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A Shout From The Attic: As a Man Drinketh So is He

Ronnie Bray tells of an "iron therapy'' administered to a sodlier who had consumed too much Tiger beer.

Assis and Tiger beer were the two main drinks sold in the NAAFI at the Green Howard’s camp in the Suez Garrison, Egypt. The Assis was orange juice that was as satisfying as it was cheap. Usually sold in pint glasses for the equivalent of a shilling, it was cooling, tasty, and filling. For the Assis I can speak. The Tiger beer was a different matter. Being a Mormon, I was teetotal so I didn’t get to taste Tiger beer or to enjoy its worst effects.

These effects were regularly demonstrated by the unwise boys who made the mistake of thinking that because it was cheap they could drink more of it. It was one of those beers whose full potency was not released until one walked – or staggered – out into the night air. Then, the full horror of the chemical concoction was unleashed on the central nervous system without benefit of a four-minute warning. It overwhelmed the senses at the same time as it rendered the ego and alter ego invalid.

Although the body lost all co-ordinated function, the id drove it powerfully on, crashing into rather than crossing the normal social taboos that elevate sentient Homo sapiens above the level of the enraged bull-elephant, but not by much. Men went immediately mad before their lungs were fully inflated with the first whiffs of outside air on a mere two pints. Idiots, of which there was no evident shortage, risked anything from eight to twelve pints.

One night a medium range Tiger beer buffoon exited the NAAFI at roughly the same time as his genetic composition took on the aspect of Genghis Khan. Imitating the action of the beserker, he set out to kill as many people as he could find. Fortunately for the denizens of the camp, and possibly for himself, he was arrested by the timely application of iron therapy. My friend, Roy Davey of Cricklewood in London, administered this from behind, the only safe position. Roy dispensed it in the form of one of the two-foot lengths of two-inch by two-inch angle iron that we used as tent pegs. The effect was stunning!

The afflicted, a bull headed sergeant, was scraped up and taken to the British Military Hospital to sober up and have the two halves of his scalp sewn back together. A wiser and a sadder man he rose the morrow morn, and his headache lasted through the rest of the week. He never found out who had laid him low, but his disposition changed as if by a miracle.

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