More than sixty years ago, my unmarried, reclusive, elderly, dour English teacher gave me this as an example of a pun. Looking back, I’m guessing that he was speaking from personal experience, although I did not understand the full implications until some years later.
In many respects, I am an early adopter. Technology, for example - Betamax, 8-track, mini disc, that Sony precursor of the Kindle, anyone? In others, I am late to the party.
I didn’t drink until I was 25. Didn’t like beer and Scotch didn't like me. Only when I was introduced to white Burgundy and red Bordeaux wines did I appreciate the joys of drinking.
Which is why I am coming very late indeed to the idea of a Dry January. Forty or more Januaries have come and gone without so much as a missed glass of lunch.
I do get it. At least in principle. It’s just the practice I am struggling with.
So I have checked my diary for scheduled dinners at the homes of those who keep a good cellar. I am not missing out on some of those vintages for the sake of a principle.
I have looked hard at forthcoming sporting fixtures and concerts which will invariably involve a glass before, at the interval, and afterwards.
I have anticipated business issues and stress points which may provoke the need for a drink.
And I have reluctantly concluded that the only available window is this week.
Like, er, now.
As I write, I am on day 2 and I don’t know what the fuss is about.
True, January is a pretty miserable month anyway. True, sweet fizzy drinks are not really my thing. Not sure they are even a thing at all. True, alcohol-free beer invariably tastes awful.
Most of all, it is true that our politicians have upped the Brexit ante to compound the issue and if there is a reason for self-medication, it is surely the prospect of leaving Europe on WTF terms.
But I’m only doing a week and a week in politics may be a long time, but a week off the booze should whizz past in no time at all.
I am pretty sure that the withdrawal symptoms from Brexit will be infinitely more painful than a few days of temperance.
To ease the pain, however, I have put aside a bottle of Chateau Talbot 2005 for next week.
That should make life worth living.
Today from the everysmith vaults: I have a ticket for the Carducci String Quartet playing Philip Glass and Shostakovich on Friday evening. I don’t know the Glass (his fifth quartet) at all, so I’m listening to other recordings as preparation. The performance of the Royal, who come to Leamington in March, is excellent; but the Kronos is superb.