When it comes to the urban legend business, nothing generates more interest than tales about drugs and alcohol. Sociologists are unsure why we're so fascinated by tall tales about intoxicants. Some point to a fascination with “naughty” pleasures. Sex and gambling would fit into this realm as well. Let’s debunk a few urban myths about drugs and alcohol.
- Drugs are freely available at drug rehabs.
If only! Once in a while, a highly publicized case arises in which a celebrity has drugs smuggled into her court-ordered rehab facility. This is strictly verboten and could get the celebrity thrown back into jail. If you check into a drug rehab, you're kissing off drugs and turning around your life. Why on earth would you ruin it by trying to smuggle in drugs?
- Mexican beer workers pee into the beer vats.
Yuch! This rumor started in the mid-80s. It hurt sales of Corona beer. The slur was traced to a competing Heineken distributor. The truth came out in a lawsuit, where the distributor admitted guilt and retracted the rumor. This little urban legend cost Corona over half a million dollars in corrective advertising.
- Champagne glasses were molded on the shape of woman’s breast.
Bawdy. False(sy). The women in question ranged from Helen of Troy to Marie Antoinette. The wide-brimmed glass was invented in 1663 in England under quite innocent circumstances. Champagne itself was accidently discovered by a Dom Perignon, a Benedictine monk.
- Print ads featuring liquor have subliminal messages like “sex” imprinted on the ice cubes.
Um, there could be some truth to this one. Liquor companies vehemently deny it. Noted psychologist Dr. Wilson B. Key has written books to the contrary. It seems sort of unnecessary, as liquor ads are usually pretty racy to start with. Of course, if you believe you can never get enough smut, you might buy into this rumor.
- English brewers add fish guts to their beer.
Double yuch! But true!! The substance is called Isinglass and is made from sturgeon bladders. Some British ales use it as a fining agent to remove impurities like proteins that cloud the brew. Also true – French winemakers had once used animal blood to fine their fine wine. It’s now illegal (in most places).
- You can beat a breathalyzer test my sucking on a penny.
Nope, copper won't mask alcohol in your system, though a dirty penny in your mouth could give you an infection. By the way, the modern penny is only 2.5 percent copper – the rest is zinc.