This year, I have one New Year’s resolution to start our 21st Century version of the Roaring Twenties, and unlike all previous unsuccessful ones from January 1st’s long past, I’m following through with this one … no, seriously, honest … I really mean it.
More Happy Hours.
The term “happy hour” can be traced back to Shakespeare. King Henry never wanted to miss one, “Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour, that may give furtherance to our expedition”, and neither did that bon vivant Falstaff, “Come, I will go drink with you, but I cannot (stay for) dinner.”
It became popular again in last century’s Roaring Twenties, when people during the Prohibition Era would meet secretly to share a few drinks for a happy hour or two, before going to a public restaurant for dinner, where alcohol consumption was illegal.
These days, it has been commercialized by bars and pubs, where the price for drinks and appetizers are significantly discounted for a few happy hours, usually to attract the after-work crowd.
But, the true beauty of happy hour is that it is different things to different people. Happy hour is an attitude and a way of life. The location doesn’t matter, it can be on your back deck, living room, in a pub or a park. The people involved can, and should, vary. Happy hours may involve food and beverages, or just food, or just beverages. And, the beverages can be alcoholic, but they don’t need to be.
I’ve only recently discovered the Zen of Happy Hour, but I think I have figured out its essential three elements.
- You need to earn it. The best happy hours come after a hard day, you’ve put in a good effort, did your best, got a lot done, now it’s time to relax and unwind.
- Happy hours need to be communal. A small group of family, friends, neighbours, co-workers. And, if possible, multi-generational. It’s great for your spirits to be around people, many people, different people. But, not too big a group as voices need to be heard. It’s happy hour for crying out loud, not a cocktail party.
- Topics of discussion must be interesting. The day’s events, contemporary issues, philosophy, great books and movies. And, of course, the Leafs.
My own best happy hours tend to involve a great cast of characters, with a glass of bourbon and a cigar to relax the mood. And it’s the Falstaff in all of us that inevitably leads to someone saying, “how about another, and let’s skip dinner?”
Wishing everyone thousands of happy hours as we start our Roaring Twenties. Cheers!