Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Welcome to the Bunghole

Bunghole (noun): /bəNGˌhōl/ An aperture through which a cask can be filled or emptied. (But everyone knows you really mean "anus.")

Because we live in a swamp that masquerades as a suburb, even at dusk it hit 90 degrees with one-billionty percent humidity. Just a typical summer evening in Northern Virginia. On the plus side, it was a Friday night and perfect weather for a tinto de verano -- made with one part red table wine and one part cold lemon soda. It's a lot like sangria, but without any uppity fruit trying to add health to your drinking equation.

I usually keep a few cans of San Pellegrino's Limonata soda on hand because it's delicious and because buying cans of Sprite doesn't give me the same self-important thrill. However, thanks to my migraines, red wine is less frequently stocked. But on the Friday night in question, my husband and I gamely dug through our cupboard and liquor cabinet and voila (or "wah-lah," as they seem to say on the Internet), we unearthed a bottle of meritage. It was a housewarming gift we'd received a few months earlier that had gotten wedged behind the Wild Turkey and Captain Morgan's Rum because . . . priorities.

We'd never had a meritage before, and for all we knew, it was a hundred-dollar bottle of wine, but expensive or not, we forged ahead with our plan to adulterate that wine and drink it from giant plastic tumblers on our deck. Pork Chop, at only 16 months old, had been previewing the terrible twos for us all day. No expense would be spared to treat our PTSD (psychotic toddler stress disorder).

Shelby plunked ice cubes into our tumblers and popped the tabs on the soda cans. I fetched the corkscrew and hoisted the wine from our counter. That's when I finally looked at the bottle, when I actually registered something other than, "I love you. I want you inside of me."

The bottle's label was suspiciously amateur -- flimsy, somehow water stained, and secured to the bottle only at the top two corners. Then I noticed a name, in faded peach-colored font, above two clip art apples on the righthand side of the label: The Sulliivans.

"Could that be right?" I asked myself, "'Sullivan' with two i's?"

But the sun was getting ready to set and the chilled tumblers were waiting. Despite my apprehensions, I uncorked the bottle.

There are a few things I look forward to when opening a bottle of wine: the charming pop of the cork, the tang of acidity mingled with the softer floral notes, and other stuff I read about in The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert. A slimy black cork is not one of those things.

"Shelby," I yelled, "come look at this. Does this look a little off to you?"

"Ew. Is that black stuff on the cork?"

"Yeah, man, it's black. That's weird, right? You think it's still good?"

"Well, let's just Google it to be safe."

And that's how two grown adults with advanced degrees decided to handle an obviously moldy bottle of wine -- by turning to the all-knowing, all-seeing Internet. We weren't quite ready to let go of our tinto de verano dream.

A quick search of the label's "Washington Meritage" immediately brought up "wine kit." And the mystery began to unravel.

"We got regifted!" I announced with a dramatic arch of my brow.

"Oh my god. The Sullivans were their neighbors." Shelby said, referring to the regift-givers. "They gave us a bottle of their neighbors' stank homemade wine!"

"Neighbors who can't even spell their own name correctly," I added.


The story should really end there. But as a future Darwin Award winner, curiosity won out.

"Wanna try some?" I asked Shelby.

He looked at me. For a long time.

"Yeah, that's gonna be a hard no."

I was undeterred by the rotten cork, so it should come as no surprise that I was also undeterred by the smell, which somehow hurt my eyes. I grabbed the bottle by its neck, brought it to my lips, hesitated, and then took a dainty sip.

"NOPE. Nope." I choked, "Pour it out. Get it out. Get it away from me."

It tasted like aspirational Robitussin, if Robitussin aspired to be vinegar.

Tinto de verano was officially off of the menu. But fearing for my health, Shelby whipped up a vodka martini for me in order to neutralize any wine kit amoeba.

And all of this brings me to an admittedly strange point: I don't think regifting is really so bad. If you're lucky enough to have a big family or a large group of friends, the birthdays, weddings, and baby showers can bleed you dry. And even if you don't have a particularly large flock to which you must regularly dole out heartfelt Starbucks gift cards, money is money. Why buy your dinner hostess a brand-spanking new bottle of wine when there's a perfectly good bottle at the back of your pantry, waiting to find its forever home?

But that's the trick. It has to be a good bottle of wine. Not something your neighbor fermented in his old pair of Docksiders.

So, although that dubious meritage was poured down the drain (where it is, doubtless, eating through our pipes), I think the regifting issue deserves additional attention. Check back here on Friday, when I will provide you with some helpful regifting do's and don'ts. (Spoiler alert: No one wants the TP cover knitted by your MeeMaw.) So I'll see you back here on Friday. Or else.

Folks, if you enjoy this blog, consider using the Follow by Email doodad on the right side of your screen so that you never miss a post. We're talking about 1 or 2 emails per week of free and unadulterated fun times! The same can't be said for relying on Facebook, which often shares updates only with a small group of fans. Don't get left out! Bend to peer pressure! Do it! Do it now! Just do it! (Thanks.) Now do it.

21 comments:

  1. This is literary gold. And your ahem, friends, that re-gifted you unholy wine, do they per chance read your blog? Haha Shame on them! And only YOU would properly re-gift the word bunghole into the title of your post. Love you more with every post.

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    1. Some names may have been changed to protect the offenders. But, really, I'm not sure why I should care whether they read this. They tried to KILL ME. (And thank you, Pattie!)

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  2. I went looking for the original Regretsy post where we first met the ridicule of "Wah-lah," but instead I found this other apparentfan of Regretsy, who turned some shoes "from blah to wa-LAH" and, apropos to this post's title, has the unfortunate blog URL (and more unfortunate human name), "laurejanus."

    http://laurejanus.blogspot.com/2014/04/4-months-later.html

    "Laurejanus."

    WAH-LAH!

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    1. HAHAHA. Anus. WAH-LAH, your name sucks . . . butts.

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  3. I must tell you that in college my roommate, Ashley, got me a shirt with the word bunghole on it. It had the dictionary definition and everything, right on the front of the t-shirt. The next part should not be surprising. I went home for the summer break and wore that shirt to bed one night. When I came downstairs to join dad for breakfast he promptly made me go change the shirt. Classic Dad! Loved the post. -Sarah :-)

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    1. I remember it well. The "Bunghole Liquors" shirt? Oh, yeah, I remember it.

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  4. As soon as my nose got one whiff of that stank wine my stomach would be screaming "OH HELL NO!" Factor in the slime as well and I'd have no trouble or guilt dumping that wine.

    And bunghole. Bwahaha. Dying laughing over here. "I NEED TP FOR MY BUNGHOLE!" Yea, I watched Beavis Butthead a lot growing up.

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    1. I loved Beavis and Butthead! I've watched it as full-grown lady and still laughed. And, trust me, I drank the wine because I was curious and criminally dumb, not because I felt guilty.

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  5. Oh my god, I am laughing so hard right now! What a beautifully told tale of the sinister and comedic in one. Thanks for the lift in my, um, spirit!

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  6. By the way, when my child was 14 months or so I let her lick a puddle in Central Park. My sister told me not to do that. I said, but you have six kids and you told me it was fine if the baby ate my shoes. Shoes! she said. Shoes, not rain water in a dirty puddle. Have you heard of cholera? Oops. I thought I was nurturing her free spirit but I was apparently endangering the welfare of a minor. At least you kept your son out of harm's way!

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    1. Is it wrong that I snorted wine up my nose at the combination of "cholera" and "nurturing her free spirit"?

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  7. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU TRIED IT! Although I'm glad you did because this: "It tasted like aspirational Robitussin, if Robitussin aspired to be vinegar." And I'm totally using bunghole in regular conversations today.

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    1. I can't believe I did either. I'm such a puss most of the time. It's like I can only be adventurous when there's an opportunity to cause myself bodily injury for no good reason at all.

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  8. Bwahaha! "It tasted like aspirational Robitussin, if Robitussin aspired to be vinegar." Hilarious!

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    1. Not gonna lie: I'm kind of proud of that line. It captures that wine EXACTLY.

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  9. Geez, lady. It was a super funny story but honestly all I kept thinking was GEEZ CAN THIS WOMAN WRITE.

    (And also, strangely, now I want a glass of wine.)

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    1. You are good for my ego, Kristen Mae. Thanks! And, seriously, go make yourself a tinto de verano. Then maybe you will understand why I was willing to risk an epic case of diarrhea.

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  10. This is sounding disjointed because I actually read your next blog before scrolling back to this one. The segue way (sp?) is brilliant. Anyway, hope you flushed it.

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  11. "NOPE. Nope." I can hear it and see the look on your face. Freaking hilarious, Jessica.

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  12. omg, I want you inside me? Bahahahahaha! Loved this, but do NOT love nasty stinky vinegar wine! Ugh. Party foul, for real. :(

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