Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Joy of Drinking

Just wanted to share a few bits from "The Joy of Drinking" by Barbara Holland, a delightfully unapologetic lush and contrarian. I love it when writers find the perfect dismissive way to describe something that weighs heavy in the public mind, in this case early American history:

"Early in the seventeenth century, England established a cluster of colonies on the eastern shore of North America, and various Britons came over, some cross and disaffected, some indentured or exiled, some pigheaded and righteous, and many simply hoping to get richer than they were back home. For a while, some hoped to persuade the natives to sell themselves into slavery and dig up gold for them, but the locals didn't take to slavery and there wasn't any gold, so some went back home and other hunkered down to make what they could of the place."

It takes Howard Zinn 600 pages to unravel and retell American history. She packages the grand objectivity of our national myth into one paragraph and politely tosses it to the side.

Second, a quote in the book from Ogden Nash:

"There is something about a martini,
A tingle remarkably pleasant;
A yellow, a mellow martini;
I wish that I had one at present.
There is something about a martini,
Ere the dining and dancing begin,
And to tell you the truth,
It is not the vermouth--
I think that perhaps it's the Gin."

Third, I love that she had the cajones to eventually get to the point of advocating hair of the dog -- easing one's hangover by having a morning drink, and so slow the blood's all-too-hasty loss of alcohol. Thanks to the shame around drinking in our stupid culture, you can't do that without feeling like an alcoholic, but it's really the one best way. Instead, we look for drug store items to solve this problem, just like they solve everything else for us.

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