Extra: Bottoms Up on the Water

Michael Korb's take on drinking, a la Hemingway.

BY October 6, 2014











It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

If Florida needed a theme song that didn’t involve a mouse or golf grips, we could do worse than that Alan Jackson-Jimmy Buffet homage to lunch-hour inebriation. The thought of skipping out on all responsibility and heading off for a beverage at a dockside establishment helps to recalibrate all the ills of the American worker. 

Yes, while there are numerous benefits of drinking water, they are far outweighed by the decision to drink ON the water. And the argument can be made that most of them can be traced back to Key West’s greatest resident, Ernest Hemingway. The man understood the importance of alcohol in proximity to the sea. “I drink to make other people more interesting,” he is famously quoted as saying. Of course, this is from the same man who offered up this literary advice: “Write drunk. Edit sober.”

And he often wrote by the water. You see, the water gives us all endless possibilities. It leads anywhere. And, with the proper amount of liquid courage, adventure awaits. And even if you’re not looking for adventure, the combination of libation and escape is a powerful aphrodisiac. They are, after all, the adult version of chocolate and peanut butter: two great tastes that go great together.

At any of the area’s waterfront establishments, of which there are many (mostly in hotels), you’ll find people who get it. 

“There’s something about the fact that I can’t see the other side,” says Tommy, a late-forties media buyer for a Midwestern ad agency who refused to give his last name (perhaps due to the fact that the woman he was waiting for was not his wife) while on the patio of LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples. He was referring to the wide-open Gulf before him. “When you sit here, and half of the world before you is open water, well, half of your world is trouble-free. And the other half? Well, the booze is taking care of that.”

What more can you ask for? How about the fact that alcohol reduces coordination and hinders reflexes? Just one more thing to love about it. Mix that with the sound of waves gently lapping against the shore or a dock and it’s as close as we’ll get to re-living spring break. Luckily, as residents of Southwest Florida, we get to experience this anytime we want. Frankly, it’s a prerequisite to mastering the Florida lifestyle. The only danger? Pelican droppings in your margarita. 

Yep, Hemingway would probably tell us to wait a little longer to edit this.

For more on drinking in Southwest Florida, pick up a copy of our October issue on newsstands now.


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