Saturday, January 23, 2016

AARP Alcoholics

Based on a quiz in a recent issue of AARP’s magazine, it seems I might be an alcoholic. This won’t come as a surprise to any readers who take my wine-drinking comments literally. But it certainly surprised me, since in truth I consume at most a bottle of wine every two weeks.

There were five questions on the quiz. If you answered ‘yes’ to any one of them it “could be a sign of an alcohol problem” according to AARP. Jeez Louise. I answered ‘yes’ to three of them. I’m a tad confused, because the same article claims that “moderate amounts” of my beloved wine can improve the health of my heart and brain. By now you’re no doubt wondering what exactly was on that quiz. I’ll tell you.

The first question was: Do you ever underestimate how much you drink? Hell yes, I do. I also underestimate how much I eat, how long it will take to get ready to go somewhere, how much I presently weigh and any number of other aspects of my life. About the only thing I don’t underestimate is how many minutes I’ve been exercising each morning.

The second question was: Do you often take a drink to relax, or calm your nerves? OK. So this one was borderline. I don’t drink to calm my nerves; they’re pretty steely most of the time. I do drink to relax, but I wouldn’t say I do that often. So I’ll give myself a pass on this one. After all, I only need one ‘yes’ to be an AARP alcoholic. I already have that and there are still three more questions to go.

Third question: Do you drink to take your mind off your problems? Duh. Doesn’t everyone? I drink to take my mind off everything. A nice, fuzzy buzz feels good. Besides, similar to my estimating skills, I also eat to take my mind off my problems. And I go shopping to do that. And sometimes I even write to take mind off things, which is counterintuitive, since I really need to focus on things when I’m writing.

Fourth one: Have you ever made rules to manage your drinking? This is the most ridiculous question of all. I make rules about everything. And lists. Just ask my husband. So, of course I’ve ever made rules to manage my drinking. That doesn’t mean I pay any attention to them. Regardless, this is another question in my ‘yes’ column.

The fifth and final question was: If you’re lonely, does drinking make you feel better? This one presents a faulty dilemma for me, because I can’t really say I ever feel lonely. Well, that’s not quite true. Living in a cat-free home after about forty years of having those furry joys in my life can get a bit lonely sometimes. I still cry when I think about them but drinking would only make it worse. So this question gets a resounding ‘no.’

That means I’ve scored an easy hat trick on the quiz, making me a triple AARP alcoholic. I was beginning to wonder what I should do about this. Then I noticed the heading of the column to the right of the “Are You Drinking Too Much?” quiz. It was “Mix A Mocktail” and it promised: “The wagon doesn’t have to be dull.” Exactly what goes into a ‘mocktail?’ you may be wondering? Keep reading.

You combine pitted cherries, fresh mint leaves, way too much sugar, lime juice and lots of cherry-flavored seltzer. That sounds like a recipe for becoming a sugar-holic to me. If it’s a choice between wine and refined sweets, I’ll go to with the vino every time. The only real decision for me would be: “Red or white?”

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