A couple of weeks ago I touched on the pleasures of food and drink, which when combined with my little rant about the excesses of the festive season brings me nicely to the subject of overindulgence.
This is the time of year when the whole country comes together in one massive effort to boost sales of Alka Seltzer into the stratosphere.
But although Christmas may be the season of mass liver destruction, it's not the only time people find it necessary to sleep on the pavement. For some, every weekend is one relentless cycle of drink-drink-vomit-drink-vomit-ambulance. Fortunately most very quickly make the link between excessive alcohol and feeling like crap and manage to get these tendencies under control.
There are a couple of people I know who may smile to themselves reading this as they're aware that my inspiration for todays ruminations will be partly a result of my Jack Daniels consumption last night. Indeed this morning my head feels a bit uncertain which way is up, but experience told me when I'd had enough and it was time to move on to the coffee. That experience has been a hard-earned thing and like most people I suffered a great deal in gaining it. Memories of being 17 and crawling up the stairs to the bathroom while trying unsuccessfully to stem the flow of mums homemade wine on its return journey will haunt me forever. The same goes for the time I woke up naked in the bath throwing up something red down the plughole. God knows how I made it home that night but I don't think I've drunk snakebite & black since. There was also the time I got wrecked on Pernod at a friend's 30th birthday. Again, not a drop of the offending liquid has passed my lips since that night.
Eventually you reach a point where you instinctively know that if you have just one more drink there will be serious repercussions and that's when you're able to enjoy a session with a clear conscience (if not a clear head).
Overindulgence in food is another area that some never get to grips with. I'm a firm believer in the old saying 'everything in moderation'. Why shouldn't you be able to eat the things you enjoy? As long as it's part of a balanced diet where's the problem? There are those who despite the amount of dietary information out there still believe that a balanced diet is a pork pie in each hand, and taking a walk round any town you get the feeling that the message is being lost on more and more people.
When I was a kid I lost count of the times I'd be told "Don't eat all those sweets at once, you'll make yourself sick". The natural thought of any kid of course is "Don't be silly, how could something so tasty make me........uh oh.......... that's not right....... can't be the sweets it must be those sprouts.......".
I obviously got a grip of that because despite the call of middle age spread I still sit in the middle of the healthy band of the BMI scale which I must admit feels good, and as long as I can maintain that healthy balance between vegetables and custard creams I hope I can keep it that way.
When ingesting something makes you feel good you're obviously going to want to do it again, and fighting that urge is the key to the whole problem. If Mr Creosote in Monty Python's "The Meaning Of Life" had figured that one out he wouldn't have fallen prey to the wafer thin mint and Little Britain wouldn't have had the inspiration for that obnoxious projectile-vomiting woman.