Say When

     Some philosophical soul once wrote, “The average American doesn’t want much.  Just more than enough.”

     This thought came to me as I was sorting through the postcards in inventory under the subject heading of “Drinking”.  I was expecting to see vast numbers of cards dealing with the struggle of the over-served drinker to find a way home, the fumblings of the tipsy gent to get into the house unobserved by his vigilant wife, and the logic used by a well-oiled partygoer to deal with pay phones, clocks, and cigars.  These were all present, along with the gent making himself comfortable in a gutter for the night and the tendency of alcohol to make people think they can sing.

     But the overwhelming source of humor, at least among the cross-section of postcard history represented by my inventory, deals with another facet of drinking entirely.  These cards are concerned with getting enough to drink in the first place.

     What constitutes “enough” is, of course, up to every individual.  For some, it may be a daily bottle of the right stuff.

     Or a daily glass.  But the majority suggest that though variety is the spice of life, quantity is what matters at the core of the question.

     In other countries (this one comes from England) this might have been considered a valid concern.

     But in the United States, where Prohibition came in to trouble cartoonists in the second generation of postcards, it quickly became a matter of abandoning mere bottles for barrels.  And to get these barrels, necessitated by dry laws at home, they had to travel north of the border.

     Or south.

     Others had to find their solace in dreams.

     Though there were warnings that overindulgence, even in dreams, could have effects on one’s work.

     Even after 1933, with the repeal of Prohibition, the drive for a god supply (a reserve, if you will) continued.

     With the barrel and the bottle providing an answer to the constant thirst for that elusive more than enough.

     And for decades to come, the postcard world would reflect that basic desire to be filled with…contentment.  (The question of littering would be saved for another day.)

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