Considering the current cultural climate, it was only a matter of time before the archaic groups responsible for National Prohibition came back to life like vengeful old vampires.
The Anti-Saloon League–the most powerful and fanatical of the old gangs–has reappeared in the form of the Reformed Anti-Saloon League. Giles Humbert III sits down for a chat with Denver Chapter President Dr. Dick Rosamorte.
Modern Drunkard: Drinking is good for you: Did you know?
Dick Rosamorte: Nonsense.
MD: Oh? I have in my briefcase a number of scientific reports from all over the world that state otherwise. Surely as a doctor you must respect the scientific validity of the findings.
DR: Those irresponsible reports will bring misery to millions.
MD: So, it’s not the results you object to, but the fact that they brought the truth to light. Because you think the public cannot handle the truth, isn’t that true, doctor?
DR: Most people can’t handle the truth. Who did you say you were with?
MD: The, uh, Modern League To Aid Alcoholics.
DR: Never heard of it.
MD: Odd. Since you’re the Reformed Anti Saloon League you’re acronym is RASL. So one may pronounce it, I assume, as rassle, as hill folk pronounce wrestle.
MD: Well, I just thought it a vast improvement of just ASL, which could be pronounced as a personal insult. I mean, back in the Prohibition days, I’m pretty sure the drinkers would see your ilk marching down the street and say, “Hey, here come the, uh—
DR: I wouldn’t put it past them.
MD: Right. When was the original Anti-Saloon League founded?
DR: In 1884. The founder—
MD: So you chaps have been trying to put the squeeze on fun for well over a 120 years.
DR: Fun! I don’t call drinking something that makes you vomit fun.
MD: Oh, I don’t know. Vomiting out good liquor can be quite instructive at times. I’d go as far as to say it has a rather invigorating cathartic effect.
DR: And I suppose you think cancer is a great weight loss technique?
MD: Most sufferers do seem rather trim, don’t they? Also, I—
DR: What’s that?
MD: This? It’s altitude medicine. I’m from London originally, you understand, and—
DR: It smells like gin.
MD: Of course it smells like gin. It’s altitude medicine. There, much better! So, how old are you?
DR: Seventy-two. The last fifty of those alcohol-free.
MD: My God, man! You look not a day under eighty!
MD: Just making a casual observation. The British Health Board advises teetotalers like yourself to have a few, you know. For your own good.
DR: Bribed by the spirits industry, no doubt.
MD: Huh! According to Bartending Magazine, lawyers finally surpassed doctors as the worst tippers. Congratulations!
DR: I’ve never given a bartender a cent.
MD: No wonder you can’t get a drink. What you skinflints don’t understand is it is not only the duty of every gentleman to tip well, it is sound economic advice.
DR: Having more altitude medicine?
MD: My condition is rather advanced. I understand members of your organization used to stand outside pubs, singing hymns at all the drunks inside.
DR: We sure did.
MD: Any intention of reintroducing this behavior?
DR: Maybe. Why do you ask?
MD: I think it would be perfectly hilarious. Getting legless on one’s barstool while heckling a gang of off-key teetotalers sounds like a smashing good time. Do you ever miss the good old days?
DR: Which days would those be?
MD: When you used to drink.
DR: Those were the worst days of my life. Miserable, evil, awful.
MD: Oh, come now. You must of had a couple wild times. Dancing on the bonnet of your Model A, or perhaps charging around on your horse, hooting savagely and bullwhipping innocent bystanders.
DR: Ridiculous! I never did any such thing.
MD: Huh! What was your favorite drink back then?
DR: I don’t see any point in discussing it.
MD: It was a boilermaker, wasn’t it? Five or six snorts of that and you’d be out on your horse with your infamous bullwhip—
DR: Look, if you can’t conduct a civil interview, I’ll ask you to leave.
MD: But surely you’ll admit the greatest writers of your or my generation were also great drunkards. Fitzgerald, Kerouac, Miller, Hemingway—
DR: Hemingway! I met that drunken tough. He tried to sock me in the jaw.
MD: Isn’t that peculiar! Good ol’ Hem!
DR: He was a bully and a rumdum.
MD: Now see here, my good man. Your behavior borders on outrageous. Any more of these insults and I’ll notify the consulate and have you barred from ever setting foot on English soil. I’ve very powerful friends in the Department of—
DR: England! A nation of drunken pigs!
MD: Well! This is an outrage, isn’t it! An actual outrage!
DR: What’s outrageous is the hundreds of people who die in drunk-driving accidents each year.
MD: So you’re saying we should ban automobiles.
DR: No. I’m saying—
MD: That we should ban alcohol, which is healthy, and keep those infernal pollution machines? Not prepared to surrender your BMW, eh, doctor?
DR: Hold on a minute. In what way does your organization help alcoholics?
MD: Why, we’re going to help them to a drink! Pardon me for a moment.
DR: More medicine, eh!
MD: It’s a terrible burden, I assure you.
DR: You don’t seem to mind.
MD: Oh, I manage. I have to say, ten years ago I would have laughed at your organization. But nowadays, with MADD and other groups swiftly moving into the Prohibitionist camp, you’re not so laughable.
DR: It was only a matter of time before the Mothers saw the light.
MD: Yes. Did you know the new president of MADD is a man?
DR: Yeah, so?
MD: Doesn’t that seem a little odd? That a supposedly grassroots organization for grieving mothers is now helmed by a man? It’s been known the male-dominated board of directors has controlled the organization for years, but now they’ve just come right out and appointed a man.
DR: It doesn’t matter who’s in charge, just so long as they—
MD: Work to get rid of the booze.
MD: May I inquire as to how many people belong to your organization?
DR: That’s . . . we’re still organizing.
DR: We just started up two months ago.
DR: We’re just starting to get some press, we—
MD: For God’s sake, man, please tell me you at least have five members.
DR: Ask me in six months. Ask me then how many we have.
MD: I will. I’ll come to one of your meetings. And it better not just be me and you, staring at each other.
DR: I don’t care how many people show up, just so long as the word gets out.
MD: We’ll sing hymns against the booze at the meeting. I’ll bring a bottle along, so we can sing against it directly.
DR: You better not.
MD: It’ll inspire us. Especially once we tuck into it, just for scientific purposes, you understand.
DR: Fat chance.