I like to drink. I was raised in an emphatically teetotalering environment (nice word, eh?…. teetotalering). I know this has something to do with my pleasure in booze. I myself was pretty much a teetotaler until my early twenties. I remember after I had left my first wife romanticizing about Dylan Thomas and drinking and drowning my immature troubles with whisky pretty much in Thomas’s honor.
Thus I developed a taste for hard liquor. I had a doctor years later ask me about the drinking. “I fell into the habit around the time of my divorce,” I remember telling him.
But it has been something I have enjoyed over the years and at the same time wondering when it would take a serious toll on my health. I think I read where Anthony Burgess pondered late in life that he was going to have to give it up for health reasons.
Anyway, yesterday morning I had a particularly high blood pressure reading. These have been happening in the last six months. But usually if I take it again within a half hour or so, the reading falls back down to acceptable levels. Yesterday this did not happen for the first time. Also, the scales told me I was gaining far too much weight.
I have been having a martini and a few glasses of wine almost every night for a while. This leads to snacking. Snacking I think is a big part of my weight gain, since my vegetarian diet is not particularly high in calories.
Yesterday Eileen and I were looking at the calories in our snack food (mostly crackers and peanut butter, sometimes cheeses). The crackers we eat do have tons of calories.
So, if I lay off the booze for a while, I am hoping it will be easier not to snack at night. This might help me to lose some weight and bring the blood pressure down in my aging body.
This also will probably help me sleep better, since I routinely awake after the alcohol wears off and have to fall back asleep.
Who knows? It’s worth a try.
I finished reading Sula by Toni Morrison last night. Before turning to her novel, I read a short story by Harlan Ellison. Ellison’s hallmark is to try and shock the reader in some way. The short story I read was”The Whimper of Whipped Dogs” in his Deathbird Stories. It uses the famous case of Kitty Genovese.
She was murdered on the streets of New York in 1964 as many of her neighbors supposedly looked on in apathy of fascination. Ellison posits that his similar incident was part of some gruesome evolving new urban supernatural religion that thrives on watching violence.
It’s kind of brutal.
But in her novel Sula Morrison makes him look gentle. Sula is a grim American story of two black women who were childhood friends. It tells what happens to them and their families.
The story of their lives is full of grim startling mayhem and rings brutally true. It is a disturbing sad novel.
As I was finishing it up last night, I felt a difference in quality between it and the glib sci fi shock that Ellison seemed to be going for. Morrison’s work was disturbing but much more satisfactory as a work of art to me.
The theme of this week’s On The Media show is “Digital Dark Age.” It is a frightening idea that that we are vulnerable to the eradication of the knowledge and information we now store and access digitally. If it were to all go away, we would be back in a significantly nontech world.
Who better to ask about this than Margaret Atwood. Brooke Gladstone interviews her about a specific project of writing a secret book to be published in a 100 years, but Atwood is great to listen to for anything.
Last night I realized that I wanted to read the next novel by Morrison after Sula. I poked around and found Song of Solomon hiding in my mess of books.
After listening to On the Media this morning, I thought that having a hard copy of something I wanted to read next might be handy if the Digital Dark Age were to come this week.
Happy thoughts from Jupe on Sunday morning.