The bad things wine tells you to do



By Terry Sweeney

Shhh … I’m trying to hear what a particularly bossy bottle of Bonny Doon Big House White is whispering to me from my kitchen corner wine rack.  What was that, Bonny? “Open me. Open me.  Open me….”

“Sorry, but I’ve already had a bottle of white wine,”  I firmly reply,  “and besides it’s Sunday.” I add, “And I’ve got a big week ahead of me and …” “Blah, blah, blah … talk to the cork!” She rudely interrupts, then adds wistfully, “I remember when you used to be fun.”

After that remark, it’s on! And, sure enough, come Monday, I’ve overslept, look like hell, and I’m full of regret and aspirin. And Bonny? She disappeared in the middle of the night. No goodbye. Not even a note.

This is typical of the bad influence that some bottles of wine have over all of us.  Like the ones that say: “Hey, it’s midnight, you know what would taste good right about now? A giant bowl of pasta and sauce.”  “Yeah,” I chime in. “Why didn’t I think of that?” (Maybe it’s because I’m on a diet.) The next day, I awake fatter and with the kitchen so covered in tomato sauce it looks like a mafia hit.

My friend Debbie confessed to me that two bottles of Beaujolais ganged up on her once and urged her to call a co-worker at two in the morning to tell him how much she secretly fantasized about him and how “hot” she thought he was. She did and blurted it all out in a wine-fueled frenzy ending by seductively asking in her sexiest voice: What did he think about her? “I don’t know,” the man’s WIFE replied. “I’ll ask him when he wakes up tomorrow.” Needless to say, my red-faced gal pal transferred to a different branch of the bank.

Polling our friends, they all vehemently agreed that Wine’s favorite devil-on-your-shoulder wily whisper is: “You know what you need? A cigarette.”  Don’t smoke anymore?  Well then who’s that nicotine junkie outside in the cloud of blue smoke getting eaten alive by mosquitoes with a glass of Merlot in one hand and a Marlboro light in the other?  Thanks, Wine!

It’s a well known fact that Marie Antoinette loved her bubbles. After all, the early French champagne glasses were actually designed in the shape of her naked breasts, which she apparently did not mind everybody seeing! She was probably history’s first “Girl Gone Wild.” For no doubt she was reeling from too much fancy French bubbly when some poor foot soldier rushed in and told her “the people are starving,” and asked her what should he tell them. It was the champagne talking when she replied “Let ‘em eat cake!”  “Hilarious!” Champagne assured her. “They’ll be rolling in the aisles!” And they were. Their heads, that is.

Of course, even bad wine advice occasionally does some good. By accident of course. Columbus, you remember, was looking for India when he set sail with giant wooden barrels full of his favorite red Italian wine stashed below, no doubt made from Italy’s famous old Nebbiolo grapes. Nebbiolo by the way, comes from the word “Nebbia,” the thick fog that envelopes the hills of the Piedmont in late fall when the grapes are being picked.  Thick fog indeed.  At some point, while drunk as a skunk, a goblet of wine must have shouted in his ear, “Hang a left!”  India?  More like Indiana.  It’s the loud-mouthed Nebbiolo grape that perhaps really deserves the credit for discovering America.

Still, let’s face it. That good deed is the exception, not the rule. The more bottles of wine you drink, the chattier wine gets, and before you know it, your cabernet has turned into a gabernet and is talking your ear off with all sorts of “helpful” suggestions that it would be wiser not to take.

FINAL WARNING: No matter how many times Wine tells you to do it,  NEVER call an old boyfriend or girlfriend after 20 years to “see how they’re doing” OR email anyone after even two glasses of wine OR watch the Shopping Channel …



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