Sunday, November 25, 2012

Churchill and alcohol

In my experience, the bulk of the wittiest quotations come from just three men -- Mark Twain, Yogi Berra, and Winston Churchill. Regrettably, many of the most cited lines are impossible to document. But we use them anyway, perhaps softening the attribution with a note of doubt. Too good to check is a bad standard, but too good not to use at all is even worse.

I had these thoughts while reading a recent book on Churchill's life as a writer, his declared profession. British historian Peter Clarke cites evidence of Churchill's bills from wine merchants in the 1930s and concludes that he spent about 6% of his average disposable income on wines and spirits -- as much each week as three times the earnings of a male manual worker. He averaged three bottles of brandy and whiskey each week and one bottle of champagne each day.

Given his other accomplishments, I can see why Churchill, when criticized for drinking too much, is said to have replied, "I've got more out of alcohol than it has out of me."

No comments:

Post a Comment