Is 'Hagar The Horrible' still being published? When I was in my teens, I had a weakness for this very silly cartoon strip about a plundering, pillaging, hard-drinking, stupidly macho Viking. (I am ashamed to admit that it used to appear in The Sun - the most popular but most determinedly downmarket of UK newspapers; a rag with very little to recommend it, apart from the cartoons..... and the fact that its bombastic Middle England prejudices were often unintentionally hilarious.)
In one of my favourite sequences, Hagar is getting drunk in an obviously disreputable, dangerous sort of bar. He whistles imperiously for yet another beer. The barman hurls a bottle viciously right at him. Hagar nonchalantly catches the bottle in flight towards his face, and, in one easy motion, bites the neck from the bottle, and chugs the beer down in one (glass splinters and all).
His gormless sidekick, Lucky Eddie, looks at him anxiously and says, "Do you know how many calories are in one of those?"
I rather fear I am reaching that point in life myself. I've always been happily proof against hangovers, but now I seem to be losing out on the pleasant buzz of mild inebriation as well - my tolerance has just got too darned high for my own good. So now, the major concern in my mind as I ponder whether or not to order another beer is not "Will I regret this in the morning?" or "Will this take me into the happy-drunk zone?", but merely "What will this do to my waistline?"
I suppose this is what they call 'middle age'. Our fathers warn us about it, but we never listen....