Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Failure of the Day: Stoli and Soda, Lots of Ice

I have that strange gauzy feeling in my head like after you are up all night on LSD and you are sleepy but your teeth are still numb and you need to talk. Or perhaps I just have a hangover. I don’t know; I’ve never had one before.

I decided that come hell or high water, I was drinking alcohol at the reunion. Now, everyone who knows me knows that I have trying to learn to drink for 25 years to no avail. It tastes horrible and I hate it. I have always tried to disguise the taste of the liquor by mixing it with something sweet, fruit juice or Collins mix. But those drinks taste like something good with something foul lurking in it, and I usually give up after like 3 sips.

After the ’89 earthquake (I mean about 20 minutes after it), through a convoluted set of circumstances, I found myself in possession of a vodka and mineral water, which, because I was plenty freaked out, I drank very quickly. It didn’t taste good but I drank it anyway. It occurred me some 15 years later (i.e. last weekend) that what I had done with that drink was to mix the liquor with something I also don’t like. Instead of trying to make the drink taste good, I had just made it taste different.


I began formulating a drink order that would put this idea into practice and also not out me as the world’s oldest booze rookie. I know from cocktailing that Stoli is the abbreviation of a very respectable brand of vodka that I don’t feel like looking up how to spell just now. I know I wanted to mix it with carbonated water so I did some research on the Internet (I’m not kidding) and learned that the proper name for the drink I wanted was Vodka and Soda. I also knew that I wanted it with ice but I wasn’t sure if this particular cocktail came over ice, like, by default, or whether specifying “on the rocks” would reveal my amateur status. But by specifying “lots of ice” I could guarantee ice and look like I had ordered this drink before and been unhappy with the amount of ice in it. Yes, my friends, I am a genius.

I practiced on Chris on all Saturday morning. I saddled up to the kitchen counter and said in a loud, clear voice “Stoli and Soda, lots of ice!” I was ready. All that was left was to see if I could actually drink the thing without making that horrible face liquor usually makes me make.

I will write about the reunion itself soon. For now, though, you should know that from 5:30 PM until midnight on Saturday, I drank no fewer than FIVE Stoli and Sodas, and every one of them was chock full of ice. They were not delicious. They were, however, the one thing very, very few alcoholic beverages have ever been: in my stomach.


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