Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lo Hai Qu at a Wine Auction


I’m not sure this is a good idea, but I’m turning over HoseMaster of Wine™ again to my intern, Lo Hai Qu. She wouldn’t let me read her piece first, so I’m nervous. Like a lot of Millennials, she’s a pretty angry person. I tell her, it wasn’t me who screwed things up, it was my parents. But she doesn’t believe me. So, to placate her, I give her the chance to blow off some steam, talk about whatever is on her mind. I’ve got a bad feeling about this…

OK, so me and my girlfriends were kinda drunk the other night, we were so wasted we were twerking the corks out of bottles of Korbel, firin’ Blancs up our booties, and we started talking about what we’d do when we had a lot of money. My friend Loqueesha said she was going to buy the Lakers and make them all wear frilly panties instead of shorts like the girlies they really are. That’s pretty awesome. But it might work better in the NFL where most of the players don’t really know what’s going on anyway from all the brainal injuries they have. Be like the Oakland Panty Raiders. Bang! The Raiders been Lo-botomized! Shizzangela said that when she had a lot of money she was going to buy Burgundy. Not bottles of Burgundy, the whole goddam appellation of Burgundy! She wants to own all the CĂ´tes—D’Or,  de Nuits, and Clive. Yup, you own the first two, you own the last. Lisa (what a stupid name) said she would buy the French Laundry so she could clean all the Laker panties. Lisa’s kinda dim sum. She doesn’t even know the French Laundry isn’t really a laundry—it only feels like you’ve been taken to the cleaners.

So I said, when I have tons of money, I’m going to go to the Napa Valley Wine Auction and buy every fucking lot! And then, after I buy all that wine, and all those dinners and trips and hip happy endings, I’m going to just throw them all away. Like right there, in front of all those self-important clowns. Pick up that salamineo of 2007 MyShitDontStink Cabernet and break it in the Meadowood parking lot so some of those losers get flat tires on their Teslas. Or maybe give away some of those fancyass winemaker dinners for thirty of my closest friends to a bunch of homeless crackheads living under the Napa River bridge. Some of whom passed the first level WSET, so they’d enjoy it. That’s what I’d do if I had bookoo bucks. That, and get killer tits.

See, I’d be like the richest person there, so I’d get to act like it, like they do at those wine auctions. Get drunk and spend obscene amounts of money, hobnob with other really rich folks in that way they do, learn the secret One Percent handshake, you know, the one where you shake the middle class guy’s hand while, with your left hand, you’re stealing his wallet, and acting all like the queen of America, the fucking aristocracy, but it’s all for charity, dammit, so it’s cool. Spending money on wasteful shit you really want and acting all superior when it’s not for charity? That’s not cool. That’s an episode of “Real Housewives of Dante’s Inferno.” But for charity, it’s all cool like polar bear stool.

I’d be drunker than a Vatican sommelier the whole time. There are all these events and dinners and tastings and buttlicking seminars, and I’d be Lo-quacious and Lo-tacular everywhere I went. First, I’d rent out the whole Auberge du Soleil cuz I love all the acrobats and contortionists that are in the show. The Auberge would be my home base for the whole auction. I know one year Wine Spectator rented the whole place. And, just to show they were players too, Wine and Spirits took over the Calistoga Motel 6. “We’ll leave the lightweight on for you.” Mutineer Magazine had a trailer at the Old Grist Mill.

When my girlfriends and me read about those bigshot wine auctions, we want to gag. We start to dry heave reading about all the parties. Like the magnum party that dirigible Marvin Shanken throws every year. Everybody is supposed to bring a 1.5 to the party. I’m thinking, yeah, 1.5, that’s what most of those guys are carrying in their pants. Sure, I’m here just to help out the Napa Valley Hospital, donate to charity, not to flaunt my wealth and bad taste. See, I brought a magnum of  Dunn Howell Mountain, and it’s signed by Thurston Howell himself! Aren’t I fucking awesome!

I’m hoping that Millennials don’t keep that shit up. How stupid are Baby Boomers? So you go to Napa Valley, California, or Sonoma Valley, California, or Naples, Old Fuck Florida, and you rub elbows with rich people who own wineries. Wineries? That’s why you want to hang out with them? Because they own wineries? Idiots. They want to hang out with you because you’re the kind of fool whose money helps dig even bigger caves, builds even fancier wineries, finances and glorifies immodesty and decadence. They want to meet you worse than you could ever want to meet them. They got a lot of $150, 91-Point wine to sell you.

OK, here's the thing. One day, like three thousand years from now, if there even are humans and it’s not cockroaches running the world, some archaeologists are going to dig up Napa Valley and you know what they’re going to think? It’s the Egyptian Pharaohs all over again! Rich kings and queens who built shrines to themselves on hilltops, dug huge decorated caves filled with priceless knickknacks, the walls filled with glowing praise and indecipherable numbers, lived in enormous castles where they received the tributes of the little people--the tourists, the sychophants, the athletes in frilly panties, the marginally talented wine buyers and sommeliers who kissed their bungs and wore kneepads to beg for allocations. These kings of the 21st Century, who viewed themselves as artists and poets, as translators of God’s soil, the Chosen Cru! These titans once ruled the Land, and, once a year, they gave until it hurt. An auction. For good, to do good. It was the least they could do.

People from all over the world, three thousand years from now, will have themselves transported to the Napa Valley of the Kings to view the Seven Wonders of the Ancient Wine World. The Sterling tram, the molecular transporter of its day! One minute you were in the parking lot, the next you were magically levitated to a magnificent Moorish castle. Oh, how grand it must have been. And even today, September 5013, they still have 2009 Merlot to sell. And, look, there’s the rail bed of the Napa Valley Wine Train, rumored to have once hit six miles per hour, triple the average driving speed through St. Helena. And can that be the Temple of Darioush? Built entirely of expensive oak. Not the Temple, the reputation. Oh, Napa Valley, what a magical place this once must have been.

So that’s my plan. Just go every year to the Napa Valley Auction and buy all the shit. Wouldn’t that just ruin everybody’s fun? And isn’t that what money is for? Taking everything cool in life and making it all about money. The best stuff? You can’t afford it. Sorry. Fuck you, hey, we support the hospital. Without us, you’d wouldn’t have that job changing the bedpans.


21 comments:

Dave Miner said...

fucking Shakespeare!

Barb said...

Well done. Truly one of your best!

wine man boy said...

Fuck Shakespeare! This is Joe Eszterhas territory or even Alan Smithee. Go Alan!

wine man boy said...

Lo Hai Qu: perhaps you've seen this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK4jO80rmc0 thought of you!

The Sommeliere said...

Love this line: "I’d be drunker than a Vatican sommelier the whole time."

And, for the uninitated: The Vatican has the highest per capita of wine consumption in the world. Go Pope!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Every once in a while I get the urge to trot out Lo Hai Qu, allow her weird, obnoxious, observant voice to take over my comedy brain. I think the idea to write about wine auctions as Lo Hai Qu came from Paul Gregutt, in an email to me, though it was weeks ago. That suggestion fermented in my brain, and this was the result.

There's something tawdry about the most lavish wine auctions, something deeply strange and offensive, that, I hope, would offend members of Lo Hai Qu's generation. Those auctions, which could only be done for charity, so that charity becomes the excuse for the ostentation and decadence, reflect very poorly on what is otherwise a noble and culturally significant pursuit--winemaking. But making fun of it worked best, I felt, with Lo Hai Qu as spokesperson. I do so love her.

For those who care, both of you, I like the conceit of a fictional voice (the HoseMaster) writing in a fictional voice (Lo Hai Qu), but rather ineptly. The HoseMaster, it seems, can only sustain Lo's voice for so long, and then he inevitably butts in and rants in his own voice. It's a bit like seeing an old ventriloquist's lips move. Just that concept makes me laugh.

PaulG said...

Great stuff Ho-Lo! Book me a front row seat at the Auberge. That oughtta be some show!

Marcia Macomber said...

I loved the "Wine and Spirits took over the Calistoga Motel 6. “We’ll leave the lightweight on for you.” Mutineer Magazine had a trailer at the Old Grist Mill." Ha! Lo Hai Qu is so entertaining. Glad you let her have her rant today.

David Fish said...

that Napa Kings and Egyptian Pharaohs analogy is going to haunt my subconscious for a long, long time. Well played, Sir!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Paul,
Oh, the Chinese contortionists really make the show. Though I'm pretty good at putting my head up my ass too.

Marcia Love,
Lo Hai Qu is very therapeutic for me. I really do hear her voice, slight accent and all, when I write, and she makes me laugh. Though I wish she'd quit smoking. That hacking cough is killing me.

David,
It feels like an apt analogy, doesn't it? One day folks will be lined up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to view the archaeological Treasures of the Cave Dwelling Kings of Napa Valley.

Matt said...

Love it. Like a gunshot in an echo chamber.

Routinely get the same feeling reading through tasting dinners on wine berserkers.

Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka said...

I think we're granting far too much to assume Napa Valley will last long enough for archaeologists to even find. Ozymandias seems more likely.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Elaine,
Yikes, Shelley references! So Romantic.

My common taters are so full o' book learnin'.

Charlie Olken said...

This piece just drips of the Hosemaster in a way that other Lo Hai Qu jottings did not.

And I like it that way. Not your alter ego but your smart-mouthed daughter proving that the apple did not fall far from the tree.

And yes, I agree that it is one of your (her) best.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Charlie,
Some pieces seem to require the perspective of someone young, which the HoseMaster ain't. Lo Hai Qu gives me that fake perspective. The ineptness of the voice, the anachronisms and changing tone, have become one of the signatures of the Lo pieces. I didn't envision it that way, that's just how it has evolved. The fun of writing this blog for me is in the discovery of places in my head I haven't been before.

Scary in there.

Charlie Olken said...

You have said it before, and it is worth recalling now. Getting "into character" is not an easy process.

What I think we have seen is you getting more familiar with LHQ and finding a voice that is wonderfully original as well as being a member of the family at the same time.

And in the process, you are proving that you are younger than you confess to being. You have become your own child.

renzo said...

"Why you impudent twerp!" and a pointed "herp derp" was thus blurt by the wine royalty as your wit hit all too close to home.

They are usually immune on account of all the idolatry and moolah. But some arrows find their mark in spite of defenses.

You can keep explaining it away as just a silly thing you do with words... but the net effect is clear and true. It's only fermented grapes but I like it, like it, yes I do.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Charlie,
Becoming my own child may be a side effect of being a member of the Go Fuck Yourself Club.

I do write all of this as an exercise in creative writing, exploring voice and pace and all the foolishness that is comedy and satire. Lo Hai Qu is a work in progress, but a lot of fun, and a very new voice for me. The HoseMaster of the Dial MW saga is another voice I'm a bit more familiar with, but like to fool around doing. That folks like what I do, and many don't, is a nice fringe benefit, and very satisfying. Thanks for your continuing kindness and support.

Renzo,
As I said over at Jo Diaz's blog, if I'm not pissing someone off, I'm not doing it right. I like to think that I upset the right folks, but I don't lose any sleep over any of it. It's only wine, as you point out, and it's only comedy.

gabriel jagle said...

that was hilarious. and cool like polar bear stool

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Gabe,
I'm thinking Lo Hai Qu has coined the newest Millennial phrase.

And I am cool like polar bear stool. Thanks for noticing.

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.