Sure… during my month of not boozing, I might have woke up each morning with an extra bounce in my step, but at work, more mistakes were made and more things were forgotten. Yeah, it’s possible I slept better or longer (courtesy of passing out) during the many sauced months that came before, or that the heaped upon hours I spent in front of the boob tube boobed out my noggin and rendered my work performance lackluster.
So I started to wonder… maybe I’m smarter under the influence. I do play a lot of trivia at the bar, and maybe that’s like running with ankle-weights for my brain. Research ensued and I discovered this headline:
Dost thine eyes deceive, um, me?
From the BBC article:
Mice fed moderate quantities of alcohol grew extra brain cells, but also showed a preference for alcohol over water.
Lead researcher Professor Stefan Brene said: “We believe that the increased production of new nerve cells during moderate alcohol consumption can be important for the development of alcohol addiction and other long-term effects of alcohol on the brain.”
Okay, maybe it doesn’t sound perfectly fantastic – or does it?
Alternatively, the extra cells might help with learning and memory, [Brene] said. Another theory, according to the researchers, is that the tranquilising effect of alcohol triggers the growth. All of the new cells developed normally.
My favorite line:
A spokeswoman from the Campaign for Real Ale said: “It is well known that alcohol in moderation is good for your body so it’s no surprise it’s also good for your mind. “Maybe that is why lots of pub quiz teams are so bright.”
Some other favorite lines… from The Legend of Bagger Vance:
Rannulph Junnah: Now, the question on the table is how drunk is drunk enough? And the answer is that it’s all a matter of brain cells
Hardy Greaves: Brain cells?
Rannulph Junnah: That’s right Hardy. You see every drink of liquor you take kills a thousand brain cells. Now that doesn’t much matter ‘cos we got billions more. And first the sadness cells die so you smile real big. And then the quiet cells go so you just say everything real loud for no reason at all. That’s ok, that’s ok because the stupid cells go next, so everything you say is real smart. And finally, come the memory cells. These are tough sons of bitches to kill.
And then there’s always Cliff Clavin’s take:
Well you see, Norm, it’s like this… A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo and when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first.
This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.
In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive drinking of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine.
And that, Norm, is why you always feel smarter after a few beers.