by Martin Field
Splashing around at St Andrews Beach in brain-boiling 40C degree temperatures, during the Australia Day holiday week, I came over all strange. Despite the liberal application of aged, slightly rancid coconut oil, with an SPF rating of minus 25, my skin turned the colour of a two year old Beaujolais – a sort of sickly brown-edged red – and I felt faint.
After a relatively short wait (less than a day) in the local medical centre, the doc asked me what was the trouble. I described my symptoms. ‘Were you drinking?’ she asked. ‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘Plenty of water.’
‘If water was any good,’ she said, ‘we’d have it running through our veins instead of blood. I’m sorry to say you are severely debeerated.’ ‘What does that mean?’ I asked naively.
‘Debeeration,’ she explained, ‘Is a condition that occurs when a person has not consumed sufficient brewed liquid. Deprived of essential complex alcohols and other associated vitamins and minerals, the victim’s system will then start to fail, their muscles will melt down and eventually they may die.’
‘But along with water I’ve also been drinking a lot of light and mid-strength beers.’ I countered in mitigation.
‘Aha! There’s your problem.’ she said. ‘They’re not actually beer. If I may speak scientifically, they are a sort of no-frills substitute for the real thing. In laypersons’ terms, they are the tragic equivalent of drinking instant coffee.’
Horrified and chastened at her insight into my condition, I replied plaintively, ‘Please Doc, what am I to do? I place myself entirely in your hands.’
‘Well, first we’ll have to urgently rebeerate you. I don’t think you’re that far gone that we need to put you on a beer drip but I recommend the immediate consumption of half a dozen stubbies… of ice-cold, full-strength, amber fluid. After that I want you to drink at least two litres of genuine beer daily, avoid imitation beer and strenuous activity and come back and see me in a month.’
With this she wrote out a prescription listing a number of local and imported ales, advising me, ‘Unfortunately these are not subsidised but they should be available on discount at your local drugstore*.’
‘But Doc. What about driving? You know it’s illegal for me to drink and drive.’
‘Do you want to live or do you want to drive? she snapped. ‘You clearly have a problem identifying life priorities!’ ‘Next.’
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