I love old English. I became infatuated with it, believe it or not, while getting sober. The Big Book/First Edition, is a plethora of fun never before seen or heard words and phrases. Kind of like the Bible, but proven and factual.
War fever ran high in the New England town to which we new, young officers from Plattsburg were assigned, and we were flattered when the first citizens took us to their homes, making us feel heroic. Here was love, applause, war; moments sublime with intervals hilarious. I was part of life at last, and in the midst of the excitement I discovered liquor. I forgot the strong warnings and the prejudices of my people concerning drink. In time we sailed for “Over There.” I was very lonely and again turned to alcohol.
We landed in England. I visited Winchester Cathedral. Much moved, I wandered outside. My attention was caught by a doggerel on an old tombstone:
“Here lies a Hampshire Grenadier
Who caught his death
Drinking cold small beer.
A good soldier is ne’er forgot
Whether he dieth by musket
Or by pot.”
Ominous warning – which I failed to heed.
Twenty-two, and a veteran of foreign wars, I went home at last. I fancied myself a leader, for had not the men of my battery given me a special token of appreciation? My talent for leadership, I imagined, would place me at the head of vast enterprises which I would manage with the utmost assurance.
Course, what they don’t tell you when you are still wet behind the ears with cheap vodka? Bill Wilson loved to experiment with acid.
Today, I had been brought back to the era of back alley drunks, stoned out housewives and ‘hoods’!
a usually young man who does noisy and violent things as part of a group or gang.
a tough and violent criminal.
Fonzi had been considered a hoodlum. And, of course, Laverne and Shirley, often thought of as loose women.
Today, the word hooliganism is synonymous with politician.