A Fifth of Jack Daniels

A rare visit to The Crying of Lot 49! The opening sentence’s too much kirsch in the fondue is probably the only booze to rival GR‘s banana mead for Pynchonian icon status, if only by appearing at the very very beginning of his most accessible work. Otherwise, though, there isn’t too much to drink in these pages. By my count, this will be our fifth Lot 49 sip from a total of eight.

Chapter two of Lot 49 opens with the somewhat famous Southern California suburb as printed circuitboard image. Soon, Oedipa has checked into Echo Courts and is hanging out with her good-looking lawyer Metzger. You might recall he’s brought a nice Beaujolais. They get through that, move on to tequila, Oedipa puts on every garment in her wardrobe, then the Paranoids show up at the door. They make things weird, playing over the pool, then leave. Metzger’s baby self, Baby Igor, is on the television. Next up, Jack Daniels:

On the doorsill the Paranoids, as we leave milk to propitiate the leprechaun, has set a fifth of Jack Daniels.

The Crying of Lot 49, p. 26.

Jack Daniels was my go-to when I was nineteen or so. There was the one Vat 69 occasion, and if I was feeling fancy it was Makers Mark, but most often I’d be showing up with a bottle of Jack.

At some point though, our paths diverged. I haven’t tried the stuff in a decade. From what I can remember, there was no critical moment of never-again over-indulgence. I just moved on.

Well, the band’s back together baby and we are sounding unexpectedly sweet and in tune. I’m sipping from the Pynchonianly ordained fifth straight (not typical practice when I was a teen) and finding it actually pretty enjoyable. Sweet smooth caramel, lots of banana, a little toastiness. Goes down very easy. Thanks Paranoids!

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