Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Throughout our adventures and travels, Gaspard and I have learned many things about a great many subjects. For instance, it is damn near impossible to win the British Literary Fiction Award with a collection of fetish erotica, especially when it's written in French. Gaspard - my condolences.
However, without a doubt, the lion's share of our accrued knowledge concerns drinking - a subject we haven't explicitly touched on in a while, but one which is very close to our hearts (especially as we always keep flasks in our breast pockets). I know that some of you see us as very straight-laced, buttoned-down types, but would it shock you to learn that even Gaspard and I like to cut loose and get drunk every once and a while?
I'm joking, of course. Some of you may have been drunk since the early evening; some, even, since the early afternoon. Gaspard and I have been drunk since the early 1990s. As tipplers we are, to put it modestly, the stuff of legend.* So it is with great authority that we may dictate what exactly the rake should be drinking. And the answer is, of course: everything.
This is not to say that the rake should not be cultivated. Gaspard is the first one to scornfully spit out a mouthful of Chateau Lafite Rothschild '86 if there is a Lafite '89 lurking in the cellar. I, on the other hand, can identify any single malt Scotch whisky, by brand, age, and even peat bog, merely by its aroma. What is more, in repeated trials I am 93% accurate at naming rye whiskeys even when mixed in Manhattans.
Yet, while the rake has a discerning palate for every different type of alcohol, ultimately his crippling dipsomania trumps his refinement. Simply put, he needs booze and any booze will do: he is equally at home drinking champagne with uptown swells, and rotgut gin with even-further-uptown winos.
We here at The Rakish Life often make much of hanging out with the well-heeled club crowd. But to be honest, those people are painfully boring. Stuffy, obnoxious, close-minded. Exceedingly rare these days are your real bon vivants like that capital rake Lord Byron--now there was a man with whom to share a real jag. Get him a few glasses of claret, and he just might whisk you away on a month-long bender around the Continent, covered by the entire proceeds of his last book. But sadly, in these sorry times, the people who generally have the most of "It" are hard-working stiffs who can't or won't appreciate the humor in, say, the grand smash and cheerful tinkle of the lowball glass you've just slung against their antique marble mantle. The only reason we do hang around with them is to drink their fine liquors and wines and make merry on their palatial country estates.
What you need to understand, and what is indeed the point of this lesson, is that when you are not able to cadge off the jet set, you will be forced to drink whatever is available. Forget 'Top Shelf". Forget "Bottom Shelf." Forget even the loathsome "Well." The alcohols you will be forced to consume when drinking alone cannot be found on any shelves in any bar - we are talking about rubbing alcohol, lighter fluid, bathtub gin, moonshine, toilet wine and any sort of malt beverage that can be fermented in a coffee can or pickle jar.
Yes, many of you are probably wincing at the thought of an Isopropyl and Tonic, but I assure you, if you have enough ice and a few wedges of lime , not only does it get you blindingly drunk**, it tingles the mouth in an ever so pleasant way! For you see, the grim reality is that despite his dreams of grandeur, the rake must often subsist on cheap booze and cheaper cigarettes.
As we have said many times before, the rake's lifestyle is not for everyone. Drinking literally every form of alcohol you can find will earn you the ire of the 12-Steppers, the self-satisfied pity of upstanding burghers, and when performed in public, the unwanted attention of local constables. But pay these pedants no mind: the rake must always stay assured that this is what he must do. N.B.: being extremely drunk greatly helps in maintaining this certitude. For, as a friend of mine named Finley D. once sagely observed, "Alcohol is necessary so that a man can have a good opinion of himself, undisturbed by the facts.”
So, raise up a glass of Scotch or gin if you can lay hands on it. But if not, grab the nearest bottle of mouthwash, pour it down your throat, and rake on!
*VSQ (Vicious Sots Quarterly) has called us "pre-eminent."
** At times, quite literally - be careful.
Posted by Gaspard Lerâteau at 8:55 PM