How do I get up to the University of Alberta? I don’t even know where that is. I know it’s north.

Since I arrived here from Hollywood 30 years ago, I’ve always made it a point never to go any farther north than Skowhegan.

My first week here I went looking for the New Balance factory and got lost. I had to call She, who grew up here, from a pay phone in a gas station to come and find me. As I was talking, I pointed out to the street and asked the mechanic, “What is that?”

“That’s 201.”

“No, the white stuff.”

“That’s snow.”

As I had not seen snow in 40 years, and it wasn’t snowing in Waterville, I figured that Skowhegan was the snow line.

I know Alberta is in Canada. I’m old and confused, but not stupid.

I don’t fly and I hate buses, is there a train to Alberta? I know — I’m ranting. If I sound out of breath it’s because I’m trying to find some clean shirts to pack. Let me bring you up to date.

This morning I was having my egg and oatmeal breakfast and debating whether or not I should risk getting another cold or worse, catching the flu, by going to the gym to build up muscle and put me back in People magazine’s “HOTTEST ELDERLY MEN” annual edition. I believe I was a 10th runner up last year. I made that up.

OK, I’m ranting again. Let me explain.

As I was making a Facebook run, my Facebook friend, Molly Fitzpatrick, posted this from, an online site that drew its article from the Latin Times. Did I look into this? At once.

“Science says a glass of red wine may be equivalent to one hour at the gym, and that your body will receive the same benefits from drinking wine as hitting the gym for an hour of sweat-inducing exercise.”


OK. I knew that wine has restorative qualities. I knew all about that resveratrol stuff they claim is good for your heart, but better than working out?

This completely explains the gymnastic abilities and awesome body of my brother Matt’s buddy Bill Keogh. Back in the ’20s, Bill and my brother Matt worked out constantly with one another. After the war, Matt would tell stories of Bill’s physical prowess and physique, and how he would spend hours working out at the Carondelet YMCA, despite the fact that he smoked Camel cigarettes and drank huge amounts of cheap Italian red wine given to him by a girlfriend from Cahokia, Ill.

There you go. That backs up this study by researchers at the University of Alberta in, I guess, Canada?

The researchers there conducted tests on rodents. Wait. What? Rats? Why didn’t they call me? Why waste good pinot noir on rats? I would have been perfectly thrilled to go up to Canada and hang out while they pumped me full of cabernet, Chianti, pinot noir and Burgundy. Hell, yes. Send me in, coach.

Of course, as they always do, the scientists caution that too much alcohol can have harmful effects on the body, and this test should be restricted to one glass of wine with one’s evening meal. Tell that to my Uncle Jack who died at 98 and who never drew a sober breath since middle school.

The group at Alberta say that red wine, no sissy chardonnay, you understand, “promotes longevity, cuts risk of cataracts, colon cancer and slows down brain decline.”

That’s why I want these guys to get a load of this writer. I have zero brain decline, have passed two perfect colonoscopies, have perfect eyesight, survived a small heart attack and have cholesterol numbers that may one day be listed in the American Medical Journal. I made that up, too.

Sorry, Planet Fitness, I’m loading up on a couple of cases of pinot, some crackers and cheese, just as soon as I get back from Alberta. Thank you, Molly Fitzpatrick.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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