‘I’ve ordered us a pint of Guinness for a change,’ Camp said when I sat down at our usual table. ‘I know it’s long past St Paddy’s day but here is some good news about beer. Despite its rich flavor, Guinness it’s not the highest in calories compared with other beers. A 12-ounce pint of Guinness Draught has 125 calories. The same size serving of Budweiser has 145 calories, a Heineken has 142 calories. This makes sense when you consider that alcohol is the main source of calories in beers. Guinness Draught has a lower alcohol content, at 4.2% alcohol by volume (ABV), compared with 5% for Budweiser and Heineken. In other words, Guinness is almost like a light beer.’

            ‘Who would have thought?’ I said, ‘we could go on a Guinness diet.’

            ‘Here are some stats,’ Camp said, consulting his pocket encyclopedia. “In 2019 all together Canadians drank 21.4 million hectoliters which is over 2 billion liters of beer which works out to 71.2 liters per capita and those between 18-34 drank about 40 percent of it. Over 60 percent of all beer sold was in cans and over 85 percent were domestic brands. The brewing industry generated 6.5 million US dollars in revenue.’

            ‘There are only a few things in life that are certain: Beer makes money and we’re doing our part.’ We both enjoyed our Irish beers.

            I had some good news on my own. ‘Last week the UN Global Happiness Report was published. 63 percent of the surveyed are happy and Finland, as last year, was the happiest country of all while Afghanistan rated last, again. Canada has dropped five places since last year, now behind the US, to 15th place, lagging all the Europeans, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. In the counties where people have the highest happiness numbers, mostly in Scandinavia and Switzerland, people seem to have faith in their governments and there is no or very low levels of corruption and they have a comfortable economy.’ 

            ‘I wonder if the pandemic affected these outcomes?’ Camp asked.

            ‘Not really. People seem to see the pandemic as a general threat that affects everybody, but the index shows that those countries who dealt well with the covid are those who trust their governments and fellow citizens, as in Finland, Iceland, New Zealand and most countries in Asia.’

            ‘Interesting,’ Camp said. ‘I didn’t know you could measure happiness. I thought it comes in small things, like a pint with a friend or a good book at the end of a productive day.’

            ‘You should use this for a poster at your store: Happiness is a good book.’

            We both drank to that. 

            ‘Over half a million vaccines have already been administered in BC,’ I said, ‘and this must be reducing the spread because we don’t see any more outbreaks or hotspots amongst the older population.’

            ‘If they want everybody vaccinated by June in BC, they have to double the jabs to 50’000 per day. A daunting task. Let’s hope it’s the game changer we all hope for.’

            When Vicky brought our second Guinness round, she wanted to know if we liked this beer better than the usual lager we frequented.

            ‘It has got less calories than Bud or Heiny,’ Camp said.

            ‘I didn’t know you two were on a diet,’ she said with a raised eyebrow.

            ‘Just for today,’ Camp smirked. ‘Just for a day.’

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