“That’s 110 proof!”


I had just discussed with a patient and his wife the options regarding therapy for his newly diagnosed prostate cancer. The patient and his wife elected to pursue active surveillance. At the check out counter we meet another patient I had seen earlier. The checkout patient, in his eighties, had told me that “running up and down North Georgia mountains” had kept him in shape and young. The two men knew each other and both lived in the Dahlonega, Georgia area. “Doc, I know old Bill from my “moonshinin”  days in the fifties. The two men began to reminisce about old times and one said, “Yea, he made good stuff.” The other man’s wife said, “Good stuff!” I said, “I have some moonshine that a patient gave me. Can you tell me if it is “good stuff” or not?” “Go get it,” the man says. I go get the Bells quart jar of the crystal clear liquid and give it to the patient. His demeanor changed immediately. He took the jar as if it was a precious rock or specimen of some sort. He did his legs back and forth as if to get settled in to evaluate the brew. First he looked at it at an angle with his chin down but his eyes up. He held it up to the light and studied it for about twenty seconds. He shook it.”Why are you doing that?” I asked. ” The bubbles tell you the proof.” “What’s the proof?” I asked. He shook it again. His wife, the receptionist, me and the  other friend all wait as the man repeatedly shakes the jar. “This is good. 110 proof.” I said, “Made with corn?” He then unscrewed the cap, uses it adroitly to pry off the sealed lid, and then rolls his nose around the lid. He then takes his little finger and wipes the under surface of the lid and takes a taste.”I think it’s apple.” “How did you know the proof?” I asked. “The size of the bubbles. The bigger the bubble, the higher the proof. He put the jar back on and gave it back to me and then we noticed an inscription on the lid. “G-110.” “Look here,” he said. “Here it is. The man’s name that made this begins with a G and its 110 proof. It’s good. He knew what he was doing. When do you want to see me back?”

“Three months. We’ll start doing the rectal exams and serial PSAs at that time.” And with that he and his friend were out the office door still talking about the old days.

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