salubrious.

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Salubrious: Favorable to or promoting health (for the record, WordBowl is all about the health)

salubrious

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 “Salubrious” comes courtesy of Warren Bobrow, aka the cocktail whisperer and, fittingly, the author of (among other lauded tomes)   Apothecary Cocktails Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and TodayHe can be found @WarrenBobrow1

Photo: Buzzfeed

Photo: Buzzfeed

Morning ritual, double espresso with a sidecar shot of Fernet Branca, a combination my Italian bosses assured was a most balanced breakfast: Fernet to settle the stomach, espresso to jumpstart the brain. It was my post-collegiate job, the stopgap job to cover rent while stuck in the interview loop for the dream job newly minted graduates presume awaits, I assumed all sophisticated big-city grown-ups — unlike my parents, or those of the kids I babysat in high school — kicked off their professional days in some analogous spirit, an unspoken rite of passage into the secreted world of professional adulthood.

IMG_2813

This is what greets you at      The Happiest Hour

Rude awakening, my first magazine job, expected to fetch and pay for my own Americano, and no restorative amaro in sight. Not that a little alcohol was foreign to this work environment, either. Our tight-knit crew — in the time honored tradition of journalism melding with the emerging ethos of tech startups — decamped from office to bar, debating the fates of technologies and companies spotlighted in our pages, or arguing over sales tactics or angling for attention from higher-ups at the competing publications we consorted with after hours in a succession of favored watering holes who courted us with complimentary shots but unfailing failed to fill our water glasses. Mornings, we were left to our own devices, groping through the ritualistic San Francisco fog, attempting to placate our churning stomachs with socially acceptable foodstuffs, deadening bagels slathered with spread, chocolate muffins, egg-and-cheese sandwiches. Breakfast breads thudding in our guts like daily dread.

Although I admittedly had an affinity for all things Italianate after spending my fifteenth birthday getting drunk with a monk en route to Rome, my first immersion into cultures not my own, I suspected the Italians were on to something with their appreciation for the inherent powers of food, beverages to heal, nourish with none of the associated guilts.

HappyHappyJoyJoy

HappyHappyJoyJoy

My own dietary habits distinctly American, shaped by 1970s childhood convenience foods, uniformly-sized Bird’s Eye vegetables, Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks, Pillsbury biscuits popped out of a refrigerated tube. Upon turning teen, I graduated to my mother’s diet of skinless chicken breasts and Fresca, SlimFast shakes and grapefruit, sugar free gum to stave off food cravings. Years of mother-daughter trips to sneeze-guarded fast food salad bars for insipid vegetables we drowned in Ranch dressing and sprinkled with cheddar cheese confetti as we congratulated ourselves for passing on French fries, weeks of cabbage soup and liquid fasts interspersed with Pizza Hut and Girl Scout cookie binges, a cycle as predictable as the seasons.

A Bloody Mary makes any hour happy...

A Bloody Mary makes any hour happy…

“Healthy” equated with substances consumed, a state to attain, a moral badge of courage. Something to be soldiered through. Clever corporations divorced “health” and “diet” from their original meanings, leaving a national trail of bitterness and regret in their wake, marketed foodstuffs to ameliorate the pain. Dazzling scientific breakthroughs — we can have our cake and eat it too! — SweetnLow-Aspertame-Stevia, Tab-DietCoke-CokeZero, Snackwells, Lite Beer. When it comes to diet, even the most fervent religious practioners ascribe to science as salvation. Science, who would deliver us from moderation.

Coffee + Amaro = Amor y Amargo

Coffee + Amaro = Amor y Amargo

I grew up, the years sped by, our Information Age boomed, insatiable. Nutritional science — once the domain of prim HomeEc teachers — conscripted by Big Food, Pharma and co-opted by telegenic physicians, lifestyle gurus. Every day, hour, breathless news cycle, another pundit, talking head touting the latest controversial findings — controversy, the Holy Grail of Clicks — the magic bullet of health (re: thin, beautiful) or it’s second cousin, longevity. Breakfast, the most important meal of the day, or not, the contradictory research persuasive enough to support an individual’s preference. Coffee, red wine, salt — Himalayan Pink, specifically — re-labled, fat-free falls from fashion. Bullet Coffee! Cold Press Juice Fasts! Goji Berries! ChiaSeedsTigerNutsCoconutOil. The incredible, edible egg.

Data whiplash.

A sneaking, subversive suspicion snaking through overwrought brains: our grandparents might have had it right all along. Know where the food comes from (better yet, know who grows it). Eat your vegetables (preferably, in season). Indulge in moderation. Take a brisk walk, allow a moment of meditation or giving grace. And raise a toast, with loved ones, in celebration of this one life we have to savor.

Whipsawed by the fickle East Coast weather this “spring”, I ducked into The Happiest Hour (west village, nyc) to scribble notes for this “salubrious” story. And what a happy hour it was! Familiar cocktails with unexpected (yet accessible) twists, AND complimentary French fries to rival the McDonald’s of my youth. Scrumpdillyicious. 

Crafting this piece took several tries (some days, the muse plays coy), so I popped into Amor y Amargo (east village, nyc) for a taste of inspiration during their weekends-only Double Buzz (coffee cocktails, genius) for an iced-coffee and Amaro pairing. Breakfast of Champions, my friends.  

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agnostic.

Today’s provocative WordBowl word suggested by the blogger known as “callmemisschiq” who’s philosophical ruminations can be found on:

“Ponderings and Green Tea” 

agnosticMy parents instructed me in the matter of sex — I was, by this time, twelve and schoolyard-schooled in the subject — by presenting a book entitled “Chastity, Morality & Young People”, penned by a priest. My father avoided my eyes as he urmhurmmhummed to talk with my mother (her gaze averted, picking at my floral bedspread) if I had any questions.

Which, upon reading, I did.

The book opened with a tale of two teenagers “necking” in a parked car, who died of asphyxiation.

Question:

Could they not crack a window?

And:

What credentials did this priest bring to the table?

BURLINGTON (a winter-perfect pairing of bourbon & calvados) at Wise Men

Cocktail inspiration at Wise Men

Intuiting such questions should be kept to myself, I assured my parents I understood everything, which they accepted based on my proven reading-comprehension skills and their desire not to discuss such things.

The message was clear, sex a particularly egregious Catholic sin, like drinking and dancing for Baptists. My Jewish friends, without the twin pressures of heaven and hell, had no such equivalent.

I absorbed the lesson: intercourse was forbidden.

Alcohol, on the other hand, the drinking of, was not a sin. The first Biblically-recorded miracle was the changing of water into wine, and wine was served during Communion, yes, transmuted into the Blood of Christ, but it still tasted like wine no matter how fervently anyone believed.

Kamakura Coffee fueling rewrite

Kamakura Coffee fueling rewrite

Weekend entertainment options in a Southern town, limited. Fall Friday football games replaced by baseball in the Spring, so we lived in our cars cruising for rumored house parties, bonfires, keggers. All of us — Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, the outlying Pentecostals and the lone Lutheran congregation — eligible for driver’s permits at 14, driver’s licenses at 15. The drinking age for wine and beer was 18. Hard liquor, 21. Everyone knew someone who knew someone who knew a “cool” adult. You do the math, it all adds up to cars and booze. And necking. Momentary couples making out to their inevitable Monday mortification.

Perhaps the priest-author of “Chastity, Morality and Young People” was on to something after all.

Those of us who survived Catholic School wondered at the characterization of nuns as the Handmaidens of God, Brides of Christ,  help-maids of the priests to whom they deferred even as they terrorized us. While Fathers and Monsignors generally jovial, the nuns ruled with steely resolve born of righteousness, or perhaps a need to prove their worthiness.

CATHOLIC GUILT cocktail (yes, really) at Highlands

CATHOLIC GUILT cocktail (yes, really)

We girls came to understand we were responsible not just for ourselves, but the boys, too, the morality of the world resting on our soft shoulders. Imperative we wield “no” with a firm hand, as boys — indeed, all males — could not help themselves. Only we girls held the power to save them from eternal damnation. Or garden-variety sin.

This was the first we heard of our power. We had been raised to think of ourselves as delicate creatures, as prone to blemish as Magnolia blossoms. This call-to-arms, this exhortation to tap virgin reserves of inner-strength, a bit bewildering, beguiling.

What other powers might we possess?

“agnostic” required a first handwriting attempt at Wise Men — a Bowery bar owned by three female comrades in cocktail arms (although entirely populated by men the night i was writing). 

Secondary handwriting with a “Catholic Guilt” cocktail at Scottish gastropub Highlands (west village). 

Editing fuel provided by the in-house roasters at Kamakura Coffee (east village). 

Want to play? Drop a word into WordBowl here: 

spermaceti.

B&WspermWord-of-the-Day “spermaceti” (waxy substance produced by the sperm wale, present in a round organ in the head where it focuses acoustic signals and aids in the control of buoyancy) submitted by the always-inspirational, razor-sharp, vegan culinary whiz  Cristina B. 

Clinging to summer with a glass of rose (Grape & Vine)

Clinging to summer with a glass of rose (Grape & Vine)

Shock of water against winter insulated skin, memories of childhood swimming pools rush to surface, distortion of time/space continuum, suspended, weightless, until the slap-push-splat-smack eases into pull-slice-crawl and he is reoriented to where he is, body in water, lane, lap pool, pricey healthclub, the kind he once derided (smoothie bar, childcare) but for which he is now grateful.

Dude splashes into the lane next to him, aggressive Butterfly. Show-off. Douchebag doesn’t know how to pace, all pyrotechnics, will burn out in a few explosive laps. He swam fly in college, flew. Now it’s all about the pacing.

And duration. He swims a mile twice a week, the words he dreads, a mantra in his head, syncopating with each stroke, theclientwantstogoinanotherdirection

In the entirety of his illustrious career, “the client” has never expressed any desire to veer from his directed direction. Only a matter of time. No commercial director has a perfect track record.

skylight, jade hotel, greenwich village

skylight, jade hotel, greenwich village

Lap swimming, the repetition is the killer, aquatic hamster wheel. He shouldn’t think about hamsters, his daughter took the death of the classroom pet very, very hard. Repetition, an exercise in mental stamina. His shoulder tweaks, center of gravity cantilevers, near collision with Show-off, swallow of chlorinated water, he will not choke.  He will best the douchebag.

Song snippet earworm, wormholes into his head. His signature, his unparalleled ability dredge up the exact musical moment to knit the piece together, nail the emotional resonance the client is so desperate to create.

Maestro of high-impact manufactured moments. Fifteen or thirty seconds of exquisitely produced emotion. He has a shelf full of light-refracting awards in homage to this talent. Somehow his agent is incapable of parlaying the glitter into a feature film deal. Somehow there is lingering doubt as to whether he has ability to sustain stories beyond the thirty-second mark, the stamina for 90 – 110 minutes of narrative bullshit.

Is that a whaling ship over the bar at Preserve24?

Is that a whaling ship over the bar at Preserve24?

They don’t realize his capacity for bullshit is endless.

He takes trips to the Other Coast for endless rounds of almost-deals, dinners with B-list celebrities at which he invariably drinks too much, which requires availing himself of as many complimentary First Class Bloody Mary’s as he can swill on the return flight, rending him surly and dehydrated, in no mood for the avalanche of text messages as plane hits tarmac. Snippy exchanges escalating into near nuclear with his too-knowing wife, who greets his return with resentment. As though he should do more, or less. As though he is in possession of some magical key to the universe, refuses to wield it out of spite.

But when he arrives, when the elevator opens and his girl bounds towards him, giggles and shouts daddy’s-home-daddy’s-home, it all falls away. He scoops her into his arms, holds her aloft, for a brief moment they are both buoyant.

 And that is it, what he wants to illuminate, capture for the new spot: the bright eyes of a girl he has yet to disappoint, unadulterated adoration.

A buoy for the drowning man to grasp.

Hoping for caffeinated mojo (mojo cafe)

Hoping for caffeinated mojo (mojo cafe)

“spermaceti” handwritten at Grape & Vine with what appeared to be the last glass of summer rose at the Jade Hotel (greenwich village, nyc) with a second pass in the company of an Aviation cocktail at Preserve24 (lower east side, nyc). Edited with a potent Americano at Mojo Coffee (west village, nyc). 

What’s YOUR WordBowl word? Looking forward to your suggestion! 

etouffée.

WordBowl Word-of-the-Day “etouffée” courtesy of Louisiana Kitchen & Culture Founder & Publisher Susan Ford

Crawfish Etouffee Photo: Louisiana Kitchen & Culture

Crawfish Etouffee Photo: Louisiana Kitchen & Culture

I dream of po’ boys, flash-fried oysters mashed between toothsome crisp-crusted French Bread, an un-replicable unctuous bite. Muffulettas oozing oil and olives. Beignets smothered in powdered sugar snowdrifts.

"Double Buzz" at Amor y Amargo — weekend-only coffee+cocktail alchemy

“Double Buzz” at Amor y Amargo — weekend-only coffee+cocktail alchemy

The luscious, lyrical meals of my childhood — flour-roux gumbos, Jambalayas, fried soft shell crabs, Black Bottom Pie —forbidden foods as an adult with wheat allergies.

New Orleans and the surrounding areas, my father’s ancestral home, redolent of seafood seawater and slow-simmered spices, where supper plans were hatched over breakfast. Our family visits, after Grandmother Marie passed, centered around meals with my father’s brother Uncle Johnny, Aunt Susie, our five much older cousins.

My father’s eight-years-older brother, Uncle Johnny, was once signed to Detroit, injured in his first pre-season Spring Training, returned to New Orleans without having played a professional ballgame, became a car salesman, dealership owner, Chrysler company man. Everyone in the family drove a Chrysler — except for Great Aunt Dinky, proud owner of successive Mercedes sedans — my parents on the receiving end of Uncle Johnny’s showroom castoffs.

A talker, Uncle Johnny, as verbose as my father was quiet, sucking and jabbing his omnipresent cigarette to punctuate his point, of which he had a few, his wife alone possessed the power to quell his harangues. Aunt Susie, New Orleans native, grew up just blocks from Uncle Johnny and my father, but across the Maginot Line of another Parish, a Parish of the newly arrived, like her family, from Mexico.

imagesWhich explains how amidst the parade of crawfish, red beans and rice, shrimp remolade, hatbox-sized tins of Charles’ potato chips, there was, on any extended New Orleans visit, Taco Night.

Taco Night, Aunt Susie’s sisters joined us, simmering onions and tomatoes, frying soft corn tortillas until puffed crisp and shimmering with oil, peeling paper-skinned things resembling green tomatoes, what I later understood to be tomatillos, but not from my aunts or whatever you would call them, Aunts-in-Law — who spoke rapid-fire Spanish-Cajun-English, a cascade of words flowing fluid from one language to another — as an adult, I learned about “tomatillos” from a chef in San Francisco who specialized in nouvelle interpretations of regional cuisines.

MoonPie-1Aunt Susie and the Aunts-in-Law arranged heaping platters on the long low table with seating for twelve, extra chairs brought in from the garage or the formal dining room, family squeezed so tight elbows bumped, until a rhythm of raise-taco-lower taco-refill-taco-raise-taco was established with our immediate neighbors.  For my siblings and I, the presence of so much food, our portions unsupervised, was dizzying, we ate well past the point of full, and munched on chocolate and lemon Moon Pies afterwards, avoiding our packaged dessert-abstaining father’s silent stares.

Aunt Susie, Uncle Johnny and our cousins moved to Nashville (some Chrysler-opportunity), the end of such gatherings. Despite scattered siblings and cousins drifting back or towards our familial homeland, New Orleans meals henceforth held in hotels or restaurants, the merits of which are debated against the meals of our memories.

“etouffée” hand-scribbled during Amor y Amargo‘s weekends-only “Double Buzz” hand-crafted coffee & cocktail pairing event. My Great Aunt Dinky (who actually might be a great cousin, several times removed, but she’s always been an “aunt” to me) would approve. 

"Double Buzz" coffee + cocktail alchemy at Amor y Amargo

“Double Buzz” coffee + cocktail alchemy at Amor y Amargo

Do you have a favorite word? Send it along. I look forward to writing something for you!

lawlessness.

WordBowl Word of the Day LAWLESSNESS courtesy of Hogan Gorman

Actor. Activist. Author.

 www.HotCripple.com

Kicking off this "lawlessness" adventure with BATHROOM LAUGHTER at Mother's Ruin

Kicking off this “lawlessness” adventure with BATHROOM LAUGHTER at Mother’s Ruin

New Orleans, point of origin, cross-country road trip, three Southern chicks, U-Haul jammed: inherited furniture, dashed familial expectations, historical baggage. Westward Ho! Adventuring to, or escaping from. Early twenties, confident in the uniqueness of our private pains.

Night before, toasting, one of us toppled off a barstool, broken wrist. Lost a day: hospital, sympathy cocktails, final family fights, farewells.

First days, road-thrill, sloping scenery, states slipping past. Speeding ticket, hilarious, stopped by a cop, did not recognize us or our last names. Revel in anonymity, assume — still— our parents would fix it with the presiding judge, as was custom. Roadside motels, novelty, tacit understanding one of us lacked unlimited funds.

Vistas flattened, air staled, radio stations dissolved to static. Truck cab squeezed by thoughts not voiced and road trip accoutrements acquired. An ex-but-still-friends stop, local concert, return to a vehicle too tight to accommodate our accompanying hangovers and lingering resentment, petty grievances.

Hauled through Colorado, up to Aspen without benefit of snow gear, it was summer where we started. Missed connection, misplaced address. Costume change in the back of U-Haul, taking turns, naked among reminders of what we chose to leave. Drinks, to facilitate the Figuring Out of What to Do. New friends, the kind who Day Drink their way into the night. Our kind of folk. We stand on barstools, buy rounds of shots for the natives, to prove we come in peace.

Mezcal-based TERRIBLE LOVE at Death & Co.

Mezcal-based TERRIBLE LOVE at Death & Co.

Party swells, fast friends commandeering pool tables, cigarettes, recreational party favors on our behalf. The friends-of-friends, Southern trust fund ski bums who agreed to accommodate us for the night, finally found, join the fray.

Night speeds, accelerates, swerves. Flirtations ignited, flamed out. Cards and cash tossed like cocktail napkins. Cotton shoved up a nose, no more hospitals this trip, soldier on. Hunter S. Thompson jokes, comparisons, we wore our Fear and Loathing with pride. We did not know we had gone too far until we arrived, wild-eyed, to the point of no return.

Morning, murderous, miraculous. Rode road, veered towards Utah, roadside emergency pee, another car, soldier returning from a war we watched on television, sly smoke offer, turns taking puffs. Drove through Moab, gaped at red rocks, slack-jawed, cotton-mouthed, questing for beer in a dry county. Squeaked through Nevada City, hit hotel slots, won twenty bucks.

COCKPIT OF PEACE at The Beagle (originally found in the classic 1947 tome "Barflies & Cocktails"

COCKPIT OF PEACE at The Beagle (originally found in the classic 1947 tome “Barflies & Cocktails”

Conversation deserted. Desperate for fresh clothes, fresh audiences, we high-tailed, two of us taking turns at the wheel, the cramped middle, not glaring at the one relieved of responsibility, sleeping against window, blond hair fanning her cast.

Abandoned U-Haul illegal, clinging to a hill, tickets tossed, we did not yet possess California licenses. Furniture and luggage left to languish as we danced, dove, drank. Tow-threatened, truck emptied at last, possessions scrambled, never rectified.

Told tales of this trip to strangers, never with each other.

We scattered. One scrabbled the globe, self-discovery, marriage, children. Another catapulted to career heights. Only one of us hit jail, momentary, before settling. All returned to respectability.

But underneath, lurking, reckless possibility.

As you might surmise, the writing of “lawlessness” required a cocktail road trip of sorts:

 BATHROOM LAUGHTER at Mother’s Ruin (nolita, nyc)

TERRIBLE LOVE at Death & Co. (east village, nyc)

THE COCKPIT OF PEACE at The Beagle (east village, nyc)

Do you have a favorite word? Send it along!

popliteal.

WordBowl Word-of-the-Day “popliteal” submitted by Norman B.

aka Flowbee-wan-Kenobi

Happiest of Happy Hours, handwriting at 151 Clinton

Happiest of Happy Hours, handwriting at 151 Rivington

Pop always says, if you aren’t signed by nineteen, you aren’t playing in the majors, son.

The physical ease of his early years performing instinctual feats of athleticism for clusters of scouts, scrambling from squat to throw without thought of his body. Now he catalogues, categorizes various parts — shoulder, wrist, knee, lower back — testing their reactions to minute adjustment. Analyzing in the hours between the time he wakes, clammy, and the morning alarm.

His nineteenth birthday is in three weeks. Less. Two weeks, six days.

photo credit: unkown

photo credit: unkown

He prays — at night, upon waking, before meals — for a minor league contract, modest signing bonus, something he can put into real estate, invest in his future. His future no longer shaping up to be televised games, championships, endorsement deals, All-Stars, autographing balls for wide-eyed boys shoved forward by their beaming fathers.

His preternatural — their word, bandied about so often he, they, all believed —early and high school promise giving way to an injury-riddled college career. Slow slide. His name, when — if— mentioned, is in voices shaded with regret.

No matter how many times he replays it — on screens, in his head — he has yet to pinpoint what he did, the moment before his knee popped. Which is crazy, when his shoulder tore he knew as he threw his angle was wrong, an off-kilter catch he failed to optimal-adjust in his determination to shut down the attempted steal. Won that battle, may have lost the war.

BARREL-AGED ILLEGAL JOVEN NEGRONI, Happy Hour, Ward III

BARREL-AGED ILLEGAL JOVEN NEGRONI, Happy Hour, Ward III

Pop always says, you gotta watch the injuries, folks don’t like to buy used cars.

Shoulder surgery a bitch to bounce back from, but they did it, he and his team of professional caregivers. Returned performing beyond expectations. Naysayers silenced. Preternatural whispered, no longer “bandied”, but he was willing to traffic in whispers, ride The Comeback Kid narrative.

A used-goods made-good shoulder one thing, a catcher with an unreliable wrist and a blown-out knee on top of an unexpected recovery — facing facts, unlike his parents — he is no longer scout bait.

He may not be a ball player. Not after this season.

Guggenheim Cafe

Guggenheim Cafe

Caught a ball bare-handed before he walked, his parents crowed, family legend. He has never not had a game, practice, tournament. Smelled of anything other than Ben Gay. Been anything other than a special talent.

He flexes his foot, winces at the tinge behind his knee. Touches the spot, the non-functioning hinge upon which all is hinged. Tests the patella-tracking trajectory. Checks the time, still hours before his orthopedist appointment.

What happens when you are no longer good at the thing at which you are (were) best? He has never been interested in much of anything besides baseball. Lincoln Logs, when he was young, he built fantastic forts. Maybe he can go into construction.

No one to confide in, he must project an aura of confidence. If he doubts, they all doubt. They do doubt, but still hold hope for their doubts to be dissuaded.

In the Business of Baseball, a staunch belief in miracles.

He checks the clock, again, recalculates. Two weeks, five days, twenty-two hours, thirty-six minutes.

This genesis of this post written during an impromptu Happy Hour visit to Ward III (tribeca), continued at what was STILL Happy Hour(s) at 151 Rivington (les), edited over an Americano at the Guggenheim Cafe (upper east) 

Do you have a favorite word? Fill in the info below to play WordBowl. I look forward to writing something inspired by your word….

apocryphal.

WordBowl Word-of-the-Day courtesy of Raul A., red carpet couturist, face of FIT, KingofBingo collaborator

apocryphal

SLEEPING CAR II at Orient Express

SLEEPING CAR II at Orient Express

I am a recovering Catholic.

Our family grew up Super Catholic (“Real Catholic”, according to my parents). Catholic School, Scriptural Rosary, Luades and Vespers — morning and evening prayers, chanted in Latin —Meatless Fridays.

My parents disavowed Vatican II, blue jeans worn to Mass, the acoustic guitar strumming parish priest exhorting through song to “bloom where you are planted.” If there was no biblical verse to support Our Father’s dictums, he had scriptural passages at the ready from other texts, the Baltimore Catechism cannon.

The Catholic Church, apparently, was not Catholic enough for Our Father.

He spoke of Lourdes, of Fatima, of reputed miracles in far-flung, impoverished places, as if to reinforce the spiritual poverty of our over-capitalized nation. Numerous references to the Fall of Rome. The End of Days nigh.

images-1Which explains — somewhat— how I celebrated my fifteenth birthday on a flight from Toronto to Rome, drunk with a monk.

My monk — celebrating fifty years of monk-dom — chaperone for a Catholic Youth Tour, bound for two weeks in Italy. The trip a great financial sacrifice on my parent’s part, hoping to fill their teenage cheerleader daughter with the Holy Spirit, imparted by the Vatican itself.

The stewardess brought us a complimentary bottle of Blue Nun.

Our group pilgrimaged to Assisi, paid homage to the incorrupt body of St. Bernadette, a Carmelite Sleeping Beauty. Celebrated Mass in a basilica housing the Holy House of Loreto, the humble abode where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, which through divine intervention flew intact from Palestine to Rome. Met Brother Gino who reputedly suffered the Stigmata, his hands bound in rough cloth.

Stories, like those commemorated in my Map of the Land of Make Believe, complete with Happily Ever After, provided one hews to the Ten Commandments and the thousands of lesser moral commands.

Stories, institutionalized. Mythologized.

apoc2 Grade school history classes in Mississippi, we reviewed the Pilgrims’ Mayflower journey and tribulations born by the first colonists, touched upon the American Revolution, dove deep into The War of Northern Aggression for many months, rushed through World War1WorldWarII the final weeks of the academic year.

The grip of story, no matter the source, spoken with enough force. No longer merely the purview of the winners, present history is written by the shrill.

As real as Al Gore creating the Internet. Sarah Palin’s Facebook status screeds.

The personal tales we hear, tell. The married or otherwise encoupled who did — really, really — meet on MatchOKCupideHarmony. Or met cute in a bar. The guy or gal who chucked it all — high-powered career, trappings of success, debauched lifestyle — for a simpler life in a small town/remote ranch/quaint village, discovered a previously untapped aptitude, manifested their authentic self, found true love.

Origin Myths.

These stories, for the listener, for the teller, goals to aspire to, windmills to tilt towards, the Best of Times, the Worst of Times. These stories, they become legend and legion, they codify and solidify, become emblems, totems, symbols.

They define Us, Them, I, You, We.

This story was (hand)written at Orient Express (west village, nyc) and edited/uploaded at the Apple store (meatpacking district, nyc) because I left my charger at home, ran out of juice.

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