Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Getting misty over seltzer.

Much of my adult life has been a quest to stay hydrated.

I suffered from a kidney stone at an early age and since that time have rarely been more than an axe's length away from some sort of liquid. 

And I do mean suffered.

("I need more morphine." "We're already giving you what we give burn victims.")

I stopped drinking alcohol a decade or two ago and for about the past thirty years good old New York seltzer has been my libation of choice.

Back when I was young and sinewy, I started lugging bottles from the grocery store a couple times a week. One day as I was lugging, my arms stretched to simian lengths, I spotted an old van on my corner. An even older man wheezed out and dragged out an old wooden crate with the old-tymey siphon seltzer bottles. He was delivering it right to someone's door.

Cost be damned, I went all in. I signed up for a case a week. And for about a decade my family and I enjoyed seltzer as it should be. Spritzed from a glass bottles nearing a century old.

A few moments ago I read in the Times the obituary "The last of the Seltzer Men," who died on March 12th at his home in Brooklyn at the age of 86. You can read the obituary here.

The movie on Mr. Miller is only 2:50 long and is well-worth the misting you might get in your eyes. It includes one of the great lines in all of movie-dom and that includes "Here's looking at you, kid." "I coulda been a contender." And "'Twas beauty killed the beast." I'm not typing it here, because you should hear it for yourself. Straight from the horse's mouth. Or, better, the bottle's siphon.

About five years ago when my wife renovated our apartment I left virtually all the decision-making in her more than capable hands. I had just one request.

I had seen, I think at Heard City an audio studio in New York, an in-the-tap seltzer dispenser. I found one online--made by a fancy-schmancy company called Grohe.

Seltzer from the tap.

Cold. Effervescent. Wonderful.

The only work on my part is running down to a welding supply store on 12th and 52nd to get giant scuba-tank sized canisters of CO2 about every other month, and occasionally changing an expensive filter.

It's wonderful. 

When the virus-dust settles, come on up to the Upper East Side and we'll bend an elbow.

We can reminisce about seltzer men we have loved.

Or seltzer women.

Until that carbonated day in the sunshine, stay hydrated. Stay sane. Stay clean. Stay away. And stay positive.

Now, with apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer and everyone else who has read this far,

Oh, somewhere in this favored land, the sun is shining bright.
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
Somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville, all our seltzer has run out.


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