Posted by: puebloman | December 5, 2009

Git pisseder, live longer!

My Dad is 88 next birthday and can still drink our entire family under the table. He could also smoke us all under the table too if any of us smoked. I have to keep pinching myself and remembering that although he hits a bucket of golf balls twice a week, keeps the minutes of the local Lyons club, stands in the middle of the road to stop traffic during the annual 10km run season, chairs “wine and wisdom” nights, is treasurer for the annual bonfire night event, sings in the church choir, performs Stanley Holloway monologues for any event that will have him, is in a barber shop quartet (he is known as the “chocolate bass”), he could have done so much more if he hadn’t thrown away his life on these excesses. When I am in my cups, planning my next step towards abstinence, I try to remember that his entire generation is dead – no doubt from dreadful diseases relating to drink and drugs.

Everyone that is, except his older sister, who will be 90 next year. Let’s call her “Aunty Dolly”. Well, actually that is her name. She lives down the road from him in sheltered housing. She has not smoked for about 20 years, but for the first 70 years of her life, would always smoke while working, only stopping when she took her 15 minute tea break. Most ordinary humans smoke the other way round, connecting smoking to leisure. She puts her long life down to this habit.

When she first entered sheltered housing she saw that not much was going on and decided to do something for the “old people”. She started by organising “events”. She would emerge regularly, descending on her Stanna stairlift, a crate of mince pies and sausage rolls (hand made, no shop rubbish) athwart her thighs, like Juno in a Jacobean Masque.

Her best coup was to organise a 50p bingo session once a week that rendered profits. She hid these in a tin. She bargained with the local chippie and secured a free fish and chip lunch once a month for all gamblers, running them forth and back (free) in the local yellowbus. She now staves off the final stages of arthritis by crocheting stupendous dolls – gardener dolls for example with potted flowers in their hand and birds on their hat. My father auctions these at charity events for excessive sums of money.

“Aunt Dot” as her family calls her,  used in her youth to be no better than she should be. She was the port and lemon type and wouldn’t say no to a babycham. She and her partner,  “Uncle Joe”, a thin toothless beer drinking butcher with a combover, would in their younger days steam from pub to pub in a 650 norton motorbike. Later they had a car. “It’ll find its own way home” uncle Joe would say as he poured himself into the drivers seat after a heavy lunchtime session.

These days  Aunt Dot has a liking for sweet white wine and sometimes it has to be said drinks more than is good for her!

I say this only because a recent  study that looked at Spanish men and women (15,630 men and 25,808 women) from 29 years to 69 years of age (youngsters) over a 10 year period produced (to us) predictable results. Those that drank one drink a day were 35% less likely to suffer from heart disease.  However, those that drank the equivalent of 4 to 11 measures of spirit every day were 50% less likely to develop heart disease.

In Spain many people consume large quantities of wine, but this study showed that the type of alcohol made no difference to the reduced risk of heart disease. Beer is as good as wine. Ask Dad and Aunt Dot.

The reason for the health benefit of drinking is still unknown, but spanish scientists have hypothesised that drinking larger quantities of alcohol raises the HDL type of cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins), which is the good cholesterol that protects our arteries (LDL being the bad cholesterol).

This of course is bollocks. “Man cannot stand too much reality” (T.S. Eliot) . It’s the great pleasure of other peoples’ company, drunk and divorced from reality, or your own solitary state, trousered and divorced from reality, that makes you want to stay alive.

Of course my family has always known this intuitively. It has been literally staring us in the face.  We’ve been worried that it will come to the attention of the press and now it’s happened! What of the future now that everyone knows how to stay alive? Nonogenarions preserved in alcohol with a rising baby boom and nowhere to put them? Rising gases from a composting older generation, and what other implications for global warming?


  1. A great friend, doper, artist, traveller and serial boozer had died and we were in the cemetery hanging around and looking glum. Somebody stumbled through a eulogy.
    ‘I’ve lasted longer than him’, said a boring chap standing next to me.
    ‘Yes, but you haven’t had any fun with your life, now have you?’ I answered.


  2. Amusing stuff but also touches on a serious point – we’re supposed to live in a free society and we mostly do but there is a tendency among the establishment to present their opinion (about lifestyle, race, environment whatever) as fact and they hate it when anyone suggests an alternative view. My wife’s gran (82 yr old diabetic smoker) has “cut down” this year to 3 cans of lager and a large vodka and orange a night. Should live to a ripe old age based on your research.


  3. Reminds of my mother – she died just before her 91st – gave her body to science (University Hospital Granada) – the local village + her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren had a bonfire on the beach, beer, wine and tapas and a friend launched a viking boat on which stood a glass of tinto and a packet of Nobels!!
    She would have loved it except there was no dancing!


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