here's to your health
as the only freshman on his school's varsity(代表队) wrestling team, tod was anxious to fit in with his older teammates. one night after a match, he was offered a whisky bottle on the ride home. tod felt he had to accept, or he would seem like a sissy. he took a swallow, and every time the bottle was passed back to him, he took another swallow. after seven swallows, he passed out. his terrified teammates carried him into his home, and his mother then rushed to the hospital. after his stomach was pumped, tod learned that his blood alcohol level had been so high that he was lucky not to be in a coma or dead.
although alcohol sometimes causes rapid poisoning, frequently leads to long-term addiction, and always threatens self-control, our society encourages drinking. many parents, by their example, give children the impression that alcohol is an essential ingredient of social gatherings. peer pressure turns bachelor parties, fraternity initiations (同仁联谊会入会) , and spring-semester beach vacations into competitions in "getting trashed. " in soap operas, charming characters pour scotch whiskey from crystal bottle as readily as most people turn on the faucet for tap water. in films and rock videos, trend-setters party in nightclubs and bars. and who can recall a televised baseball or basketball game without a beer commercial? by the age of 21, the average american has been drinking on tv about 75, 000 times. alcohol ads appear with pounding frequency—in magazines, on billboards, in college newspapers—contributing to a harmful myth about drinking.
part of the myth is that liquor signals professional success. in a men's magazine, one full-page ad for scotch whiskey shows two men seated in an elegant restaurant. both are in their thirties, perfectly groomed, and wearing expensive grey suits. the windows'are draped (悬挂) with velvet (天鹅绒) > the table with spotless white linen. each place-setting consists of a long-stemmed water goblet, silver utensils and thick silver plates. on each plate is half-empty cocktail glass. the two men are grinning and shaking hands, as if they've just concluded a business deal. the caption reads, "the taste of success. "
contrary to what the liquor company would have us believe, drinking is more closely related to lack of success than to achievement. among students, the heaviest drinkers have the lowest grades. in the work force, alcoholics are frequently late or absent, tend to perform poorly, and often get fired. although, alcohol abuse occurs in all economic classes, it remains most severe among the poor.
another part of the alcohol myth is that drinking makes you more attractive to the opposite sex. "hot, hot, hot," one commercial's soundtrack(电影配乐) begins, as the camera scans a crowd of college-age beachgoers. next it follows the curve of a woman's leg up to her bare hip and lingers there. she is young, beautiful, wearing a bikini. a young guy, carrying an ice chest (箱子), positions himself near to where she sits. he is tan, muscular. she doesn't show much interest—until he opens the chest and takes out a beer. now she smiles over at him. he raises his eyebrows and, invitingly, holds up another can. she joins him. this beer, the song concludes, "attracts like no other. "
beer doesn't make anyone sexier. like all alcohol, it lowers the levels of male hormones in men and of female hormones in women—even when taken in small amounts. in substantial amounts, alcohol can cause infertility(不生育) in women and impotence (阳萎|) in men. some alcoholic men develop enlarged breasts, from their increased female hormones.
the alcohol myth also creates the illusion that beer and athletics are a perfect combination. one billboard features three high-action images: a baseball player running at top speed, a surfer riding a wave, and a basketball player leaping to make a dunk shot. a particular light beer, the billboard promises, "won't slow you down. "
"slow you down" is exactly what alcohol does. drinking plays a role in over six million injuries each year—not counting automobile accidents. even in small amounts, alcohol dulls the brain, reducing muscle coordination and slowing reaction time. it also interferes with the ability to focus the eyes and adjust to a sudden change in brightness—such as the flash of a car's headlights. drinking and driving, responsible for over half of all automobile deaths, is the leading cause of death among teenagers. continued alcohol abuse can physically alter the brain, permanently damaging learning and memory. long-term drinking is related to malnutrition, weakening of the bones, and ulcers. it increases the risk of liver failure, heart disease, and stomach cancer.
finally, according to the myth fostered by the media in our culture, alcohol generates a warm glow of happiness that unifies the family. in one popular film, the only food visible at a wedding reception is an untouched wedding cake, but beer, whiskey, and vodka flow freely. most of the guests are drunk. after shouting into the microphone to get everyone's attention, the band leader asks the bride and groom to come forward. they are presented with two wine-filled silver drinking cups. "if you can drink your cups without spilling any wine," the band leader tells them, "you will have good luck for the rest of your lives. " the couple drain their cups without taking a breath, and the crowd cheers.
a marriage, however, is unlikely to be "lucky" if alcohol plays a major role in it. nearly two-thirds of domestic violence involves drinking. alcohol abuse by parents is strongly tied to child neglect and juvenile delinquency. drinking during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage and is a major cause of such birth defects as deformed limbs and mental retardation. those who depend on alcohol are far from happy: over a fourth of the patients in state and county mental institutions have alcohol problems; more than half of all violent crimes are alcohol-related; the rate of suicide among alcoholics is fifteen times higher than among the general population.
alcohol, some would have us believe, is part of being successful, sexy, healthy, and happy. but those who have suffered from it—directly or indirectly—know otherwise. for alcohol's victims, "here's to your health" rings with a terrible irony when it is accompanied by the clink of liquor glasses.
1. the author provides lots of evidence to refute the harmful myth about drinking.
2. we can conclude from the passage that the media and the culture of american society promote false beliefs about alcohol.
3. paragraph four tells us that alcoholics will never succeed if they don't quit drinking.
4. instead of making people more attractive, alcohol makes man womanlike.
5. drinking is one of the main causes of death among teenagers.
6. the sentence ". . . our society encourages drinking. " is simply based on the fact that there are so many ads for alcohol in magazines and on tv.
7. something must be done to restrain alcohol abuse before it is too late.
8. over six million injuries each year are related to______.
9. the life of those who are addicted to drinking is______.
10. besides a major cause of birth defects, drinking during pregnancy can lead to______.