xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The Font of Noelage: Red Wine is a Health Hazard

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Red Wine is a Health Hazard

At this time of year many people make resolutions for the new year. I gave up doing this many years ago because it seemed silly to be making big statements about personal commitments and then breaking them less than a month later.
However, if I ever was going to make a New Year resolution it would be to avoid red wine at all times. Of course, I know that this will never happen so I don't make it. However, I must say that I now drink red wine much more circumspectly than in my younger days.
Red wine is a health hazard. This is quite true. In fact many people have a problem with red wine. In my case it is an allergic reaction which affects my memory. I have a drink of red wine and cannot remember how many drinks I have had. This can have a severe impact physically, mentally, culturally, socially and emotionally.
For years I attended Western Australian Primary Principals’ Conferences at the Sheraton Hotel. Generally I would share a room with my good friend and fellow principal, Jim Bray. Prior to these annual conferences the organizing committee of WAPPA would send around a survey sheet asking members if they had special dietary needs for the Conference Dinner. I would always write, “No red wine to be served at conference dinners”. But they never did take any notice.

I attended a WAPPA Conference at the Sheraton. They had red wine on the table. My mother had always told me that when you are a guest it is always polite to accept whatever food or drink is offered. They offered red wine. I drank it. I liked it. I drank more of it.

After the dinner, Jim and I went across the road to the Langley Plaza Hotel and into the Fenians' Bar. Here we met a lot of friendly Fenian folk and continued drinking, singing and solving all of the world’s problems. We did this until the wee small hours.When you drink all night you find out why they are called the wee small hours. In the small hours of the night you have to get up and wee.

Anyhow, after a night of eloquent discussion, jollification and mirth, Jim and I went back to our hotel room.The next morning, as the sunlight filtered into the room, I found myself sleeping on the floor. Well, actually I was awake when I found myself on the floor but I had obviously spent the night sleeping there. I did not feel very well. In fact I felt terrible.

Slowly I climbed up the side of my bed and peered across the room to see Jim , in his bed, looking over at me. He was very glad to see me, for when he woke up and saw my empty bed he was worried that he must have lost me somewhere during the night. I told you he was very good friend.

By this time I was standing, very shakily, running a check over my legs and arms to see if they were still with me. I was standing up but in my decrepit condition I could have been presented as empirical evidence that there really is life after death.

“And how are we feeling this morning, Mr Bourke?” asked Jim. He often calls me Mr Bourke. I think it makes him feels younger, which he is.

I had to tell him that I felt absolutely rotten. Now my theory at that time, which I explained to Jim, was that it was not the red wine, but sleep, that did all the damage. I mean, last night I had been full of fun and feeling great. After five hours of sleep, I felt terrible. It had to be the sleep. Jim said it wasn’t the sleep, it was the red wine. He seemed quite sure about it.

For the rest of the day at Conference we were both fairly fragile. In fact we both decided that at the next Conference we would be much more circumspect. Not abstemious, but circumspect.

Well at the next year’s Conference, despite my dietary needs survey sheet comments requesting “Nil red wine by mouth”, they still served red wine. But I was circumspect. Naturally, I drank some red wine, as a polite guest must, but I was very circumspect.

The next morning I woke up. I was IN the bed. Well done! I got out of my bed and, as I was checking myself out, Jim inquired as usual, “And how are we  feeling this morning, Mr Bourke?”

Well the fact was, despite being very circumspect the previous evening, I did not feel at the peak of Olympic fitness. Far from it.

“Well, Jim, as a matter of fact I don’t feel all that brilliant. But one thing I am very glad about is that we  were very circumspect and did not go to the Fenians Bar after the dinner last night.”

“But we did,” said Jim.Yes, red wine kills the memory. It is definitely a health hazard.

 Two Drips

I continued to write “Nil red wine by mouth” on my pre conference dietary requirements sheet.
At the 2000 Conference, held at The Burswood Resort, my friend Jim  with the help of then  Principals' Association  President, Rudy Rybarczyk, took note of my request and attached me to a red wine drip during the dinner.
Now you know what two drips look like.

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