SATURDAY’S CHILD – A night in Cockburn Town
SUNDAY NIGHT in Cockburn Town, Grand Turk, my mind in a ferment after one longish hop from Antigua to Miami and two shortish hops from Miami to Providenciales, and then on to Grand Turk, the second in an old and noisy propeller plane that stopped first at Salt Cay. But I was recuperating stoutly.
Shaken but not too deeply stirred, and figuring one more short hop with a little fermented malt thrown in would be what the doctor ordered, I asked the waiter for my mildly effervescent amigo Juan Corona, whoI was certain would revive my spirits. He was indeed good for what ales me so I sat there grinning and beering it to the maximum.
The fact is that people have been quenching their thirst with beer since the early Neolithic (9500 BC) period and we are all still thirsty. The ancient Egyptians and the Mesopotamians who rocked the cradle of civilisation may have done so under the influence.
Unfortunately, religion put an end to what would have been a joyful civilization making love not war on the infidel. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
Comedian Dave Barry ranks it right up there with the wheel. He said, “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”
Barry also said, “Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.”
Beer was not always ambrosia for me. I did not see my first swallow of my father’s beer as an auspicious occasion and stayed away from the stuff for a long time.
However, in the community in which I lived even the strictest athletic regimen eventually ended up in the rum-shop. When we won, someone would say, “You play real good, boy; come and take a drink.” When we lost, someone else would say, “Don’t worry that you lose, boy; you taking it too hard. Come and take a drink.”
For many of us, the road to adulthood was paved with Carib Beer and Vat 19 rum. One of the older people on our cricket team would start the festivities after every practice session or match by rapidly downing or chugging two beers and then settling down for the duration.
This was roughly the path I followed until I went to the Oktoberfest in Munich and drank litres of beer until, hungry, I tried the pigs’ knuckles and sauerkraut. I was wretched and retched, leaving a trail of misery all the way to my hotel. Since then I managed at most one beer every few months and even then with caution if not trepidation.
Juan Corona or Dos Equis aren’t so bad and the occasional Carib, Red Stripe, Banks, Hairoun or Wadadli may actually be good for you. A University of Texas study revealed that moderate consumption of beer has more health benefits than red wine, and beer in moderation can deliver protection against heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and dementia.
An Israeli study supported this finding. In preliminary clinical studies of a group of men with coronary artery disease, the researchers showed that drinking one beer (12 ounces) a day for a month produced changes in blood chemistry that are associated with a reduced risk of heart attack.
Of course, too much beer is not good for you and may be fatal. Old man Murphy had worked at the brewery for years. One day, he tripped on the walkway and fell over into the beer vat and drowned.
The foreman went to inform the widow Murphy of her old man’s death. He said sorrowfully, “I’m sorry to tell you, but poor old Murphy passed away at work today when he fell into the vat and drowned.” She wept and after a time, between sobs, she asked: “Tell me, did he suffer?” “I don’t think so,” said the foreman: “He got out three times to go to the men’s room.”
Tony Deyal was last seen repeating Henny Youngman’s quip, “When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.”