d answered: “People who drink alcohol say and do stupid things.” But this answer stopped working when Donald Trump stopped drinking and became measurably stupider.
So I gave my daughter a different answer. “Alcohol reverses evolution, making you smell like a pangolin, grow extra nipples and gradually turn back into a lizard,” I said. (It’s never too early to teach hard science to children.)
In my reader contributions mailbox was a report that some days ago in India, goat farmer Ramesh Patni found members of his herd staggering around or fast asleep. Police had steamrollered 11,500 bottles of seized liquor on the field and the goats had partied for three hours before collapsing. Mr. Patni took them home in a handcart to sleep it off. The local police said the last year they’d smashed the bottles on a different field and the cows had got wildly drunk.
I have a new respect for wildlife. We think they’re just innocently chewing grass or sitting in trees, but these guys know how to party on a low budget. I just hope no one tells my Uncle E about the flower nectar.