My Fellow Inebriates,
The four-year-old recently took the scissors to Glen Bear, who ended up with a surprisingly restrained fur trim, which nevertheless prompted my mum to put the scissors in a high-up cupboard until the “paper only” rule is better internalized by the kids.
Glen has fewer brain cells than I do, which puts him into the negative numbers, but now he also looks like a dork. And even though he doesn’t care or really realize what happened, I’m shaking in my fur. It could have been any of us! And who knows? If the kid had been feeling especially demonic, Glen could have been decapitated.
Rattled by this incident, I started thinking about how illusory our sense of safety is. If you’re enjoying computer access and have the leisure to read an alcoholic bear’s ruminations, it’s a good guess that your basic physiological needs—food, water, air—are taken care of, as well as security concerns such as shelter and privacy too. But as my friend Scarybear likes to remind me constantly, we are just one semi-apocalyptic event away from chaos.
For me that event might consist of scissors-wielding kindergartners, but Scarybear is thinking about much larger destabilizing events. We talked about asteroids (and hemorrhoids) recently, but Scary finds the asteroid scenario, in all its preventability, boring. He’s thinking a gamma-ray burst will do us in this year.
Of course gamma-ray bursts occur all the time. They’re invisible to our eyes, which means we’re blissfully unaware of the daily gamma flashbulb that goes off, bathing our little blue marble in gamma radiation and then winking out. These bursts are 10 quadrillion times stronger than the sun. They don’t even come from our own galaxy—they come from other, distant galaxies (a long time ago, hitting us now) and are thought to be caused by collapsed stars merging. Wow!
So, Scary says in the brief pause he takes from snarfing an entire container of ice cream, what if two collapsed stars in OUR galaxy merged? OMG!
Uncertainty is frightening. I feel exactly the sort of trepidation Scary does about gamma-ray bursts when I’m considering buying a new bottle of wine. Like lots of wine drinkers, I have “go-to” wines that are always reliable; they hit the sweet spot between price and quality that allows you to feel good about dropping $15 to $20 in your local booze shop and pounding your purchase in front of the TV. It sucks to go out on a limb and come home with some barnyardy vinegar and have to drink it knowing you could and should have bought one of your old reliables.
So when our friend Robert came over with one of his old reliables, I took notice. BODEGAS CASTANO MONASTRELL (2010) certainly hits the sweet spot on price ($11.97) and boasts a reasonable alcohol content (13.5%). Made from 30-year-old monastrell (mourvedre) vines, this Spanish table wine is opaque and violet with a fresh berry nose. In the glass it sports generous legs and likewise coats the mouth with a plush, hearty mouthfeel. Stone-fruit top-notes and structured tannins make for a satisfying palate pleaser with a moderate to long finish.
BODEGAS CASTANO MONASTRELL is striking for being unassuming. The flavors are balanced without jockeying among themselves for prominence, which makes the wine undistracting—an excellent choice for a party, an involving conversation, or a really gripping episode of Breaking Bad. And if you’re fretting about the End of Days, BODEGAS CASTANO MONASTRELL can help you relax.
Not Scarybear, though. He was freaked out by Glen’s dorky haircut and worried about his little humans getting ideas about performing ursine surgery, so he transferred all this worry to thoughts of Armageddon—gamma rays especially.
He has a point. The Milky Way is pretty big and pretty old, and collapsed stars aren’t so easy to detect, never mind two of them spiraling into one another. Even if it happened a thousand light years away it would look like a second sun on our horizon, and our atmosphere would get cooked. With our ozone layer fried off, we’d all get skin cancer, but even if we hid indoors, the burst would annihilate all the ocean plankton, destroying the basis of our food chain.
Scarybear figures this could happen any time, meaning that it has already happened in our galaxy and the deadly burst is racing toward us at light speed, ETA Mayan End of Days.
Which means we have just 306 days left to stock up on some reliable wine.
What’s your “old reliable” at the liquor store? Are you stocked up?