The line between macho and third stage alcoholism may be a fine one, but here’s a true story: Two years ago I managed to break a carboy filled with dago red and I spent the rest of the afternoon not mopping it up, but sucking it up from the basement floor.
This is not to suggest that my descending colon is holier than thine (I imbibed through clenched teeth to avoid such an eventuality) but merely to say that real wine drinkers on a buzz-prowl don’t worry about two decades worth of rat droppings, waxy buildup or feet that have tracked in toxic chemicals from the garage.
When we drink wine, prone or upright, we do it with a sense of abandon, and if that occasionally requires that we abandon our health, our families and our jobs, it is a small enough price to pay:
We’re wine drinkers.
Enology’s Answer to Benghazi
Stories of arsenic in wine have made their requisite rounds recently, replayed ad nauseum (pun intended) by people bored with the Kardashians and unable to watch their neighbors drop dead of ebola because an ebola epidemic was never a threat to begin with. To them, the idea that cheap wines like Franzia, Mogen David and Almaden contain measurable levels of chemical element number 33 (which is the pet poison of most fictional murderers by the way, and thus, is literary) is less an excuse to panic than to brag that they are not in danger because they don’t drink such plonk.
And to them I say: You are not a real wine drinker.
You see, to real wine drinkers, there are many categories of wine: There are wines one drinks with panache, wines one drinks at Top of the Pontch, wines one drinks to get punch-drunk and wines one drinks in a balls-out, cupboard-is-bare pinch. All are equal under Bacchus and all are dependent on circumstance; thus, wines that contain substances incompatible with life may be reserved for—and are often indispensible to—special occasions such as signing do-not-resuscitate orders, Truth or Dare drinking games and performing as the ultimate Janis Joplin impersonator. And as ultimate Jimi Hendrix impersonators are fond of reminding us, you can choke to death as effectively on any wine, whether it contains arsenic or not.
One Man’s Mead is Another Man’s Poison
Thursday’s class-action lawsuit brought by a quartet of Californians merely puts a spotlight on the wussiness inherent in the worldview of modern wine consumers. Real wine drinkers owe a certain debt of gratitude to California, granted, but suing Mogen David because they use non-Kosher arsenic to poison customers?
That’s taking milktoast macholessness to the next level.
And in any case, when you actually read the report, we’re not talking much vino venom in the first place—around twenty parts per billion.
Let me break that number down for you: If only twenty men per billion exfoliated their skin, wore hair gel, got pedicures, gave a rat’s ass about fashion and whitened their teeth while sipping arsenic-free Moscato, there would not be much outcry about the emasculation of the American male, would there? In fact, the number of such tweety-birds is legion, and growing as aggressively as ebola virus in a Petri dish. And where is ground zero for male-targeted grooming products, washboard abs, chest shaving and suing people because there’s D-Con in the Dolcetto?
Again, with Cali-debt acknowledged, it ain’t one of the post-industrial apocalyptic flyover states where I live.
Allow me to dial the Wayback Machine to 1985 and the diethylene glycol ‘scare’ in which it was revealed that a number of Austrian winemakers had pumped up sweetness levels in their juice by using antifreeze. Although the result was the complete collapse of the Austrian wine industry, I am (as I may have mentioned) a real man, thus, I purchased 500 cases of said wine for a penny on the Euro. Not only can I store it in my walk-in freezer, I was also able to convince colleagues that it was a brand new Austrian classification known as Prëstonekat and sold it to them for a dollar on the Euro.
1st Annual Agatha Christie Wine Pairing Dinner
And I have done likewise with all the tainted Two Buck, the corrupted Cupcake, the polluted Pomelo and the festering Fetzer I could lay my hands on.
Now, I formally invite all you real men to attend my first annual Agatha Christie Wine Pairing Dinner, where we will match arsenic-blemished wine with savory courses made from foodstuffs that Environmental Protection Agency also says contain toxic contaminants: Brussels sprouts, kale, dark-meat fish, rice, chicken and Round-Up.
As for anyone else, I challenge the most effeminate, clean-shaven, Renault-driving, Alfani-Spectrum-Slim-Fit-dress-shirt-wearing metrosexual among you to deny that (although you may may turn your sculpted noses up at Almaden Heritage White Zinfandel) you in fact cream all over brussels sprouts and kale, and in a completely Biblical sense.
Again, to you I say: You only live once:
Bottom’s up, bitches.