12.101 Uisge


16 (Fri) April 2021


at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-


Spring Cleaning (Day 5 of 5)

Years overdue, I have successfully completed a water fast – nothing but water – for 5 days this week, Monday to Friday.

At the end of Day 5, I’ve had enough.  In addition to dizziness, I had a headache all day.  I was worried that I’d be safe enough to drive home.  But I was never hungry.

My longest fast was 12 days.  I did it in 1998, when I staying with my parents over the summer to study for the LSAT.  After a week, the body had been reduced to a shell, incapable of doing anything beyond shuffling very slowly to and from the bathroom to pee.  But the mind and soul had achieved nirvana – or maybe it was just lightheadedness.  In any case, I recall being extremely focused on my studies – no other worldly matters to worry about, which is likely why monks do it – though probably the lack of nutrients in my brain prevented much retention.  I had been aiming for 14 days, a full 2 weeks, but my mother got worried – said that I could barely lift my head, even to study – and shoved a chunk of watermelon in my mouth on Day 12.

Bell’s – only 15,800 won for 700 ml at E-Mart! – is my daily rotgut hooch these days; it’s actually not that bad.  My single malt collection, once topping 60 bottles at its peak (see for example 9.304 Lamb Rojanjost), is now diminished to 17, just a couple fingers remaining in some of them, and relegated to a high cupboard.

Did you know? The term “whisky” derives from the classic Gaelic “uisge,” which means “water.”  Early forms of whisky were called “uisge beatha = water of life” – a translation of the Latin “aqua vitae” – until it was shortened and Anglicized to “whisky” by distilleries in the 18th Century; “usquebaugh” is still used today by Gaelic speakers in Ireland and Scotland.  Bonus: “vodka” derives from the Slavic “voda,” which is closely related to the Old English “waeter.”

(See also FOODS)

(See also PLACES)

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