Watered pink wine

Perhaps after a weekend of global celebration following the Americans’ step back toward sanity, I’m not the only one who could use some gentle Monday hair of the dog? My glass is half wine half water and I make no apology.

If Pynchon is to be believed, the key constituencies for watered-down wine, other than me recovering post celebration of democracy’s turn back from the brink, are children and Germans. Two of the world’s great people! Who wouldn’t want to join this company. Or even better—we’re in Germany, but it’s actually our friend Tyrone Slothrop who drinks the watered wine, along with the typically well named Säure Bummer:

Black P-38s fly racketing in formation, in moving openwork against the pale sky. Slothrop and Säure find a cafe on the sidewalk, drink watered pink wine, eat bread and some cheese. That crafty old doper breaks out a “stick” of “tea” and they sit in the sun handing it back and forth, offering the waiter a hit, who can tell? that’s how you have to smoke armies too, these days. Jeeps, personnel carriers, and bicycles go streaming by. Girls in fresh summer frocks, orange and green as fruit ices, drift in to sit at tables, smiling, smiling, checking the area continuously for early business.

Gravity’s Rainbow, p. 375.

The wine may I suppose be watered here due to wartime shortages, but it suits the summery scene too.

The watered wine drinking children, when they show up in Against the Day, turn out to be similes, and rather watered down similes themselves for the actual situation they stand in for. Dally Rideout tells Frank about the time her father, in lieu of a birds and bees spiel, apprenticed her to a brothel. It was, she claims, “no worse when one thinks about it than giving a child a small glass of diluted wine at mealtimes so that she may grow up to know the differences between wine with dinner and wine for dinner,” (Against the Day, p. 303). Can’t say that I agree with you there, Dally.

My own watered pink wine, complete with summery ice cubes (see Gallo wine with ice) fit for suit Slothrop’s breezy Berlin scene, isn’t really doing much for me to be honest. The wine itself is pretty bad French rosé, and it retains a syrupy murk even diluted. But were I an underage rhetorical device or a soldier emerging wartime, I imagine it would go down just fine.

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