When I was younger, shortly after I learned to read consistently, I became interested in checking out the ingredients list on food packaging. I didn’t really know what most of them were, but would raise my eyebrows, purse my lips, and nod as I noted that some cereal had 30% of the recommended dietary allowance of fibre, for example. I didn’t know what that meant, of course, but it sure was impressive reading.
I learned that fibre and vitamins were good things to get a lot of. Same with calcium – milk has that and we were given that at school, so it stood to good reason that calcium must be very good for you. I sought that and the vitamins out on cereal packets just to check that it had some of my RDA. Not that I knew where I was getting the rest of my RDA, but I figured that if I started off on the right foot then the rest of it would take care of itself as the day went by.
One of the things that concerned me was that only certain products contained Floz. There didn’t appear to be an RDA of Floz – I figured you just took what you were given, so obviously you could never have too much Floz. Milk had Floz, orange juice had Floz, as did a lot of other liquid based products. Solids appeared to lack any kind of Floz, though, so I figured that Floz was something that only came in liquid form.
With hindsight, the alarm bells should have been ringing right there. I should have, and probably could have, deduced that Floz was not an essential vitamin or mineral.
What I did notice, whilst examining an unopened can of Tennents Lager in the kitchen, was that Floz came in beer. Wow. That explained why Crazy Uncle John and my Grandpa drank so much of that stuff.
They were men I trusted. Men who had taught me a great deal. Thus, I decided that, as soon as I was old enough to tollerate the taste of the stuff, I’d make a point of getting a large percentage of my RDA of Floz from the same source as them.
Come to think of it, I’m certain my Grandpa would be proud of the sheer volume of Floz that I’ve consumed by way of lager. Possibly.
I can just about remember the evening where I found out the truth about Floz. I was sitting on the lap of Steven, my mum’s boyfriend at the time, who would later become my stepfather. I pointed to the can of lager he was drinking from and informed him of the amount of Floz contained in that can.
He laughed. He laughed a lot. He repeated what I’d said to the members of my family who were present in the room. That made them laugh. Then they all laughed together, repeating the word “Floz” as they did so.
I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment.
What the heck were Fluid Ounces anyway?