Hot Tubs, Wine and the Pleasure Police
Let us consider the nature of "risk".
I’ve always considered Risk to be the downside of reward or, as it’s been pointed out in my case, the downside of the pursuit of pleasure. Either definition will do, I suppose.
Have you noticed, as I have, that the regulatory agencies of our various levels of govt as well as more than a few non-profit concerns rarely deal in the pleasure and reward that is the other side of Risk? This is particularly the case when it comes to the issue of wine, or for that matter anything else that might be considered north of boring.
As I sit in my home office I look out my window and see a nearly completed, newly installed pool along with an 8 foot x 8 foot concrete pad soon to hold a new hot tub. Actually I see more than that. I see a lovely late May afternoon, I see myself and family in the pool. I’m in the shallow end surrounded by cooling 78 degree water and I’m sipping on a lovely Dry Rose from the south of France. Actually, I’m sipping on my third glass from the bottle and frankly, life is pretty damn good I think as sounds of Dire Straights wafts out of the nearby speakers and fills the yard with the sound of Mark Knophler’s "Twisting by the Pool"
It’s about 5:30pm and I’m thinking, it’s time to take a tub. I grab my wife, the rest of the Rose and head over to the hot tub, steam rising up and shaded by an ancient maple. Between the warm bubbly water, my Rose, my wife, the kids splashing in the pool and Mark Knophler’s now melodic rendition of "Brothers in Arms"
"Drinking alcohol while in a hot tub is strongly discouraged. The combination of heat and alcohol can cause a woman to lose consciousness and drown.”
“Never use a hot tub while under the influence of alcohol, anti-coagulants, antihistamines, vasoconstrictors, vasodilators, stimulants, hypnotics, narcotics, or tranquilizers. Spa heat accelerates the effects of alcohol and drugs and cause unconsciousness. Leave the hot tub immediately if you feel uncomfortable or drowsy.”
“Alcohol and drugs are unsafe when using a hot tub or spa.”
See the mistake I made? I went and consulted the “Pleasure Police”. That little vision of mine just sort of went “Phswwt”.
It turns out that now I have to do a little math. I have to weigh the pleasure of my vision with the potential affects of the risks associated with that pleasure. Something we do all the time as wine drinkers or simple hedonists.
How many sips of wine can I have with dinner at this restaurant? Should I let my son and daughter sample a little of this new wine we are trying? Should I have a glass of wine at this business lunch? Should I consume this bottle of wine before operating that big piece of machinery over there? Should I finish this bottle of rose with my wife while in the Mark Knophler serenades us in the hot tub.
It turns out that the formula that allows everyone to weigh rewards vs. risk is not only complex, but also is never the same for every person. The older you become the better you are at weighing these risks. This is the benefit of aging (I tell myself). Looking back on my youth I realize I was a piss poor risk/reward mathematician, almost always giving greater weight to reward.
Personally, I almost rarely get drunk these days. It’s the esthetics of the state of drunkenness that repels me. On the other hand, there is that altered state of consciousness that lies somewhere between sober and drunk that does please me. The pleasure police would tell me, “very, very dangerous…avoid if you can…lock up sharp objects…don’t approach the hot tub.”
I’m thinking, as I envision that hot tub, wife, rose and Dire Straights accompaniment that I might be willing to fall in with the Reward on this one