Today I have come across something great. And, as great things often do, this one affected a little mental gambol down memory lane.
Before I continue, it is important that you get a dose of context. Quite possibly for posterity’s sake, and nothing more.
A little whelpling of a lass was seated ‘pon my bed with her mother, only moments ago, telling me a story. The story is not important; it’s all in their exit. They left my room clicking their heels and chanting “There’s no place like lunch. There’s no place like lunch.”
Indeed, there is no place like lunch. And I will take my luncheon shortly. But first…
Let me tell you about Steve, Don’t Eat It! at The Sneeze dot com. Clicking the link and taking but a cursory glance at the page thence travelled to will best any description I can give. So, do that. Now, or when you’ve finished reading the rest of this post.
The article of note: Steve, Don’t Eat It! Vol. 8: Prison Wine. The title leaves a lot to be desired and yet says enough.
Let me stop you in your thought tracks. I have never been to prison although I maintain a healthy dislike for the police. Mostly because I happen, quite innocently, to be in the wrong place at the wrong time all the time; nor have I made wine in a toilet.
I did, however, attend private school. The same one for nine years. It was like prison except they gave us the keys to our own cells and chuckled at the joke of it. We were so young, so pliable. Detention, or the sadistic and terrible equivalent we came to know as a gating, struck fear into the hearts of all manner of child. Because gatings were the vanguard of freedom deprivation. Gatings were the way to wrest what Lilliputian shreds of autonomy we fought ever so hard, ever so fruitlessly, to maintain. With little white-knuckled fists of futility we marched by the imperious hand.
Alas, a fellow inmate and I hatched a scheme to make our very own batch of citrussy prison hooch. The hitch: we had to brew our brew in direct sight of those bugbear to teenage liberty, school masters and marms. (Note: we brewed without toilets, dirty socks, or mouldering bread). And what better place and what better time to do so than in ninth grade science class.
The plan: take advantage of a series of classes about acids and bases in conjunction with a unit on scientific method. I.E. Get the teach to sign off on an experiment to test whether fermentation and alcohol levels effect ph. Litmus paper is cool.
The result: a locked cabinet at the back of the science lab to which we had the key. It opened to a sweet bouquet of orange and lemon citrus equipped with a fine left hook (of what I hope was ethanol) to the protuberantia mentalis, your fucking chin.
We did this under the smiling supervision of one of the most under appreciated teachers of all time: Miss O.R. We called her “Miss Ohh Ahr” because she had a double barrelled Dutch surname (that was not at all difficult to pronounce). But Dutch is the English tongue’s Kryptonite (which, I suppose, wasn’t all together bad. My mother was Dutch and worked under her maiden name to differentiate herself, professionally, from my father. She became, through the insularity and ineptitude of an entire nation, Dr. Good).
And so, Ninth Grade Grand Marnier and Secret Science Class Lemoncello were born. Secret only because they didn’t know we were drinking it.