Water - The Drink of Choice
by Andy Rooney
If I had to limit myself to drinking just one thing for the rest of my life, there's no doubt my choice would be water.
A glass of cool, clear water is unquestionably the best drink, although I start every day with a cup of coffee. One of the great things about life on earth is that we've devised ways to bring clear, cool water to the people who live almost anywhere. It's one good sign for our civilization.
When I lived in London for a year, I never got used to drinking tea. I'm glad the British like it because it's a harmless drink, but they can have it.
I think tea is as much a social institution in England as it is a drink. While in London, I often sat down with my landlady and had a cup of tea. I didn't like the tea but I liked her and the conversation. Often a good conversation flows over a cup of tea. Frankly, though, even if it is popular all over the world, I think of tea as a namby-pamby drink.
Fortunately, I don't have to limit myself to drinking one thing, so while I drink a lot of water, I drink a lot of other things, too. (I can't bring myself to use the words beverage or imbibe.) I regularly drink coffee, ginger ale and coke. I don't like to use a brand name, but I mean "Coca-Cola." Coca-Cola is an incredible concoction. Someone did a fairly good job of challenging Coke's supremacy when they came up with Pepsi-Cola, but, like milk, Coke is hard to challenge.
I don't know where Coke stands in popularity but it's right up there with tea for me, even though it's more expensive. (I have no idea what's in Coke. The reason it costs more than tea probably isn't related to what's in it.)
Another popular drink is "beer" or "ale." I looked up beer in my dictionary and it says: "A fermented alcoholic beverage containing malt and hops." Beer seems like such a simple drink that I'm surprised it's made from two things most of us really don't know anything about. I'm not sure what malt is and I've never seen a hop.
Beer is a big part of the culture in many European countries. Our office for The Stars and Stripes in London during World War II was close to a pub called The Lamb and Lark. I was so young I didn't even drink but I enjoyed hanging out there with the guys who did. It was the best place for conversation I've ever known and it made me soft on drinking before I even drank.
The world drinks more beer than anything except water and tea. I looked it up and they estimate that people in the world drink 32,000,000,000 gallons of beer a year. I don't know how much beer that is, but I know that I don't do my share because I drink very little beer. I'm a snob in relation to beer. A few times a year, I'll have a glass with something I'm eating, but I don't drink beer every day. I do drink a few ounces of bourbon most days, including Sundays. (Especially Sundays.)
Most evenings, we have a drink before dinner, but we never have two drinks.
While I'm uncertain about is whether one drink per day is good or bad for our health, I know that it's great for our conversation. It's odd that drinking liquor is often seen as negative, when drinking a little of it before dinner seems so good. If we drink too much, we feel terrible. It's really too bad that everything we do that isn't good for us doesn't have such a direct, negative impact. It would certainly be good if we felt as bad after eating too much as we do after drinking too much.
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