So where are you on the Booze-O-Meter?

Given we still seem to be in the vice-like grip of a medico-media assault on binge drinking (as documented by Duffster in Binge Drinking: Katherine Hepburn Style), I thought it may be instructive to look at the founding text of the Temperance and Prohibition movements An Inquiry into the Effects of Spiritous Liquors on the Human Body by Dr Benjamin Rush first published in 1784.

Dr Rush also kitted out the Lewis and Clark Expedition prescribing Turkish opium for nervousness. That'll work.

Dr Rush also kitted out the Lewis and Clark Expedition, prescribing Turkish opium for "nervousness". That'll work.

Let’s make one thing clear, Dr Rush was no evangelistic firebrand blinkered by religious dogma; in fact, he was one of the Founding Fathers of the US, an early opponent of both slavery and capital punishment, and he was the most famous physician in America until the time of his death in 1813.

He was, however, a physician during a period when an individual’s physical well-being was inextricably linked, in the minds of medical men, with that individual’s moral health. His Moral and Physical Thermometer, added to the 1790 edition of his treatise, gave scientific weight to the prohibitionist assertion that alcohol was a noxious substance with the power to rupture the delicate moral fabric of society.

So how do you stack up? Let’s take a look at the old scoreboard…

Positive score? Tequila will fix that...A bit of a surprise to find milk and water is somehow less temperate than water and quite how cider managed to keep in the positive column is beyond me, given my experiences with it. But have a look at that negative column and see the things you will inevitably be lumbered with should you continue to consort with the Demon Booze.

Sickness, puking and tremors. Well, yes. Idleness, peevishness and swearing. Hmm, guilty as charged on occasion.

Bugger… it looks like black eyes, wheel-barrow and the gallows are just around the corner…

How did you get on?

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9 Responses

  1. I see one of the vices of drinking spirits is “Hatred of just government.” Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly must have really been hitting the bottle.

  2. Am I right in thinking that rum, gin, brandy and whisky are only bad in the morning? Or is that just wishful thinking?

  3. And I do think that vinegar and water is far more likely to bring me peevishness than happiness… I’m just saying.

  4. My interpretation is that you’d be more inclined towards fraud and anarchy if imbibing in the morning, versus murderous intent if consumed of a night… So I guess a gin and tonic for breakfast is “less bad”?

  5. Can anyone tell me about wheelbarrows as punishment?

    • I think it relates to “The WheelBarrow Law” where convicts pay for their own keep by doing public work. It also provided a public punishment. Shaming was supposed to make convicted felons see the wrongs of their ways and be rehabilitated to the community.

  6. Epilepsy,
    Melancholy,
    Bells Palsy..

    wait a minute…

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