The Vodka the Blood and the Miraculous Coffee

by Evan Rothman

I WAS DRUNK-VERY DRUNK. SO drunk, in fact, that when my friends dragged me out of the Greenwich Village bar for trying to pick a fight with a six-and-a-half-foot bouncer who had looked at me funny for stumbling into him, I was holding two double vodka shots, both for myself. I was also, of course, recently dumped and burrowing further into the dumps. Post-collegiate blues, 1992.

Once outside, I continued to rant and rave about this cretin who'd dared look at me sideways for an honest mistake in equilibrium, bringing myself to a righteous froth, when suddenly I was no longer upright. In fact, I was facedown on the sidewalk. The culprit? A fire hydrant in my (wobbly) path.

This sent me into a fit of laughter; my friends were amused, too, until they saw the blood coursing down from the gash where my forehead had conked the concrete. Then a well-dressed gay couple appeared on the scene.

"He needs coffee," said one to the other, who nodded and then set off, presumably to try to find a diner still open at 1 A.M.

The man returned a few minutes later, not with an extra-large-black-no-sugar but rather with coffee grounds, which he rubbed into the cut with brisk, no-nonsense efficiency. Presto—the bleeding stopped. Coffee, as it turns out, works as a coagulant. My friends, dumbstruck, thanked these Good

Samaritans as they went on their way, presumably to rescue other imbeciles in need.

I would love to say that the coffee grounds also sobered me up. Alas, that process took several more hours. One thing I do know: They must have used decaf, because I slept like a baby that night.

Evan Rothman, a freelance writer in Brooklyn, has always been a lightweight when it comes to drinking. The former executive editor of Golf Magazine, he now confines his alcohol consumption mostly to the golf course.

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