I've always enjoyed adding a nice glass of Bordeaux to a fine meal and occasionally I'll indulge in a little late night cognac or brandy during the winter months, but for the most part, I tend to stick to coffee or ginger as my drinks of choice. Part of this has to do with my gradual change from being a "night person" to being a "morning person" and how I've learned, over the years, that it's not too fun to have a pounding headache all day long from being a bit excessive the night before. I do like to enjoy my occasional vices, of course, but it's more pleasurable for me to keep things in moderation. My days of howling at the moon have quieted a lot, and when I do howl now it probably sounds more like a squeak. And sometimes I don't even see the moon.
But there are some times when moderation takes a back seat. Or, as the saying goes:
"Moderation in all things, including moderation."
Game Seven of the World Series (when you're team hasn't won in over a century) strikes me as being one of those times.
I watched the game alone as I usually do, with my cell phone keeping me connected to all my friends who were watching and texting with me. As everybody knows by now, the game was impossibly exciting and unpredictable--my team seemed to have it locked up in the 8th inning, but then a wildly improbable, soul-crushing home run knotted the game up. Everybody I know was absolutely devastated and convinced we would lose again; it seemed cruel to be so close, once again, only to have the Curse continue to show it's impenetrable superiority.
And then, after that, the botched opportunity in the 9th, and then the rain delay, and suddenly I realized that my nerves were humming like a high-tension wire. I prescribed a medicinal snifter of 18-year old Scotch for myself at the time--I had purchased the bottle years ago and I remember thinking, then, that I'd save it for the right time. Well, clearly, this was it.
The Scotch soothed my troubled waters and then the fortunes of my team changed. After the delay, a rally in the 10th, and then that great, opposite-field shot to take the lead!
Absolute euphoria! From me and my friends and my phone beeped messages with exclamation marks for a full five minutes. A key insurance run, then, which brought on more crazy, happy texts, and then the excruciating final three outs to get the win. Of course, we had to give back a run--it's not supposed to be easy--but then came the slow-roller to third that eventually ended the game, the Series, the season, and the Curse.
My wife had gone to bed, but she had heard my howling and came down to see if I was exultant or destroyed. (I don't think she could tell by my inarticulate screaming.) When she saw me dancing around with a second glass of Scotch and a freshly-lit cigar, she knew the score. She gave me a kiss and a hug--she knew what this meant to me--and didn't even chide me for the voluminous cigar smoke (though she did open the window in my study.) The cigar I had had been in a humidor forever, probably as long as the Scotch--a good nine, ten years--and it was a tiny bit dry but still, it tasted sweet.
The rest of the night was a complete rehash of the game with my friends, and the phone calls lasted until the early morning. The second glass of Scotch turned into a third, and I smoked that beautiful Cuban cigar down to the nub. I knew I'd regret it in the morning, and, of course, I did--I was thick and sluggish and I called off work and didn't make it in until after noon. But it was all worth it; I was still euphoric.
...I figured, once every 108 years, this mouse deserves to squeak at the moon.
Until next week,