Thursday, January 28, 2010

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

It seems like I’m always saying this phrase, in a way. I might be walking down the street and the words slip out. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Or I’m reading the newspaper. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Perhaps I’m negotiating downtown traffic on my way to work. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. What do I mean by this phrase? Well, it’s a quick list of my favorite hobbies. I just like to say it a lot, I guess, especially when someone comes up to me and asks, “What's your deal, man?” I rattle off these words to pique their interest, and then I proceed to explain.

Whiskey is straightforward. While I have no palate whatsoever for beer and consider wine-tasting too snooty for a simple guy like me (even though I had ample opportunities to enjoy both beverages when I lived in Bavaria for almost two years and near Sonoma, California likewise for two years), I find hard liquor, and above all Jack Daniel’s or Maker’s Mark, to be a soothing elixir after, say, a hectic week. I should point out that I drink it strictly for medicinal purposes, creative release, mental sustenance, spiritual rejuvenation, medical assistance, emotional catharsis, wit enhancement, sorrow drowning, and mood relaxation—the last reason being a catchall phrase to include any situation or circumstance. I also limit my consumption to the weekend, apart from those weekdays and weekday evenings when I want to make a preemptive strike before the weekend or as a follow-up treat for having gotten through the weekend. In the days of yore I used to drink whiskey with a medium bucket of extra crispy Kentucky Fried Chicken. It became a ritual every Friday night after broom hockey with my buddies. Once I became more health conscious thirty pounds later, however, I cut out the KFC; nowadays I just drink it without the meal. Whiskey with a Coke keeps me youthful and makes me fun to be around.  Just ask my wife, who's usually handing me a highball glass of that delicious honey-colored panacea as I walk through the door.  By the way, I had the words of St. Paul to Timothy in the original Koine Greek inscribed on my “medicine cabinet” in the dining room: Use a little wine for your stomach...

By Tango I mean my dancing skills, and maybe even the “dance of life” more generally, not so much the specific dance called the tango. I actually fell in love with my wife at a Sadie Hawkins dance. We were both seventeen. She asked me to go with her because I was incredibly shy, shyer than Michael Jackson when he’s not on stage or Norman Bates when he’s not knifing someone. At the time our high school gym was being renovated, so the administration rented an abandoned Kmart not far from a toxic waste dump and set up a makeshift dancehall. Though the foul odors throughout the building and parking lot made us unbelievably nauseous, nothing could stop the blossoming of young love. Admittedly, when she took my hand and invited me out on the floor, I was hesitant, only in part because I wasn’t a huge Spandau Ballet fan. In truth, I had danced only one time previously: when as a kid I had to urinate but neither opportunity nor receptacle presented itself. I would “dance” this weird jig, which involved holding my schnarzle and sort of running in place with a frantic look on my face. Come to think of it, this situation arose more than once. Be that as it may, I couldn’t dance worth beans.  That all changed when I went to dancing college and picked  up an MA in dancography.  My thesis was on dirty dancing with half the chapters alone devoted to grinding.

Finally Foxtrot refers metaphorically to my lifelong passion for hunting. This is a strange activity for a vegetarian (in the post-KFC period of my life), I suppose. I don't eat venison or beef.  The buck, moose, and drake need not fear me.  When I'm in the woods I'm usually in a drunken stupor and dancing in just my birthday suit, not wielding a gun or perched on a tree stand.  No. The chipmunk and raccoon are my friends.  I hunt exclusively blue falcons because you can easily find them. In fact, they’re really the opposite of an endangered species: they’re an augmented species, if you will. Because of overpopulation, it’s okay and advisable to take them out. Usually a good smack will do the trick.  And you don't have to go out into the Great Outdoors, though you can find many of them on a canoe trip, for instance.  Other areas they frequent include the workplace during layoffs, the military during a work detail, or any place where a patron leaves a gratuity. 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!  There you have it. Chances are, if you approach me, I’ll have these words on my a way.