No Rum This Winter
Author: The dead liar
So, the weather is cold outside. You and your friends are huddled inside, there is nowhere to visit in this weather. To pass time, you decide to play one of the many random indoor games and to heat yourself you decide to place a punishment of a shot of available alcoholic beverage. Yes, you will get drunk, but you don’t plan on going anywhere also you will get to warm yourself up with this centuries, old ‘ninja technique’ of warming yourself up. What could go wrong, right?
Well apparently, a lot. you could even die if things got really bad. And no, it is not because of some crazy drunken accident. You need not return outside. turns out this 10,000 (yes that is correct no. of zero) year old friend of ours is not as good as a friend when the sun isn’t around.
But author, we do it every year. Everybody knows this. I mean, the whole of Russia survives only because of vodka. Whenever you feel cold, you drink rum. Or vodka. I have done it. I know whenever I feel really cold, I make myself a drink, and then my body warms up and I don’t feel so cold anymore. How could you say otherwise?
Well, you see dear reader; the human body is incredibly easy to trick. Imagine you have a decayed tooth and it hurts a lot. You pop a painkiller. The pain is now gone. So even though your tooth lies miserably you feel content that your tooth is ok. Imagine you have severe stress. You decide to light a cigarette or make yourselves some extra strong coffee. As the medicine begins to work, the stress fades away slowly. See, it’s a beautiful trick our brain plays on the body that if it doesn’t hurt, it is ok. And this alcohol fellow has been doing exactly that for the last many many years.
Now in our body, as you all must be aware, are many blood vessels. These numerous vessels carry blood to and from any body part to the heart and vice versa. But apart from that, these vessels have a lot of other functions. Maintaining body temperature is also one of them. How does it do that author? You ask? See when it is cold outside, what our body does is it constricts the vessels that are near the skin and hands and limbs. It limits the blood that flows near the skin. Now skin being closest to the outside and also being the largest organ, it is the main source of heat loss. You see, when it is hot the heat is transferred from outside to the blood just under the skin. This slightly heated blood is then carried to the heart and from there to the entire body. Thus, the temp of the body tends to rise (but doesn’t rise due to various other factors in warm-blooded animals). This is why you can see crocodiles and lizards basking in the sun now and then, those other factors are not present in these poor animals. When it is cold the process is reversed. We stay indoors while the crocodiles dig deep under to save themselves.
What alcohol does, however, is it dilates those very vessels which were constricted due to cold. Now blood flows on a much higher volume to the skin. This is also the reason you blush when drunk. From there the blood returns as slightly cooler blood. The increased blood flow makes you feel warmer. You also feel more confident about conquering the cold. Meanwhile with every pump of your heart. The blood is getting colder and colder. because you are drunk and your body is stupid, you fail to realize that. Soon enough, your interior gets so cold that it is beyond saving and you end up in hospital wondering why you are in hypothermia even though you don’t feel cold at all.
But that is not the only way that drink of your is cheating on you my dear reader. you see, alcohol takes away one of the most potent ways to fight the cold, to shiver. That’s right, you shiver less when you are drunk. But you see, shivering has evolved for millions of years as a way to warm your body when it’s cold. Those tiny vibrations try to make sure you don’t collapse because your insides are freezing all of a sudden. But alcohol strips you of this smallest comfort and lures you into a false sense of warmth.
But no, alcohol is a cruel mistress.it is not done yet. So, as you play around in your silly game, too drunk to remember which round you were in, feeling soft and warm and happy since god knows when, you realize that you have begun to perspire. Yes, you are sweating now. Surely this is a sign that you are finally feeling warm right? Well, it turns out that this is another false sensation alcohol has brewed for you (pun intended). That perspiration is because of the drink you took and not because of your body temperature. So, you see, not only is it cold seeping in from the outside, but heat is also going out from the tiny beads of sweat on your forehead as you nervously try to determine who is going to win the next round. Surely it is not the hooded guy with a scythe on the corner of the room watching you intently.