College Level Philosophy: The Wine Edition

Would you rather be the primary beneficiary in the will of
a successful small winery owner from Sonoma or the primary
beneficiary in the will of one of the greatest wine collectors in the world?

Would you rather be a powerful and influential wine writer
or a powerful and influential wine retailer?

DarksideBack in my college days, particularly during my time in the dorms, that part of the weekend evening would arrive when most of the shenanigans were over, it was late, and a small crew of five or six of us still had unconsumed liquid, a few cigarettes and some other options at our disposal.

Inevitably we would end up in one of our small dorm rooms, piled on the various chairs, beds and rugs. We'd briefly argue over what to put on the stereo. Four out of five times we could all agree that Pink Floyd would be best.

Once we were comfortably installed, freshly lubricated with beer or Jägermeister or bad wine or "other", and once "Dark Side of the Moon" had reached its pinnacle moment with "Great Gig In the Sky" (5th track, side 1), It was then that that the generally Freshman-level, pseudo-intellectual conversations would begin.

Thankfully I recall very little detail about these late evenings. However, I do recall that eventually and inevitably, we would arrive at a point in the evening (or morning) when we would play "WOULD YOU RATHER…".

This is a simple game in which a choice between two specific options is posed and each person is forced to choose one option and justify their choice. No offering of a third option.

There was always at least one member of the lubricated circle that would go immediately for the morbid when it was their turn to pose the "would you rather" question. "Would you rather die drowning or in flames?" "Would you rather have your pinky finger or your big toes removed with a dull knife?" From these kinds of queries you would occasionally have an anatomy or biology major discuss the fine points of the central nervous system. These kinds of questions I thought were dull and I'd try to move the conversation on quickly: "Toe: Too much explaining with the the pinky gone."

But occasionally, really interesting moral quandaries would result from the questions. Or, someone would ask a question that revealed in the various responses participants' most basic or most complex desires for their future: "Would you rather meet God or the Devil?" "Would you rather see an infant or the mother of infants saved from a burning building?"

If you had a good crew of participants and enough substances to sustain you, this could go on until dawn.

I was reminded of "Would You Rather" while watching a film recently in which the female protagonist had a habit of asking such questions out of the blue, making her seem just a little schizophrenic. But it did bring me back to those days in the dorm and provoke me to compose the questions above.

Please, feel free to open a bottle of wine (or whatever) and offer your responses to the above.



8 Responses

  1. Andrea - July 27, 2012

    I would like to be a powerful wine writer who owns a small Sonoma winery. Didn’t have to think twice about it. 🙂

  2. Daniel - July 27, 2012

    winery owner…then you’d really have something to go forward with. owning the wine collection would be great to drink (or sell!), but it wouldn’t be really ‘yours’. you’d have no connection to the wines.
    retailer, then you get to actually put bottles in people’s hands, not just write about it.

  3. Tom Wark - July 27, 2012

    But Andrea, the way the game is played is that you must offer a justification for your choice. Have at it.

  4. Tom Wark - July 27, 2012

    I see your points. However, some might say that the problem with having something to go forward with (a winery), is having something to go forward with.

  5. JohnLopresti - July 27, 2012

    Q.1. Beneficiary to the wine collector, not the owner of a winery. Wine collectors tend to be complex, diverse people. Being the primary beneficiary to the estate of such an individual might bestow a wide range of benefits far beyond mere cellar hallways stocked with prize winning wines.
    Q.2. Be the writer not the retailer. For now, the keyboard brings sufficient value to the industry, can border on the poetic, and does not demand genius in matters mercantile. The writer can be a dilettante and have a happy, creative life.
    Q.1 part B. Still…I know one family winery owner who, if I were to have access to owning that ‘small’ winery, I might reconsider…
    Q.2 part B. In a world in which distributing is optional…
    Say, was that you that started playing Tales of Brave Ulysses, in the Clapton, Bruce, Baker version from England? I thought the next PinkFloyd groove was something about a motor scooter?
    I hear it now. “It’s getting near dawn…”
    that Clapton was one good blues guitarist.

  6. Vino Pete - July 30, 2012

    I would go with the collector as I am a wine consumer at heart.
    When you get a chance:
    I just launched Vino Pete – Wines of the West Coast Reviewed Weekly – California & the Pacific Northwest here:
    Stop by and enjoy!
    thank you,
    Vino Pete

  7. Doug Wilder - July 30, 2012

    “Would you rather be a powerful and influential wine writer or a powerful and influential wine retailer?”
    Who ever said it had to be a choice?

  8. Tom Wark - July 30, 2012

    Of course, there NEED not be a choice. But then there are the rules of this silly game to consider.

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