Essay to Read

Check out this H.L. Mencken essay on drinking: “But what is reliable stuff? What is the thing to drink, specifically? I go back to my Rule No. 1. The better thing to drink, whenever there is a choice, is the milder thing. Wine is better than a highball, a highball is better than a cocktail, and a cocktail is better than hard liquor taken straight.” Agree or disagree? I love Mencken as much as the next armchair academic, but I must voice my dissent.

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Entr’acte

Late nights at the arts center, hugging the geometric curves of sleek cinder block corridors of its bowels, have kept me from prowling the streets and my memories in search of the next rocks pour. So I carry the next shot in my purse, a leather flask tippled in parking garages. Soon, I will slouch back to Merry Ann’s or go visit my old friend the Pittsfield, perhaps?

Cavanaugh’s

I’ve enjoyed a whiskey in so many places– I can usually map an area by the whiskeys I’ve consumed and whether or not a rocks pour counted extra. There are few times in life when a neat pour is acceptable.

Cavanaughs

Cavanaugh’s existed nestled in an alley and in the basement of the historic Monadnock Building, about two blocks from my old job. I preferred Elephant and Castle for lunch breaks, to down a couple and eat greasy fried pretzels before trudging in the snow back to my prison. But Monadnock was reserved for after 5, for days when I had twenty minutes to burn and no martinis to look forward to. A place wherein it is only acceptable to enter in a trench coat and rub one’s five o’clock shadow with chagrin before sipping. That warm wood bar so welcoming, that basement vibe so cozy. Too bad it was ruined by grating modern music and bar mistresses lacking the requisite cynicism.

There’s a sadness in those bare ice cubes, how out of place they are without the whiskey, how out of place I was sitting there. Yet I am comfortable alone at a bar. It is the most comfortable, to be quite honest. I had a slow burn romance with the wooden bar, with a place for my elbows and place for my whiskey to reside without shame, between cupped hands.

I pretend I’m an editor or a publisher on Printer’s Row, circa 1935.