We turn to Shakespeare for the text of today’s lesson. Please turn in your hymnals to Much Ado About Nothing, Act 5, Scene 1, where we find Antonio attempting to comfort Leonato, who is having none of it. And he spake, “I pray thee peace, I will be flesh and blood; For there was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently.” I get it, Leonato was upset and why not, they had just accused his daughter of “knowing the heat of a luxurious bed”. Shocking, I know. The point is, he was angry and when cautioned to not indulge his self pity and fury he told Antonio to step off and let a man have his space. I get that too. That toothache thing always stuck with me, the simple wisdom of it. It is true, no matter how many high platitudes we speak and how detached and above the fray we want to be, when something as simple as a toothache makes things personal, our true colors show. Whether sharp or dull, a toothache can just sort of linger there, a reminder that all is not well. Reminding you that you don’t control much in life, even your own body. So, please join me now and explore the bitter and the sweet, as we stand and make the Lucien Gaudin.
This is yet another riff on the Negroni, but its origin is lost in history. We don’t even know why it has this name, though we do know that Lucien was a master swordsman who competed in both the foil and ´Epée events at the 1920, 1924 and 1928 Olympics, winning gold or silver in every event he entered. That is quite an accomplishment, especially competing in two styles. Prior to his Olympic success he won two international championships, the European title and nine consecutive French titles. Suffice it to say that he was good with sticking them with the pointy end. After retirement he became a journalist and co-owner of one of the earliest french sports film companies. Sounds like a pretty good run, but in 1934 he committed suicide when his company went bankrupt. The pain of failure is just another kind of toothache. Sometimes, the fall from glory is just too much to bear.
This is a stirred drink so grab your mixing pitcher and toss in 1 1/2 ounces of gin, I chose some Spanish Xoriguer Mahon; 1/2 an ounce of that devil bitch Campari, cause when you want bitterness that cannot be ignored or endured patiently, Campari is your choice. To that add 1/2 an ounce of Cointreau and 1/2 an ounce of dry vermouth, I went with Noilly Prat. Add 4-6 artisanal ice cubes and stir to the gentle philosophy of James Buffet’s “He Went to Paris“ while thinking about how easily eighty six years of perpetual motion can slip away. I’ve always loved that song and how it reminds us that every life contains multitudes and we never, ever know what brought folks to the place they are now. Besides, aren’t we all looking for answers to those questions that bother us so? When you feel the drink is well enough chilled and diluted, probably about the time that pedal steel guitar starts to cry, strain into something suitably French and garnish with an expressed orange peel.
It is what it is. I like it and I don’t. Long time readers will not be surprised that I wasn’t crazy about the drink with Campari in it. Still, I get it. I see why folks like this one and you should try it yourself. Always. I mean honestly, who cares what I think about it? You may discover that you want to bathe in Campari by moonlight, gargling it like a cartoon Dionysus as nymphs dance in the distance. That may be your thing, I don’t know your life. It’s not mine, but as Willis and Arnold so aptly showed us, it takes diff’rent strokes to move the world.
I’ve still got that headache, which is why I am thinking about philosophers and toothaches and mortality. It all goes together. There is a lot going on in the world and a headache or a toothache or a heartache cuts into your tolerance for bullshit. It’s easy when you have a headache or a toothache to look at the whole thing and just want everyone to get over the petty stuff and try to get along. The thing is, we all have a toothache. Maybe it is a long lost love, maybe its something a professor said in college, maybe its not making the team in high school. We all have something in the back of our heads, nagging us, gnawing us, reminding us that something went wrong along the way. That’s ok. Part of the human experience. Just try to bear it in mind as you pass through this world. Every life you touch, contains multitudes and there is so much we will never see or know, even within those we most love. As Dr. John Watson, writing as Ian MacLaren wrote, allegedly, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Or you could just fall back on that old doing unto others as you’d have done unto you. Lots of folks say that, fewer do it. Maybe she had it right and all we have to do is be better. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.