Funny Stories About Alcohol

I just discovered an interesting new drink called Southern Comfort. This is a very busy week for me, so this new drink is a timely find. It tastes a bit like cough syrup but not even close to how much the Argentinean Fernet tastes of it. This reminds me of three funny alcohol-related stories I wanted to share with you.

Story 1.

My friend from Argentina always wanted to introduce me to her favorite Argentinean beverage. “Just wait till I bring real Fernet for you from Argentina!” she kept saying. “Then you will realize what good alcohol tastes like.”

After her trip back to Lujan, she asked me to her house and presented me with a bottle of Fernet.

“Oh, I’m so envious right now!” she said. “The experience of tasting Fernet for the very first time in one’s life is priceless.”

She opened the bottle and poured me a drink. I tasted it and gagged. It was the nastiest beverage I could have ever imagined.

“I’m sorry,” I told my friend. “I think they sold you a fake Fernet. Did you go to a licensed store to get it?”

“Really?” she asked. “This never happened to me before. Let me try it.”

My friend tasted the Fernet and gave me a look of a person whose most tender sentiments had been horribly insulted. “This is how real Fernet tastes. And it’s delicious.”

Nine years have passed since then, and I have a feeling she has almost forgiven me for that horrible faux pas. Almost.

Story 2.

In grad school, we were the hardest partying department in all of the Humanities. Our parties were legendary. Once, I arrived at one of our parties and discovered my male colleagues in a state of happy commotion. “We’ve been really lucky!” they announced. “We found some real aguardiente for our party. Aguardiente is so strong that very few people can drink it without dropping unconscious!”

As I observed my colleagues take small shots of this beverage, I realized it must have truly been a strong drink. After just one shot, each of my male colleagues would drop onto the floor and yell, “Oh my God! This is the strongest drink ever!” Within five minutes, they were acting extremely drunk. So, obviously, I also decided that I needed to try the aguardiente.

“Just take very small sips and breathe in before you do that,” warned me my colleagues who knew that I can’t drink undiluted hard liquor.

So I took a small sip of the aguardiente and felt nothing. Then I took a bigger sip and felt even less. I downed the entire shot glass of the beverage. It had a faint alcoholic taste but nothing more.

My colleagues were dumbfounded. They looked at me in horror.

“Wow,” one of them said. “These Russians really can drink. I’ve seen Latino peasants fall under the table after drinking this, and you seem completely sober.”

“Hey, everybody!” another colleague called out. “Come here! Clarissa will show you something amazing.”

Everybody gathered around me. I downed another shot and again felt very little.

“OK, give us back the bottle,” one of my colleagues said. “This aguardiente is wasted on you, Russians.”

After the bottle was finished, a quiet sober colleague picked it up and looked carefully at the label.

“Hey guys,” he said. “It says here that this isn’t real aguardiente. This is an aguardiente-based drink and its alcohol content is 5,5%.”

I’d never seen my macho colleagues look this embarrassed.

Story 3.

This story happened to my father when he was working on his dissertation. His thesis adviser lived in Russia, so my father had to travel to meet him. Once, when my father arrived at his adviser’s university, this kind old scholar took him to the university cafeteria for breakfast.

“So Michael,” the professor said. “How much should I order for you, 150 grams? Or let’s go all out and get 200 grams?”

My father was petrified. “I’m sorry, professor,” he said. “I don’t want to be bad company but I don’t drink alcohol for breakfast.”

“Good for you,” the professor responded. “I was just wondering how much sour-cream you wanted for your pancakes, but never mind.”

And which alcoholic beverages do you enjoy?

A Short Illustrated History of Clarissa’s Blog, Part I

I have been getting many great new readers recently, so I thought it would be a good idea to acquaint them with some of the important posts that marked this blog’s glorious journey.

The first thing I did as a blogger was to set down (in really horrible writing that was my defining characteristic at that time) my reasons for starting a blog. This was pretty much a conversation that I was having with myself in the absence of any readers.

Less than a month into blogging, I shared with my yet non-existent readers a secret that I’d been hiding even from my closest friends. I felt free to do that because I knew nobody was reading the blog anyways. šŸ™‚

In the first months of blogging, I had a regular feature that ridiculed Ross Douthat’s weekly columns in the New York Times. I eventually abandoned that seriesĀ becauseĀ Douthat is supremely repetitive. It was fun to laugh at him at the time, though.

And this is a post that got me banned from several blogging directories for spreading pornography. This post brought many readers who search for porn to my blog.

This post made me very famous and brought crowds of very irate folks to my blog just two months into my blogging career. Little did I know at that time that having crowds of irate consumers of weird identities will become a regular occurrence of my blogging life. Now I’m used to it but then it was a revelation. Because of this post, my blog’s obscurity only lasted a little over two months.

This early post on how to survive grad school still brings me regular grateful emails.

Yes, my writing style was very clumsy when I was a beginning blogger. This post, for example, still makes my husband laugh whenever he remembers it. I didn’t change the clumsy bits because I find that retroactive editing would be dishonest. I like to make fun of myself, too.

And with this post I became quoted on many film review websites. Which I never wanted because I’m a lousy film critic.

(To be continued. . .)

Children Take You Back to Your Childhood

I don’t know why this happens but whenever I write a post on a subject, I start finding material for more posts on the same subject. Right after I finished writing my most recent post, I alighted on an article on parenthood that offered the following insight:

Children give the first four years of your life back to you.

This is a very important statement not only because it’s true but also because it explains very neatly why many people are terrified of having children. The first three years of our lives are crucial in that they lay the foundation of our personalities and of all the issues that will plague us in adulthood until we address them actively. Seeing a small child brings back to many of us the feelings that we had at that child’s age and that we have successfully repressed. The more we were traumatized by our earliest experiences, the more intolerable the sight of a small child will be. It’s one thing when the child in question is somebody else’s. Then, the anxiety can be dealt with, at least to a degree. However, seeing a child who is one’s own makes it difficult not to imagine it as a continuation of oneself, which makes one relive the traumatic early childhood experiences.

A Little More on Paternity and Child Support

I just found the following on Danny’s blog:

Pedro Soto was paying support (and spending time with) for his son Aaron with no thought that the they were not biologically linked. It turned out that Aaron was actually biologically linked to Francisco Serrano, the man that the mother of the child, Maricela Guerrero, was partnered with. Now in a case like this one would think that if Pedro is not the biological father it would make sense to terminate the order for him to continue paying child support right? Wrong.

“[T]he Department concedes that Francisco Serrano, not Petitioner [Pedro Soto], is the real father of Aaron Soto, but insists that due to the passage of time the injustice of Petitioner paying child support for a child that is living with, and being supported by his real father, should be extended at least another five years until Aaron reaches eighteen and finishes high school.”

Such decisions not only undermine one’s faith in the capacity of the justice system to make fair rulings in child support cases, it also further erodes the value and prestige of fatherhood. I don’t think anybody will disagree that fatherhood is not valued as highly as motherhood in our society. Court rulings like this one perpetuate the notion that the father doesn’t matter and any male passerby can fulfill his role. As long as he is capable of paying money, of course. It is highly hypocritical to make or support such rulings and then act surprised that fathers abandon their children easily or don’t participate actively in their care.

I agree with most of what Danny has to say about the case in his post, except the following:

Why should the passage of time even matter in a situation whereĀ the wrong manĀ is being held responsible for payments andĀ the right manĀ is actively in the child’s life (meaning that the “but its about making sure the child gets the support they need” excuse does not fly)? And even if that right man is not in the child’s life why not seek him out instead of sticking with the safe bet and holding up a man who is not the one that should be held responsible?

It should not matter in the least whether the biological parent can be located or is present in the child’s life. What matters is that a father is just as valuable and important for a child as a mother. A child is genetically 50% his or her mother and 50% his or her father. We can’t just catch some random schmuck, assign him to be the kid’s father by a court order, and expect fatherhood to retain even a shred of its meaning.

I think that most of my readers know that children’s rights are a very important topic for me. I have received a lot of criticism for my post about whether rape victims should pay child supportĀ becauseĀ I believe that the interests and rights of children should always supersede those of adults. This is why I find this court ruling abhorrent. Its blatant disregard for the value of fatherhood contributes to the image of fathers as being dispensable and interchangeable. This will end up hurting a great number of children.