Long long ago once upon a time there lived a ….. . Oops, wrong story . I am always astounded by folks who say “This is what the founding fathers would have wanted” and interestingly I have known quite a few of these well meaning folks , one of the most vehement “This is what the federalists fought for”er was a 3 time divorcee who had never heard of Benjamin Franklin’s first rule for happiness
1. “TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
One might argue that he was blissfully aware of the chastity rule as well but nature being what it is, it rarely allows us to indulge in both with equanimity so it had spared him of the temptation of violating that particular one, nonetheless he would kid the hapless waitresses or the secretarial staff until they blushed red, after which he would turn to me and wink and say ” she wants me” . I was spared further details of his exploits but this remarkable gem of the human species has many more qualities , one of which that profoundly affected me was a direct hotline to the founding fathers. He must have had telepathic communion with the founding fathers in their after life to project the kind of confidence that he showed. For a while I was baffled and convinced that there was a ouija board.
Lest you believe that I come up with random hypothesis; what actually led me to this conclusion was a logical process that Sherlock Holmes would have approvingly nodded at . Whenever I asked him a question about his code , he would go into a deep trance akin to those wiccans that my ex wife spent so much time with . So I looked in vain , alas one of those unsolved mysteries that seem to surround me all the time . I marvel at these folks because most days , I barely know what I want , let alone try to figure out what men living 200 years ago would want me to do . Personally I do hold our founding fathers in the same vein as demi gods , some of the smartest people to walk the earth and I am grateful for their wisdom and foresight but nonetheless these are men who lived in a different zeitgeist , so how they could have predicted before the advent of all the magical things that we have today is a mystery to me . As in the case of these magical creatures living amongst us with a direct telepathic hotline through the land of the dead to our founding fathers , they simply amaze me . But my epiphany is far simpler. It is also more tasty , increases productivity and generally invigorating , so much so that one would not hesitate to call it the temporary fountain of youth.
I was informed recently by a mind no less than P.G.Wodehouse that while the duty of the chronicler is to inform , he must go to great lengths to ensure that the reader is never left in suspense for too long. So it is with a tinge of nervousness that I am proceeding down this route . I promise not to hold you in suspense for so long , the duty of a chronicler is that one should lay his groundwork well before he sets out on his argument . After all ,confusion is poison to the mind . We are an extremely inventive species . We have created various processes of brewing different forms of alcoholic beverages .For example Beer is made by malting barley . Malting is just a fancy word invented by idle English professors to increase the highly inefficient vocabulary of the English language. It means germinating the grain and then hot air drying using coke / coal or peat ( form of coal found in marshes and is highly inefficient to burn hence smoky) . This is then fermented using yeast and later filtered .It is an well known secret that sprouting grains increases the nutritive value of foods , so much so that we have a store chain called Sprouts which seeks to anchor this idea in our minds every time we go grocery shopping . Another well known idea is that fermentation greatly increases the nutritional value of foods as well , and indeed one need look no further than yogurt , idlis , tempeh , Kefir , Kombucha , Kimchi , Sauerkraut to verify the truth of the same . So what we have here is a super mixture of sprouty fermented goodness to start with . At this point , this super nourishing mixture is filtered and hops are added to provide some spice and a natural preservative and voila , we have beer , a highly concentrated form of organic goodness in a bottle . If that is not nutrition on the go , I dont know what is . Indeed Mothers looking for providing quick , natural and easy nourishment to their young need look no further than the familiar 6 pack in the grocery store. Grapes follow a somehow simpler route .They are just mashed but in this case it makes for a even greater compelling argument because no less a distinguished figure than the Surgeon General insists that we take in 5 servings of fruit a day. Even a confirmed fruit lover like myself loses that struggle daily , can you imagine having to eat 5 water melons every single day? I tried that and spent so time in the bathroom but I digress . Crushed grapes are fermented thereby increasing their nutritional value multi fold again and filtered to provide us with wine . And in this case , this has the additional benefit of having naturally occurring sugars , there by satisfying our natural craving for sugar. Indeed this might be a even better option for harried mothers looking for quick , easy and natural nutrition. Breast feeding mothers can pass on this nutritive storehouse in small quantities to their babies , a double win if ever there was one . Not only is this a nutritional powerhouse but it is a quick aid for restorative sleep , an argument so powerful that I doubt any new parent could find faults with this.
At this point if one decides to distill the beer mixture to concentrate this nutrition , one gets whisky or moonshine or ever clear . This is then aged in Oak barrels for umpteen years to remove the acerbic taste and give it a pleasant tang . Grapes follow the same fate to wine and then distilled to Brandy , potatoes to Vodka , corn to sour mash and so on . For reasons of sanity , I have ignored those magical processes where corn is actually turned into Bourbon in Kentucky , grapes turn themselves into Armagnac in the Armagnac province of France or cognac if it finds itself in the Cognac province of France where as in the rest of the world the fickle grape is content to be just ordinary brandy . I will call out to corn here ,Corn is particularly interesting because it is generally considered to be indigestible , so it is a miracle that we have even perfected a process of secreting concentrated nutrition out of indigestible corn .
Indeed in my humble opinion, these distillation processes are merely a way to save on space while concentrating all the nutritious goodness in a smaller package .We were told by the first law of thermodynamics that the amount of energy in the universe stays constant . By this highly revered and respected theory, it is obviously evident that what we have here is an enormously effective way of concentrating the energy content of a large amount of grain into a small amount of alcohol so goes to reason that the nutritive value of alcohol in terms of energy is astronomically high . Indeed it is so high that it provides jolts of instant nourishment for the soul and the brain . The cells in the brain used to the normal reticent and reluctant energy in grain becomes unusually lubricated by this sudden abundance and normally reticent men are known to burst in song after a couple of swigs of this delightful nutritious stuff.
Not too long ago , I was in a bar devouring a BLT . This was no ordinary BLT but the kind that stays with you. Indeed It was so memorable that I can see myself telling my grandchildren and all posterity so that we could all marvel together at it’s fine qualities and lip smacking goodness. But my worshipful reverie was interrupted by the picture of this young man who was quietly sipping cranberry juice . His was the kind of unhappiness that sours everything that is good in a place and it lost no time in creeping in on my scrumptious fare and while one generally prefers to mind their own business and devour the splendor that God wants us to, in this case I decided to make an exception in the light of bonhomie and helping a fellow human in seemingly acute distress. I sidled up to him and greeted him
“Hi bro” , I said
“Ho ” , he jumped up like a cat that was lost in existential reverie suddenly confronted by the neighboring pit bull.
“Everything OK?” , I ignored the transition of panic to annoyance followed by disinterest. The transition was so masterful and quick that it would have turned most werewolves green with envy and even kick started a transition Olympics among them .
“Yes , everything is fine” . The tone told me to mind my own business , I wanted to punch the tone but things being what they are, I merely ignored it and continued on my altruistic struggle to better the sour mood of my fellow man.
“Why the sour face?” , he glared at me and looked away .
I am normally a reticent man who can take a hint so I did but I kept a close eye on him, pretty soon the reason was his acute depression was clear to me. It was in the form of a beautiful petite red head who seemed to be the life of the party two tables down.
Always the altruist , I promptly poured a shot of my vodka into his cranberry juice while his attention was still captivated by the bewitching red head.
The effect that it had seemed to perk him up . If an English longbow archer from the fields of Agincourt had happened to pass by, he would have recognized the effect as similar to that of his longbow . My pensive friend no longer seemed pensive, a light had come upon him. He knew that the world was for his taking , I imagine that he felt the same about the redhead , walked up to her and asked to dance with her. There was no dance floor but I cannot imagine that a normal happy go lucky girl would not be flattered by the attentions of so original a mind . Alas duty called me away so I had to leave before the credits rolled in and I got to see the young couple living happily ever after.
But I could not but reflect on the merits of this empowering and nutritious life giving fluids. I had seen a shy man who could barely look at a girl and the miracle of a small snifter had him leaping tall buildings in a single leap.
If the aforementioned psychic telepaths had lived in the 20s , they would known instantly that our founding fathers loved this fine tipple and we could have happily avoided the disastrous experiment known as Prohibition which caused no end of misery to all sorts of gentle folk including Al Capone (who was so sensitive that he would cry at operas) .