Saturday, October 6, 2012

Champagne for Caesar

I'm off on a European speaking tour and was just connecting with a friend who lives in Paris. She told me this strange story. While attending a wine and cheese tasting event on a riverboat in the Seine, she was handed a sword -- a long, curved scimitar -- and asked to open a bottle of champagne. What you do, they told her, is rub the sword along the curve of the bottle neck until the cork pops out. She was skeptical but she tried it and worked! And so it has occurred to me that this offers an interesting history lesson. Champagne is the cause of man's predilection for war. Not a psychological disposition of human beings, but Champagne! Swords were created in order to facilitate the problem of corkage. So once again the French have had their impact on history and they have left us with a double-edged (pun intended) legacy. On the one hand, incessant warfare. On the other, the joy of champagne. So next time you are enjoying a glass of bubbly, offer up a toast to Mars. (And be sure to open the bottle with a sword.)

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