Drinking poison

I bought the most darling little bottle of poison the other night, and I’m gonna drink it one of these evenings soon.



No, I’m not talking about suicide.  I’m talking about absinthe.



I’ve been reading about it for years; I’m a great fan of the French writers and composers and artists like Satie and Debussy and Mallarme and Verlaine and Manet, and they were all absinthe drinkers. Absinthe is the “fee verte,” the Green Fairy. It is an odd liqueur, full of herbs, including wormwood. Wormwood contains an odd little cannabinoid called thujone. Thujone is a hallucinogenic, and a poison. It is supposed to send you into a dreamy trance that the French called “l’heure verte,” the Green Hour.



That’s for me!



Absinthe was illegal in the USA for a long time. We’re such prudes. It became legal again a few years ago (so long as the thujone levels are very very low), and hipsters have brought it back into fashion. Did I mention there are elaborate absinthe-drinking rituals? Naturally there are. You can use a special slotted spoon to infuse your absinthe with sugar and cold water, drop by drop. You can set your absinthe on fire. You can pour your absinthe over a lump of sugar, then set the sugar on fire, then stir the caramelized sugar into the absinthe . . .



Oh, who cares? It’s a toxin. It makes you drunk and kills your brain cells by the kajillions. But if it makes you write music like Satie and Debussy, or paint like Manet, or write like Mallarme, it’s for me.



The full-sized bottles are atrociously expensive. I bought a little nip-sized bottle down at the local liquor store for $7.95, and it is adorable, very 1890s. The brand is “Le Tourment Vert,” the Green Torture.  



I haven’t tried it yet. I want to buy some sugar cubes first. I need to do this right.



If it kills me, I’ll let you know.






About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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