Ah, I remember it well. August 8, 1974. The day a disgraced Richard Nixon left office in a go-to-hell-icopter from the White House lawn. I went out to the local liquor store in Cambridge, Mass., and they were all sold out of champagne. A Boston Globe reporter was even in the store writing a story about the sudden statewide champagne shortage. So early this morning, I went to Safeway to get a bottle.
It was a bottle of Taittinger brut, and the sign under it said it cost $29, marked down from $50. But when the clerk rang it up the price came to $39, marked down from $60. After a price check, the clerk said I'd grabbed a more expensive Taittinger, and asked if I wanted her to get the cheaper one.
"No, this is for Obama," I said, grandly, mostly to the people waiting impatiently in line. "And if McCain wins, we've got plenty of the cheap stuff at home."
Cheers and high-fives from everyone, especially the good union clerks and baggers. This may be white suburbia, but it's Marin County, California, soon to be part of the U.S.A. again. I hope.
Thinking the unthinkable: If the unthinkable happens, we'll be drinking that very drinkable Taittinger anyway. (Warning: Severe name-dropping ahead.) The great thing about champagne, as I told Claude Taittinger when he and I were at a fancy dinner in San Francisco a few years ago, is that you drink it in very good times and bad.
"Ah, oui, mon frere," he said to me, or something like that, and I reminded him of the greatest champagne movie of all time.
Remember Bogart and Bergman in "Casablanca" when the Nazis enter Paris? They pop a bottle of bubbly.
At least in this election the nasty totalitarians aren't about to enter our capital. They're already there.
Santé, and sanity.