A few years ago, I quit drinking on Cinco de Mayo. Yes, really, I did. Cinco de Mayo is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. It has roots in the French occupation of Mexico, which took place in the aftermath of the Mexican–American War of 1846–1848 and the 1858–1861 Reform War. The Reform War was a civil war that pitted Liberals, who believed in separation of church and state and freedom of religion, against the Conservatives, who favored a tight bond between the Roman Catholic Church and the Mexican State. I know you’re thinking some of this sounds like it’s happening in the world today.
These wars left the Mexican Treasury nearly bankrupt. On July 17, 1861, Mexican President Benito Juárez issued a moratorium in which all foreign debt payments would be suspended for two years. In response, France, Britain, and Spain, not being benevolent sorts, sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, at the time ruled by Napoleon III, decided to use the opportunity to establish a Latin empire in Mexico that would favor French interests. The French outnumbered the Mexicans by over 4000 troops and were better armed, but the feisty Mexicans won the battle, and I would say that is a good reason for the Mexicans to celebrate. One suggestion I’d like to make here is that Mexico help King Rump build his damn wall to keep him and his manic minions out of their country.
In America, Cinco de Mayo is largely set aside as a day to drink heavily and in my case, remember a lot of W.C. Fields quotes that I can’t submit to paper here for fear of sending my editor to the nearest bar.
I did not stop drinking because I’m British or Spanish and not because I’m French and mourned our humiliating loss at the hands of a few ragtag Mexicans. I quit because I got tired of being Sicko de Mayo the next day. Now don’t get me wrong. I have not become a teetotaler and will on occasion have a glass of wine or Scotch to avoid the water (stop me before I slip into my best W.C. Fields voice).
There is a point and a deeper meaning to all this, and that is that I am now attempting to quit or at least control another bad habit that often leaves me waking up the next day feeling sick and/or wanting to drink heavily: writing constantly about politics, especially on Facebook. Just before I put this virtual pen to virtual paper, I read that King Rump signed an executive order to advance the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Oil pipelines.
In his song, “Spanish Pipe Dream,” John Prine advises blowing up your TV, tearing your newspaper to shreds, and running away to a farm with a stripper. I didn’t blow up my TV, but I did turn it off, and I did tear up my newspaper. I’ll leave the last of Mr. Prine’s suggestions to your imagination.
Due to technical frustrations AKA problems there is no podcast for now. But there may be later on in the week so please stay tuned.