Friday, April 25, 2008

Hygiene For Young People

This 1884 A. S. Barnes & Company book is listed as number 2 in the Pathfinder Physiology series. It was meant as a learning guide for intermediate school students in the late 1800's.

While such topics as "The Nervous System," "Digestion" and "Animal Heat" (sadly, Animal Heat has nothing to do with sex) are discussed at length, the author seems to have a particular hard-on for alcohol. "Of the diseases, the degeneracy, the vices, and the general ill-being produced by the alcohol habit, all observers must be aware."

The introduction was written by a person named A. B. Palmer but many other doctors and teachers contributed to the text. I doubt the collaboration took place over a nice chianti or a bottle of aged Scotch.

From the chapter Alcohol and Life:
From these record, it is plain that those who never drink liquor have the best chance for length of life, as well as for happiness and power to work.

The President of one life insurance company in New England says of beer drinkers, "The death among them were astounding. Robust health, full muscles, a fair outside, increasing weight, florid faces, then a touch of disease and quick death.

"It was as if the system had been kept fair outside, while within, it was eaten to a shell, and at the first touch there was utter collapse; every fiber was poisoned and weak. Beer drinking is very deceptive, at first; it is thoroughly destructive, at last."
I think the President of the New England life insurance company is actually Vincent Price. Just imagine the words "florid faces," "touch of disease" and "quick death" being spoken over a beating heart and pipe organ soundtrack.

Suddenly those Bud Light commercials don't seem so funny anymore.

The paragraph continues:
Some companies will not insure the lives of liquor-sellers, because they know that they are so often liquor-drinkers.
Tell that to John McCain whose wife is heiress to a beer distributor fortune.


Simon Jester said...

That's why I stick with single-malts.

Traci Skene said...

Uh oh, Don, according to a different chapter, distilled spirits are also evil. Sorry to burst your single-malt bubble.