Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.
I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.
Sunday, November 24, 2019
It had been a very trying week. At the start of it I was in full-on work mode, engaged in another of the competitive micro-elections for money in which I have been performing for the past thirty seven rather marvelous years.
But then, through no fault of either mine nor my competitor, it all just ....stopped. The proceedings halted and ultimately nullified. Only to be replayed at some future date. This sort of thing is deflating in the extreme. You have nowhere to expend all of the build up energy and focus that were fueling you for the event. Well, I suppose if one were a runner, or an exerciser, but I have sterling credentials as neither of those.
What to do? To quote one of my favorite characters from a movie long ago, "ROAD TRIP". My favorite casino happens to be a modest drive away and I rapidly claimed a complimentary room, booked dinner at the excellent hotel restaurant, threw a small Italian leather bag into my trunk and drove west. Feeling none the best for wear I might say. I almost talked myself out of the trip. But the dedicated Epic learns to follow his inner voice in such matters.
Upon arrival I got settled into my room and considered soaking in the large hot tub. Apparently someone in the booking office was under the impression I was planning a much more complicated escapade that was the case. Avoiding a bath that would have probably put me to sleep, I straightened my tie and headed downstairs to the caisse to exchange some money for chips.
It should surprise no returning Epic that I was the only person on display on the casino floor wearing a coat and tie. Nor should it surprise anyone that the feel of casino chips in my hand and the distinctive clacking noise they make when you riffle them against a green baize surface is a soothing influence to the my heart and soul.
It had been some time since I last played Roulette but my weariness from the week's events and a three visit losing streak at Blackjack prompted me to a simple plan of action at the table of the spinning wheel based upon James Bond's system. Which was based on John Scarne's system I believe. A solid notion. With that firmly in mind I had a "half and half" martini in the cocktail lounge and headed to the steakhouse for dinner to further fortify myself for the evening ahead.
I don't always have steak when I dine out but when I do I have steak au poivre. It is another sad feature of the current era how difficult it is to find a great steak, crusted in peppercorns, with a brandy cream sauce. A French bistro classic now relegated to the novelty list. On one less than memorable occasion, I asked a waiter why the "steak au poivre" that had been perfectly cooked and delivered to my table had no flavor. The horrifying answer was "People kept sending it back because it was peppery". Good lord. Why on earth would someone order steak AU POIVRE and object to it being steak au poivre? I digress. The casino steakhouse in question makes the dish perfectly. I suspect that from the great beyond James Beard weeps with joy every time someone makes it there. A large wonderful filet [I know, I know, the classic should be a strip steak but I occasionally allow myself a slight turn away from tradition] cooked medium rare, with a significant peppercorn crust and a perfect and silky pan sauce which served to slightly soften the heat of the pepper in the way the first chef to make the dish certainly planned. Magnificent...
With a glass or two of a very good Pinot Noir the old life compass was slowly swinging to the proper course. After that outstanding steak I celebrated the existence of at least a few chefs who can still prepare it properly by ordering what in that locale has come to be known as the M****** Sundae. Simple but the perfect sequent to my entree....
Fully bucked for the remainder of the evening, I sauntered back to the main Roulette table where I whiled away several hours in the company of a couple of nice croupiers and a very attentive cocktail waitress. I ended the evening happily ahead of the house.
Somewhat later, relaxing in that tub with a snifter of cognac, I considered the word "languid". One of my favorite adjectives. I love the way the word sounds. It is one of those words which immediately conjures up just the sort of evening I had experienced. Or the look in the eyes of certain women at certain times. It shouldn't surprise me that the primary definitions of languid are pejorative but I put this down to a cultural variant in the U.S. where the lack of "proper" [i.e. energy and goal driven] activities are usually looked at with a cocked eyebrow. I prefer the alternative definition of languid which is "leisurely". Sensual leisure. The Epicurean definition of the word. And of a superior evening.
In my early 60s, widower, father and itinerant storyteller. I am a putative jazz singer, poet and novelist, dedicated to mining every minute of life for the veins of pleasure they contain. My motto is "Dum Vivimus, Vivamus"..."While we Live--LET US LIVE".