Sunday, June 7, 2015

Not at My Best: The Lesser Purge

In the 1930’s, Joseph Stalin oversaw the murder of millions of his own people. While countless millions more were placed firmly under his absolute domination. He brutalized the farmers, gutted his military, eviscerated the intelligentsia and eliminated all opposition. Historians call it “The Great Purge.” I think it was the vodka. Last night I did something I had not done in, literally, years. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because yesterday was the anniversary of D-Day. Maybe it was Beau Biden’s very sad and very profound funeral service. I found myself wondering, “What will they say when I am gone and who will say it?” Result: a momentary pity party and I succumbed to demon rum, well, Johnny Walker. Perhaps it was the excitement of watching American Pharoah (sic) become the first horse in 37 years to win the triple crown of racing and I wanted to celebrate. At any rate, and for whatever reason (or perhaps, like the mountain, because it was there), our friend Joop had gotten new drinking glasses perfectly weighted in your hand and perfectly sized for a deceptively large double shot of whatever you might choose to imbibe. My villain of choice is Scotch; usually I indulge in a single shot or two on the nights we go to visit Joop. But last night, boasting beforehand how well I hold my liquor, I knocked back four full glasses of liquid smoke in just over an hour. I could not, would not stop myself. And I got, what’s the polite word, drunk. Blotto. In my cups. Wasted. Really, absolutely, totally teenage ripped. Fortunately, Diane was disinclined to drink, choosing coffee instead. She was wide awake and the Universe was not spinning around her head, so she drove us home. With great sympathy and patience she suggested that I hug the toilet and purge myself to get some of that poison out of my system, then maybe have a cup of tea. The task completed itself quickly and I was able to sit down for a while, drink half a cup of tea, and then lie down without that same Universe crashing onto me and crushing my skull from the inside out. “The Little Purge” had worked. And I swore: never again. And she said, “Never say never.” And I thought: even grandpa-types . . . And I woke up this morning thinking how totally and absolutely un-funny Joseph Stalin is.

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