A ‘happy’ couple was visiting me one night. They wondered if I had brought home any of that great vodka from Russia where I was mostly working and living at the time. They chirped like mynah birds as they extolled that great vodka made them very ‘happy.’ They were aficionados. They assured me they knew a potato or two about taste and quality — as they were ‘happy’ to inform me.
This is how we immodest folks happy-talk when we don’t know into what outhouse we’ve just wandered with the pretentions of trying to out-bullshit an insurance agent. Or a lawyer. Or even a car salesman.
The vast majority of us don’t know what makes us happy. All that most of us know is what is told and sold to us with the promises that if we buy this stuff we will be happy. Or happier than we were before we didn’t know we were unhappy.
All I really know about vodka is the vast truckloads I consumed in the Mother-bleepin’-land pretty much all tasted like vodka. Afterall, as many drunken Russians explained, all vodka, whether potato or corn or what-not, is pretty much distilled to the same purity. And that even the celebrated Stolichnaya is nothing more than merely table vodka. “Stol” means table in that cockamamie language. Just like Chianti in Italy ain’t nothing more than table wine.
So I studied this painfully happy couple perched happily on my white leather divan. They were happily overseeing the sparkling diamonds of city lights. And I am certain that the lights were no doubt wondering why they should have to be twinkling happily all night for folks who make themselves miserable all day in pursuit of their inalienable right to pursue happiness.
Hmmm… Sometimes I can be sooooo profound.
Then a coruscating flash of something my dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ Pappy had once done came happily to mind.
I told them I have two special bottles left of a special vodka I’ve been saving to share with people who would know how to appreciate it.
At that I went into the kitchen and pulled a half gallon bottle of Nikolai Vodka from the freezer. Pure domestic corn fritters. This stuff could wax the ears right off of King Kong. It cost less than most any beer that doesn’t bubble in a 40-ounce wino’s bottle. There’s no doubt it could have fueled all of Patton’s tank divisions across Europe.
But when it’s ice cold, it tastes quite satisfying — like all the other champagnes of vodka. (And it makes me horny, too. Far more affordably than Viagra.)
At the same time I had lugged home from Moscow a decorous aperitif bottle. I just loved the Cyrillic gold lettering on the night sky label. And since those ‘happy’ folks on the sofa couldn’t read Russian, I poured the frosty clear nectar into the bottle. And then I made up a wonderful story about how this was some of the last batch left over from the last czar’s last St. Petersburg’s Summer Palace party
G-d will forgive me; it’s his trade.
Of course, it is all in the presentation. So I loaded up a silver tray with all the trimmings and pressed-glass little goblets and marched into the living room. With the kettle drums of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture percussing between my jubilant ears I offered my presentation.
But, of course I made one of my more appropriate toasts – in Russian, naturally: To women who long for men who last long; to men who long for women who won’t last long, and to long friendships that have short memories.
And the gulps were loud.
And their responses?
Like post sex cooing.
They pleaded for more. I love it when horny people beg. So I refilled. And refilled. Until the aperitif bottle was quickly emptied. And then I announced to my surprised and delighted guests, that since this amazing bottle of special vodka made them so happy: why don’t we keep drinking, get naked and finish the other bottle.
No. I meant it. All of it.
So I went into the kitchen and replicated the process. Cranked opened a cheap can of caviar. And we had ourselves a parrrr—teee!
We didn’t break the walls, hang the dog or swap wives (Oy! The years I could have salvaged.). But at the end of the evening we had crossed the Rubicon. It was going to be the real beginning of a wonderful relationship.
Okay, it was based on a wonderful little lie. Tell me something that isn’t. All of our actions, everything we do, for the most part, are founded on a fib. Desire causes all action. And what do we do? We exist in a world that creates objects of desire. And we are sucked right into them like Mother Nature sucking dry a vacuum.
Whether it’s a DeBeers over-valued diamond or an over-valued car with 4 wheels, two axels, a chassis, a radio and an engine. We form a country based on righteousness and freedom. We lied. Capitalism ain’t nothing but Ponzi scams. And even history, as many have pointed out, ain’t nothing but agreed upon lies.
But we’ve got to believe in something. So we do. But so what? We all know the truth is irrelevant. All that matters is what people are willing or led to believe.
Most everything — except the weather and death – has a lot of falsehoods. We make promises we can’t keep. Or don’t keep. Such as: until death do us part.
But even more poignant in our pursuit of happiness it seems we are making ourselves very unhappy. Envy – or desire — kills more men than cancer. Perhaps if we didn’t try so hard to be happy, we would be anyways.
Okay so I perjured myself. Another flaw in my imperfect diamond. If anything it probably demonstrates that people don’t really know what makes them happy. A fake Rembrandt. And ersatz fur. Cheap domestic vodka. It isn’t objects of desire that gets our little winkies up. It is who is desiring ‘our’ objects.
Like I said, in our system of capitalism we are sold a bill-of-goods every day. Most of us don’t buy something, whether it’s some shiny trinkets or a political candidate, we are ‘sold’ them.
And most of us are quite contented to believe the indiscretions. For instance, if you believe your 4-wheel-drive can conquer Mt. Everest, don’t let it bother you that more of these same vehicles than all the pigs in China got swept away at sea level in Japan’s recent tsunami.
Another specious claim down the drain.
So let’s have one final toast of the czar’s vodka: To the fools who obey me, charge into bayonets for me, who sacrifice their families for me, and who die for me, I give you this shiny Medal of Valor — posthumously of course. And I assure you that your wives will be well taken care of….
And dats yDrewIS on this penal colony.