It always seemed senseless to me that wine afficionados spit after slurshing air though a mega-sip of wine. The slurshing--the sucking of air through a half-mouthful of wine--is something I used to get slapped for as a kid, and spitting afterward would warrant a television prohibition and room banishment.
What the hell is wrong with people? The theory of spitting is it keeps you from getting drunk, which is an insult to the gods of history and sloppy kissing. The theory of wine is drunkeness in varying degrees of decreasing sophistication just like the theory of beer is drunkenness of the spew on the floor order. If the alcohol high from wine was somehow magically removed leaving all the esthers and ketones and subtle legs and noses intact, people would eschew wine like painful leg boils.
God put substances here for a reason. We know what those reasons are. Pretending we don't doesn't make us innocent. (It makes us Robert Downey Jr. )
Any student of the sciences knows all the mathematical curves of action and result hold over finite intervals. They don't go on forever. Life is not math. And so the curve of the depth of your drunkness per glass consumed saturates at some point. Nobody knows how to measure how drunk you are between the time you swear your love for every human on the planet and the time you puke up that really bad cafeteria lunch you had in third grade. This is where God abandons the perpetrator. This is why hangovers were invented. These are the consequences your mother told you about. There are consequences to everything. Even coffee.
I got the new super cool espresso machine and I was going to be Mr. Starbucks in my own home.
There were only three adjustments on the thing but I'm a smart boy with multiple university degrees so I know the possible permutations of three things with three positions taken three at a time are something like twenty-seven, and it turns out if you toss away the stupid combinations on an espresso machine (where stupid means you're either drinking hot water or eating unground coffee beans) the space of possible outcomes is reduced to something like fifteen.
One tests an espresso machine by making espresso and judging the outcome. And a shot of espresso is eentzy weentzy by American standards. (Especially in Texas.) A sip of espresso is mouse nuts to a big bruising American football-playing lad such as me.
Around the ninth espresso I began to notice a twiching in my neck. By the twelveth I noticed I couldn't get my hand down off my neck when I reached back to investigate the twitching I was sure was caused by a venomous Colombian banana spider who'd injected me with his poison and that's why my legs were shaking and I was hearing the theme song from Captain Kangaroo.
You know there are bad times ahead when someone you live with does a double-take looking at you. People who live with you are used to seeing you in varying stages of uncomplimentary unpreparedness for life. Walking in on you when you're sitting on the toilet paging through Teen People magazine. Seeing you wake up with blobs of congealed matter in your eyes and a mouth full of armpit. When some bodily function of yours shocks them, it must involve amputation.
So you know there's bound to be pain involved when the first words out of their mouth are, "Oh my God. What happened to you?" and all you've been doing is making coffee.
The theory of coffee is creating miniature earthquakes with your heel diddling your leg up and down at the kitchen table while everyone else watches their spaghetti plate dance across the table like little black rubber football players on a vibrating metal field. The theory of coffee is to accellerate every molecule of the body by eight orders of magnitude so you become a beam of light and fly into the sun to merge with all known light beams and die.
What could be wrong? Had I gone into another dimension? Was I using rat poison instead of coffee in the grinder? Had there been schrapnel?
So I said to my dear wife, "Fuphrph," and was immediately cognizant my speech centers had been destroyed. More insistent to speak I forced the words, "Phyfe werze turestig dough chaiffe mosheeene."
My arm was getting cramped on my neck and I couldn't stop my legs from shaking so it seemed I was running in place.
"What? You invited Charlie Sheen for dough?" Is what my wife said. "I hope he likes fusilli with sun dried tomatoes, because that's what we're having. I'm not changing dinner plans for playboy celebrities."
Thoughts raced through my mind. What was wrong with her? Hadn't I been clear about machine testing? Didn't she realize the earth's population was growing geometrically and at any moment hundreds, if not thousands of people would need ACL surgery and so many of us decided to become engineers instead of orthopedic surgeons?
"You've had too much coffee. Stop shaking." She said that and went away. It was like walking up to Mount Pinatubo and suggesting everyone was tired of its lava spewing and expecting the effect to be immediate and terminal.
But wives are like that. Men high on pheromones promise the moon and propose marriage and the woman takes them seriously. From then on it's, "Why don't you ever ask directions?" and, "that's what you get for drinking so much beer," as if we could ever ask directions or stop drinking beer.
The only feeling worse than a coffee high is crushing your own finger with a sledgehammer, which is what I did when I tried to work off the caffeine by doing some yard work and splitting wood. I was trying to get the wedge to stay put in a piece of wood that must have been part of the great pyramid of cheops. The wedge wouldn't stand by itself, so I thought it would be a good idea to hold it with my fingers while I swung a seven-pound sledgehammer over the back of my shoulder and down onto my fingers with as much power as I could summon from my amphetamine-amplified muscles, missing the wedge completely, crushing the bone and sinew in my thumb. My aim was never very good. It did not improve with twelve espressos.
"Good thing I have two," was the stupidity that went through my mind when I saw my smashed finger.
Pain of that amplitude has inertia. It takes some time to build up speed so there's at least half a minute where you can admire the damage before the wave hits you. When it hits you you have two choices. You can be a man and with stiff spine go back into your home asking: "Dear, where are the car keys? I don't want to trouble anyone with the carcass. I must drive myself to the morgue."
Or you can be me. Walk into the kitchen, put your nearly severed limb under cold water, and collapse to your knees gurgling spit and pretending seizures.
And so this is why you get married. So someone will take you to the hospital when your legs won't stop moving and the pain in your hand is so bad you'd rather they sawed off your arm than tried to fix it. You get married to have somebody to laugh at you when you eviscerate yourself with jig saws and quarter-inch mini drills. You simply must marry that person who feels you deserve to remain in the gene pool despite your best efforts to take yourself out. You get married to have someone to lean on when you limp into the emergency room.
You get married so on the way home somebody will say, "My poor baby," and then kiss it and make it better.