In A Nutshell
James Bond, the UK’s most famous secret agent, has saved the world from gold smugglers, gangsters, and terrorists, and still manages to find time for cocktails. However, if 007 were a real person, he wouldn’t even be able to pass a field sobriety test. According to a new study, James Bond is an entirely impotent drunk who’s probably going to drink himself to death.
The Whole Bushel
April 1953 was one of the most important moments in pop culture history. That was when Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale hit bookshelves and introduced the world to Bond, James Bond. The debonair 007 went on to star in 13 more Fleming novels and (currently) 23 Eon movies, all the while seducing femme fatales, fighting megalomaniacal masterminds and drinking martinis . . . a lot of martinis. In fact, if Bond were an actual human being, there’s no way he could drive his Aston Martin out of the garage, let alone save the world from diamond-powered satellites. Why? Well, according to a new study, James Band is a raging alcoholic.
Published last year in the British Medical Journal, the study was authored by three doctors who were big Bond fans. They decided to read all of Ian Fleming’s novels and calculate how much alcohol the super spy guzzled on a weekly basis. After finishing the books, they deduced there were 123.5 days recorded in the stories. For 36 of those days, Bond couldn’t touch a drop because he was in prison, a hospital or rehab. That left 87.5 days for James to argue with M, save the world, and get wasted. And man, did he get wasted.
According to UK standards, one unit of alcohol is 10 milliliters (8 grams) of pure ethanol. Putting things into perspective, a pint of beer is 3 units while a bottle of wine is 9. However, researchers discovered 007’s total alcohol intake for those 87.5 days was 1,150 units. Do a little math, and you’ll get an average of 92 units per week. In other words, he’s drinking about five vodka martinis per day. And British doctors say men aren’t supposed to consume more than 21 units a week! Bond is downing four times the alcohol recommended for the average man. In From Russia with Love, he set a personal record of 49.8 units in one day. And before the final page of You Only Live Twice, Bond’s booziest book, the secret agent drinks a whopping 225.8 units. He would’ve been too buzzed to even see Blofeld, much less stop him.
Not surprisingly, all three doctors agreed 007 was at high risk for depression, liver cirrhosis and brain damage. All those cocktails would’ve wiped out his cerebellum and hippocampus, making it impossible for him to play baccarat with Le Chiffre or throw down with Red Grant. After all, the hippocampus creates new memories, and the cerebellum is in charge of our coordination and timing. Once those go, so does your license to kill. In fact, researchers think Bond’s pickled brain is responsible for his most classic catchphrase: “Shaken, not stirred.” Vodka martinis should be stirred, not shaken. Why would a classy lounge lizard like Bond make such a glaring error? Perhaps it’s because Bond has developed cerebellar lesions which cause his hands to shake. It might actually be impossible for him to stir his favorite cocktail. But the most embarrassing side effect of Bond’s rampant alcoholism is inability to perform sexually. That’s right. James Bond is impotent. Sorry, Honey Ryder.
If James Bond is anything like his creator, chances are good he’ll have an early death. Ian Fleming, a heavy drinker and smoker, died at 59 of heart disease. If 007 doesn’t clean up his act, doctors think he’ll kick the bucket at the same age, assuming a super villain doesn’t get him first. Of course, Bond is a fiction, and the study is all in good fun. However, the researchers also wanted to comment on the dangers of alcoholism. Over 2.5 million people around the world die of alcohol abuse every year. By exposing the habits of the world’s most iconic action hero, they hope to shed light on the dangers of heavy drinking. Or perhaps they’re just jealous of James Bond.