Monday, February 07, 2005

The Three Martini Lunch
No, I have not decided to try drunk blogging. I'll leave that to the VodkaPundit. As some of you know, I was a restaurateur before becoming a tech-head and thus possess a super critical eye when it comes to food and drink. This has led me to consider on more than one occasion the loss of The Three Martini Lunch and its replacement by caffeinated cocktails like iced tea and soft drinks.

These ruminations usually occur when I have to go out to lunch for business with people who invariably lack the skill and grace of previous generations of luncheon goers. In this bygone era of Luncheon Clubs there were customs and routines people knew to follow, and if the client who was being entertained wanted a Martini then everyone knew to go along. Today's lunches have fewer conventions for people to fall back upon, far fewer Luncheon Clubs, and many more faux pas instead. The first predictable gaffe occurs when the waiter asks what everyone will have to drink. I always glide through this situation by ordering a club soda, unless of course it is a liquid lunch and others are ordering strong restoratives. Sadly, these sort of occasions are few and far between. Much more frequent are tables of uncomfortable people trying to decide between iced tea or cola.

This all leads me to wonder if we would have ever put anybody on the Moon if it hadn't been for The Three Martini Lunch. Consider this: a table full of people who have had a Martini or two to begin their midday repast and one of them suggests putting a man on the Moon. His fellow lunchers with feelings of bonhomie would slap him on the back and tell him the idea was brilliant. That is how I imagine it actually happened. Flash to today’s lunch and ask yourself could the same conversation occur today? I think not. Anybody suggesting such an idea would be reminded of the costs, the possible loss of life, and the tremendous amount of time and effort it would entail. The idea would quickly be dismissed and everybody would rush back to their offices after wolfing down a quick lunch. I realize this is all an oversimplification but it’s how I often feel during these lunches. The bottom line: we could never have put a man on the Moon without The Three Martini Lunch to lower our inhibitions and to allow our minds to ponder the previously unattainable.

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