When I was a child, my best friend Jenny complimented me like celery salt compliments a glass rim. We did everything together – flips on the trampoline, historical American Girl Doll reenactments, Worcestershire saber fighting – everything. She was more wholesome and healthy than tomato juice, and good at sports too. I was weird, with thick bangs and a chubby tummy that stuck out like a green olive on a toothpick.
When Jenny moved to a different elementary school, I felt as watery and insubstantial as the beginning of a C.C. Club bloody mary at breakfast, you know, before you start to get a little drunk and it tastes good. But I took the caper-in-the-straw that life had presented me and I spit it right back into my drink. I would truck on.
I made new friends, like Joan, who was a complex little girl down the block. When you looked at her, you know there was a lot you weren’t seeing, like a cherry tomato and a cube of cheddar cheese sunk to the bottom of a bloody mary somewhere other than the C.C. club, like maybe at Uptown Cafeteria, where they have a build-it-yourself bar. Jill was cool with a sassy bite, like Absolut Peppar on ice, everything that came out of her mouth tangy and pickled.
My friends were more than just two-for-one whiskey diets. They had enough sodium to make me cry, but at least as much substance as one serving of vegetables. Now I’m all grown up, and I’ve learned to have a beer chase in hand when looking at the past.
*Names have been changed, but all is true. Except for the fact that this was sponsored by The C.C. Club. That’s not true.
–Becky Lang’s favorite bloody marys are possibly at Pizza Luce downtown.