Do you think Jimmy Buffett secretly owns a TARDIS, or is it just the case that countless years of exposure to margarita mix fumes have gifted him with the ability to peer into the future and know great and important things?
That is the sole question that comes to mind after hearing about a new book written by a professor from Yale School of Medicine. After all, what in the hell else could explain the preternatural prescience Buffet exhibited when he put pen to paper and scribed his 1977 hit "Margaritaville" and his 1999 masterpiece "Math Suks"? Buffett must have gazed beyond the veil of time and space and been made aware of this new book's findings, which are simply this: Drinking alcohol—or wine, at least—is somehow better for your brain than doing math.
Dr. Gordon Shepherd is a neuroscientist and the author of the new book Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates The Taste of Wine . He says that drinking wine is a great intellectual workout. What's more, the act of savoring wine involves the tongue, and therefore requires "exquisite control of one of the biggest muscles in the body." According to Dr. Shepherd, when a person drinks wine, taste and odor receptors on the tongue are engaged and brain functions are triggered—so much so that imbibing the fruit of the grape requires more brain engagement than solving a difficult math problem.
Bottom line: Tasting wine "engages more of our brain than any other human behavior."
Is there a single greater argument to lower the drinking age? Should all schools be mandated to require school trips on the Napa Valley Wine Train? We sure as hell think so.
There is one catch to all this good news about the higher functioning involved in drinking wine. If you guzzle your wine, the intellectual benefits of imbibing are lost. "People are just downing the stuff," Shepard says about overdoing it. "If you take too large a sip, you've saturated your system."
Keep that in mind, kiddies.
In the meantime, we'll be envisioning a future in which high schools replace geometry with sommelier classes—and the SAT includes a taste test instead of an essay. Oh, and Jimmy Buffett will be Secretary of Education, naturally.
We can dream, can't we?