Yes, it is true. I love wine and everyone knows it. My Instagram account is full of wine photos, my Tweets are about wine, and my Facebook posts are largely centered around vino. A friend remarked that I appear to cherish wine over most things, including sex. Maybe I do and maybe I don’t; but here are 5 ways that wine is more enjoyable than sex:
Wine pairs better with food. Despite kinky movies like Nine 1/2 Weeks and others that try to convince you that sex and food are fun, it is indeed a messy proposition at best. A well balance Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a juicy burger or perfectly cooked steak will delight your senses. What it won’t do is tangle your hair, stick to your fingers, or create extra laundry. Keep your whipped cream and pass me a good Spanish red.
As they say, variety is the spice of life. There are many different grape varieties and types of wine to enjoy. Red wines, white wines, sparkling wines, dessert wines, fortified wines…the list goes on. Cabernet grapes, Chardonnay grapes, Pinot Noir grapes, Riesling grapes, Malbec grapes, Merlot grapes…this list, too, can go on ad infinitum. And while there are numerous positions described in the Kama Sutra, unless you are a contortionists or your partner weighs 80 pounds, you are probably experiencing 2 to 3 of those positions on average at best.
Wine last longer. According to Dr. Harry Fisch, author of The New Naked: The Ultimate Sex Education for Adults, almost half of men surveyed finish sex within two minutes. That’s about how long it takes me to brush my teeth. A good full-bodied wine will have a long finish on the palate and you can nurse a glass or two or three long into the evening for hours of enjoyment. And you won’t have a frustrated partner.
Wine is easy to open and get started. You need only peel the foil, pop the cork, and pour to enjoy the taste of great wine. It’s a three-step process people. There are 5 phases in the sexual-response cycle and let’s not mention the time, energy and effort needed for foreplay. That’s a lot of effort for 2 minutes of action. The economics here are not in your favor.
With wine, you can have as much as you like when you like. Wine doesn’t have a bad day at the office. Wine doesn’t get headaches. Wine doesn’t have to be quiet because the kids are awake. Wine doesn’t get PMS. And you don’t have to wait 24 hours until you have another.
Dizzy and exhausted and so far from home, I questioned how I could possibly make it in my condition. In reality, I was no more than a mile and a half or so from my beloved Seabury Rd house (as the crow flies) at this point, but the road ahead seemed bleak and daunting. We traveled the path from whence we came, we three boys. Down the tracks, in and out of tree lines, and back to Cherry Hill Rd. Normally, we might have traveled Cherry Hill Rd to Round Rd to Seamon Ave to avoid rival neighborhood groups within some of the other courts. I hesitate to call them gangs though previous run-ins did produced physical confrontation.
I could feel the exposed flesh, resulting from the stranger’s yanked arrow, sticking to my shirt. Blood ran down my back soaking both shirt and shorts. I was light-headed. My footfalls turned to foot-drags along the concrete and asphalt and knees gave way to rubbery behavior. One of my arms hung around Keith’s neck for added support but walking was laborious. I stopped. Out of breath I told the two, “I can’t make it.”
Stupefied, Tony stopped and stared but Keith began to chuckle. The chuckle turned to laughter. My best friend laughed at the moment of my potential expiration. I did not understand it and found it quite off-putting. His laughter suggested that he thought I was being dramatic. I was known for dramatic behavior as a child but I had just been shot in the back with an arrow and losing blood by the second. The joke was lost on me. Our relationship was never the same after and explains why I had little remorse for breaking a Budweiser bottle over his head in a fight just a year later. The friendship ended there.
I sat curbside, unable to go on. The boys sat next to me. Tony offered to run to my house to alert my mother while Keith stood watch. It seemed the best idea and only option at this point. “What’s wrong with him?” a voice rang from a car stopped in the middle of the street. “He got shot with an arrow,” was the response. “Get in,” said my good Samaritan.
The Samaritan leaned over the passenger seat and pushed open the door. The car was clean, smelled clean. It was an older model but you could tell that he took pride in his ride. Beads hung from the rear view mirror and you could smell an air-freshener though it wasn’t visible. “We gonna get yo mutha,” the two boys yelled, and off they dashed. I looked up at the Samaritan and recognized him immediately. It was one of the maintenance workers from my housing complex.
By now I was seeing stars and little birdies like when someone was clobbered in the head on the Saturday morning cartoons. I was so overcome with relief that I made an effort to lean back and rest my head. “Don’t lean back,” snapped the Samaritan as he extended his arm. Not interested in having me stain his car interior with my blood, the Samaritan pushed me forward to where my head rested on the front console. The incredulity of it all must have been evident in my reaction because I detected a slight trace of shame on the Samaritan’s face.
He tells me, “Let’s get you to the hospital.” We continued down the road. There needn’t be much communication or coordination because I knew exactly where we were going. The South Baltimore Hospital was just a stone’s throw away, in Cherry Hill, on the banks of the Patapsco river. Indeed, I had been a frequent flyer at the emergency room there. This would make my 3rd of 4th visit.
The Samaritan consigned me to the emergency room staff and my mother joined shortly after. I don’t think I ever thanked him properly.
The doctors and nurses looked on in amazement. A few recognized me from prior visits. I was asked how the arrow was removed and I explained what the stranger had done. The doctor said it was a stupid act. Said the stranger should have left the arrow in. “You’re a lucky little boy,” he said to me. He explained to my mother that my shoulder-blade likely saved my life. A couple of inches to the left or a couple of inches downward and the arrow would have gone straight through me, likely skewering a vital organ. I remember overhearing someone, perhaps a family member or family friend, say to my mother, “That boy won’t live to see 21.”
The emergency room staff busied themselves with closing the gaping wound in my back.
I’d see the Samaritan in the neighborhood from time to time and he’d give me that “I saved your raggedy-ass little life” look. I’d return it with a “hope I didn’t stain your car seat” stare. My softened eyes meant to intenerate the display of boyish machismo. It was as much gratitude as an 8 year-old boy could muster I suppose.
The harrowing experienced turned out to be just another patch up job for little Joey Lee. I was no stranger to stitched up skin. But from that moment on, I often marveled at the fragility of the human body. The human spirit is as strong as any form of matter on earth. The human body, however, is but a bag of twigs and cooked pasta when matched against steel, mountains, trees, or trains. But the shoulder-blade of an 8-year-old boy… It can fuck with an arrow, though, can’t it?
If you missed part one of my memoir, The Making of a Miscreant, you can read it here.
I don’t know if I woke up that morning with a plan or, like many boys, decided to turn found junk into opportunity. Or perhaps it was another kid’s idea. But the plan on a hot, sunny, summer’s day in the early 1970’s was to catch some frogs. Nothing at all unique about this endeavor for rural preteen boys, but for urban youth, it required a measure of planning and adventure.
2438 Seabury Rd in the Cherry Hill section of Baltimore, MD was home. It was my home. I lived in Section 8 housing but I didn’t know it at the time. A single mom and two boys living in an apartment on the right-hand side of the court, eventually moved to a townhouse over on the left. That court was our world and we did not often venture far beyond its borders except to cross the street to the elementary school playground and basketball court, or to the nearest corner store to buy penny candy. We all new each other. It was the kind of place, and a place in time, when the neighbors were empowered to discipline you. And the maintenance workers might toss a football around with you in between tasks.
On this day, though, we were going to catch us some frogs. But where? First things first. We needed a vessel for the frogs. My friend Keith, a brown, lanky kid with a small afro, and my brother’s friend, Tony who was a year or two older, joined me as I rummaged through neighbors hot garbage cans for frog storing containers. We emerged with plastic jugs and milk cartons that we, with ghetto ingenuity, transformed by cutting the tops off and creating handles using pieces of twine.
Now, where? Beyond the borders of the court and the elementary school, sat the Patapsco River which fed into Baltimore’s harbor. Good for catching crabs, not so much for frogs. Our attentions turned west to the train tracks.
Someone told someone who, in turn, told Keith that creeks and streams ran parallel to the tracks so we surmised that frogs must exist in the general vicinity. In tank-top, cut off shorts, Jack Purcells and pals in tow, I headed west for a couple of miles in search of amphibians. Along the way, Keith tells tales of strings of fireworks that dangle from passing trains. He tells us, “If we can hop the train without getting caught, we can snatch some firecrackers to take back home.” Even as an 8-year-old, that hardly seemed plausible. But what the hell, I was up for anything.
The tracks were rusty looking and raised above grade. They were surrounded with crushed stone on each side. To our delight, a stream ran along side a portion of the tracks, among a thin line of trees. Even at 8 years old, I had experience catching frogs. My grandparents bought a parcel of land in Carol County and I spent many a summer’s day catching frogs, snakes and turtles. So I lead the way. We filled our containers with water from the stream and set them on leveled ground.
Wading ankle-deep, hands held 6 inches or so apart, we moved slowly so as not to disturb the wildlife. Frogs sat along the bank of the stream, unsuspecting, warming their cold blood. Keith, too anxious, misses his first. He mutters a choice profanity or two. I snag my first. Then a second. The others join in with better success having watched a pro in action.
In the distance, we hear the clacking of train wheels on tracks drawing neigh. “Firecrackers”! Keith yells. The frogs that we managed to catch were put into the 3 containers and sat closer to the tracks. We waited patiently and grew excited as the train came into view. Keith told us to run along side the train and grab any rail or handle to pull ourselves up. I think Keith lied about the fireworks. I saw none. Still, hopping a moving train seemed fun and so we moved, like experienced hobos, to make our way on-board.
The train appeared to move slow on approach but seemed to gain steam as it was upon us. Clacking with rhythm. Clacking with purpose. And so were we. Moving alongside the train as fast as our little preteen legs could carry us. We three intrepid boys searched for something to grab onto. I trailed the other two and began to run out of steam. Keith and Tony kept trying in earnest. Laughing and running along side the cars, looking for something, anything to grab a hold of. Hands on knees, huffing and puffing, we three boys watched the train move on down the line. Victorious.
An overwhelming sense of relief washed over me. I was scared and afraid to admit it. Not afraid of getting on the train, but getting off of the train. Jumping off of a moving train was not something I even remotely wanted to attempt.
We made the long trek back to the frogs, failures as hobos. What seemed like miles of track was most likely a few hundred yards. Back at the site, the frogs were gone, containers smashed. Shocked and perplexed, we three boys stood there silent, speechless, and dumbfounded. Who would do such a thing? Who would ruin the perfect afternoon? It was such flapdoodle that we struggled to comprehend what might have transpired during the short time that we chased the train. One frog remained in my plastic milk container, smashed and bloodied. A sad and truculent act.
I watched Keith’s eyes as he spied a figure emerging from the tree line. A boy, much older than the three of us, carrying a hunter’s bow with bladed arrow. This older boy told us that he was looking for some “white dudes” that assaulted his father. I couldn’t help but wonder if this would-be hunter of white dudes was not himself the capricious, frog-murdering bastard that ruined my afternoon. But Tony and Keith were enchanted by the bow and arrow and did not share my suspicion. They had never seen and hunter’s bow and arrow up close. Neither had I for that matter.
“How far can that thing go?”, Keith chimed. “Really far”, answered the stranger. Now he had my interest and attention. “Let me see”, I added. “Shoot it up”, I pointed to the sky. The stranger, bow in left hand, motioned with his right, gesticulating that we give some clearance. He pointed the bow upward, pulled the string back to his ear, and loosed the arrow. It flew straight up, climbing until it was out of sight. We three boys stood, planted in the gravel, mouths wide open and eyes bulging out of our heads. The stranger’s faced turned from a look of accomplishment to having a real “oh shit” moment. “Run!”, the stranger yelled.
Without knowing the intricacies and particulars of the laws of gravity, even we three boys knew that what goes up, must come down. We scrambled. Nervous laughter echoed and gravel flew as we made our way to the tree line. My foot slipped and I landed on one knee. With a thud, the arrow landed in my back. Lodged into my right scapula.
I don’t know what was worse, the pain or the shock of being shot. Given all the wide open space, what were the odds that a single arrow shot into the air would find its way through my flesh and into bone? I fell face down in the gravel, arrow shaft sticking out of my back. Cowboys and Indians for real. The stranger panicked. He grabbed hold of the arrow with one hand and placed the other hand on my left shoulder. He yanked. He shouldn’t have done that. Every western movie you have ever seen said don’t yank the arrow. But he yanked. And he ran. I stood. And I bled.
Gash in the back and bleeding profusely I, with my friends, started the long trek back to Seabury Rd. The energy drained from me with every step. The sun grew hotter and my tank top began to stick to my skin as the blood coagulated. The boys were concerned but none of us had any idea how serious the situation had become.