Joseph Mitchell’s great Fulton Market character Old Mr. Flood is drinking whiskey, and talking about drinking whiskey.
I love it and I depend on it but I don’t approve of it. When I think of all the trouble it’s caused me, I feel like I ought to pick some distillery at random and sue it for sixty-five million dollars. Still and all, there’ve been times if it hadn’t been for whiskey, I don’t know what would’ve become of me. It was either get drunk or throw the rope over the rafter. I’ve thought a lot about this matter over the years and I’ve come to the conclusion there’s two ways of looking at whiskey—it gives and it takes away, it lifts you up and it knocks you down, it hurts and it heals, it kills and it resurrects—but whichever way you look at it, I’m glad I’m not the man that invented it. That’s one thing I wouldn’t want on my soul.
On the subject of the man who invented alcohol, Mr. Flood continues:
When you stop and think of the mess and the monkey business and the fractured skulls and the commotion and the calamity and the stomach distress and the wife beating and the poor little children without any shoes and the howling and the hell raising he’s been responsible for down through the centuries—why Good God A’mighty! whoever he was, they’ve probably got him put away in a special brimstone pit, the deepest, red-hottest pit in hell, the one the preachers tell about, the one without any bottom.
Then, after taking a long drink, “And then again, just as likely, he might’ve gone to heaven.”