Cardinals, Popes, Saints and Prophets

In my “on the road” days, I hung out with some very dis-epitomable maestros of the louche living style. These folks were paragons of what not to do with a wasted lifestyle. But they were fun to watch…just as long as you didn’t try to match their ridiculous exploits. And I no slouch myself took the advice of my close friend and learned from their example rather than trying to keep up with them.

The clearest example I can think of is a drinking game they always tried to conquer; Cardinals. If I recall the game, you sat at the table with a beer and recited, “I drink to the Cardinal Puff for the first time tonight.” You then picked up the glass, banged it once against the table, and chugged the contents making sure to drink every drop. Well, even I could do that. But it got more complicated. Somewhere around the fifth repetition, with five bangs and the five repetitions of puff, errors kicked in. Every time you made a mistake, you chugged a fresh glass and started over from scratch. Well, these idiots were hardcore. Those of us more sensible played cards, monitored from the background and held the heads of those who yielded to “worshipping the throne” to get rid of all that beer.
Then one night, it escalated to a new form, Popes; I forget the drink they used. Fewer made it to Pope, and the record seemed to be set.

It must have been a month later that someone proposed new levels beyond Pope – Saint and Prophet. Luckily the debate raged endlessly over what the drinks should be beer, wine, or booze and what the record holder would get. From the other room came the clear soprano of John’s fiance, a nurse in the Emergency Ward of the Mass General Hospital. She declared the winner would get cirrhosis and die of alcohol toxicity.
Somehow that put the damper on the game, at least for then.

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