In praise of the THE BUZZ

It came to me as I was wading about in the hot tub this weekend enjoying a bit of muscle therapy after digging ditches in my back yard.

This relaxed state of affairs I brought on through jets and 103 degree water was indeed therapy for a tired body and mind. It brought me back. It altered my state of mind that had been muddled by mud and shoveling. I was in a better mood after no more than a half hour soaking in the tub and letting the jets massage me.

Of course, I could have just had a couple glasses of wine with that magic potion that comes in every glass: alcohol.

Every now and then we drinkers need to remind ourselves that alcohol is good because it DOES alter our mind. Of course one can only come to this conclusion if you are willing to admit that altering one’s mind through biochemical means is not inherently bad. And that’s not an easy position to take in American society, given our cultural heritage and history of eshewing any substance that might do this.

Yes, it’s OK to admit to relaxing and calming one’s mind in a hot tub or with a vacation. But generally we stay away from celebrating the mind calming abilities of a highball, Martini or Cabernet.

No…I’m not advocating heavily medicating through Merlot. Nor am I advising we swill to excess from a bottle of Syrah. I’m just suggesting we appreciate the calming buzz of Bordeaux. I’m suggesting we take a moment to appreciate the combination of a soft chair, the appropriate vessel for the drink and the state of mind that alcohol can induce when just enough is ingested. I’m suggesting we appreciate the therapeutic qualities of alcohol that, when not abused, can indeed alter our mind in just the right way.

Naysayers will suggest, why not just stick with the hot tub, the vacation, the endorphins that come with rigorous exercises to calm the mind. All good things. But let’s admit it…not the same as the buzz of Bordeaux, Barbera or Barossa.

Posted In: Culture and Wine


2 Responses

  1. Eric - January 10, 2006

    To those who resist the notion that getting altered is a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do I reply that ALL food has an altering effect on the body and brain, albeit to differing degrees. Coffee, sugar and chocolate are three of the most widely acknowledged as buzz-inducing but anyone can develop the ability to discern the effects of food on the body. Turkey is loaded with melatonin, which is why I feel so sleepy on Thanksgiving evening. Fruit gives me an energy burst with little noticeable aftereffects whereas sugar gives me energy only to cause my body to become depressed and lethargic a couple hours later.

  2. Terry Hughes - January 11, 2006

    Still, nothing beats the buzz you get from alcohol, especially a tasty wine. Ah, the perfect filter through which to watch the sun set and contemplate the beauties of this life…

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