Drinking Don't Make You Sick

24th December 2020

I was at a famous donut shop in Portland, Oregon, and my friend was telling me about his skin while he was in Greece. “My skin totally cleared up there.”

“I wonder why?” I said.

“Oil,” he said, biting into a donut glazed with thick pink icing. “It was the olive oil there.”

“The oil in Greece cleared up your skin?” I said.

“Yeah. Crazy huh.”

Unless he was rubbing that olive oil on his face, I doubted his reasoning. I’m not saying it wasn’t a contributing factor. I’d just look at other things before I settled on oil, especially given he was on holiday, freed from the shackles of nine-to-five stress. Surely that helps. Then there was the weather. The Pacific NorthWest rains 300 days of the year and is often beset in a thick haze of dark clouds. When I lived there, I turned a sickly white and developed rashes from cheap sweaters. Greece, on the other hand, has beautiful mediterranean sunshine and beach-driven lifestyle. Surely that helps too. I’m sure the list could go on for days too. But no, he decided on olive oil.

We are quite talented, I’ve found, at reducing multifaceted problems to a singular cause. Perhaps we do this for the same reasons we generalise. To better make sense of a bewildering world, we simplify the complex into something the mind can easily grasp. That, or we don’t want to face the actual truth. “Why do I always get sick!” my friend said, coming off a three-week bender. He was in the fetal position on the living room couch. “I think it was the food from Shanghai,” he went on, referring to a food market.

“Maybe you should stop functioning off alcohol, take-away, and four hours sleep,” I said and he looked at me with a confused expression.

“No,” my friend said, shaking his head. “It was the shoddy Tom Yum. I’ve gone on benders before and haven’t got sick.”

“Well, you’re getting older,” I said. He didn’t reply to that. “So,” I went on, trying to change the subject. “I guess you're not coming to the bar tonight.”

“Nah, I’ll be there.”

‘Mate, you can’t even talk and you have snot dripping out of your nose.”

“I’m fine,” he said.

“You’re not fine!”

“Calm down. Why do you always get so angry about this?”

“I’m not angry!” I shouted.

“Now who's being stubborn?”

“Pft,” I scoffed. “Not me. You’re just being an idiot,” I said and walked out defiantly. I felt justified in doing so, for I was having a pleasant day and he ruined it.

. . .


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