The Harvey Wallbanger

Note: My father found my blog last week. He was less-than-thrilled with it–excerpt from his e-mail: “….found you on Vice (sic). While you appear to really know your beer, I’m not that pleased to have read the other parts…”–and thought I should quit blogging. I was less-than-thrilled with him google-snooping–a further excerpt: “If you were not using your own name, I would be laughing my head off. I just don’t want this supposed joke for a few friends that is now available to the world to hurt the son I love down the line.”–telling him that if he truly loved me he would never read this fucking site again. Thus, I wanted to tell a little is-it-true-or-isn’t-it tale of vice about him–and another: “[I] just want you to realize that what goes on the net is there forever. It is never a joke, and can be used against you as if it is the truth. People are losing court cases because of what lawyers find on the net about them…”–both to pay him back and to confirm whether or not he still reads this site. I’m guessing he still does, probably has it in his RSS feed, and won’t be able to avoid making comment very soon.

The Legend of the Harvey Wallbanger

The first drink I get at every wedding is a Harvey Wallganger. Because it tastes good? Naw. It’s kinda gross actually. And, if I’m overheard ordering it I look like a weirdo. I get a kick out of it though.

I’ve had to memorize the sparse ingredients and how to make it: vodka and OJ with a “float” of Galliano. You probably don’t even know what Galliano is. Most people don’t nowadays and most bars don’t even stock it. It’s an Italian low-proof sweet liqueur made up of over thirty herbals. It ain’t exactly pleasant–though some people still swear by it!–and it comes in a funny-lookin’ bottle. It hasn’t been en vogue since at least the 1960s, back when people were still having fondue parties.

After a wedding I rush to the cocktail hour, no need to waste time, hoping I make it to the open bar before any one else. I usually ask for several drinks at once (all for me) in order to create a diversion for my Harvey Wallbanger order. Causing the bartender and others around to be unclear if the oddball cocktail is actually for me.

Of course, at most weddings, it’s hard to get an alone moment at the bar, so people do in fact hear me order one.

What did you just order?!”

When I explain what I am now explaining to you, the Legend of the Harvey Wallbanger–assuming I have time–they usually get a kick out of it. Guys want to get a Harvey for themselves, to join in on the fun experience, and girls want to be the awesome funny guy’s ad hoc date.

Only problem is, the 19-year-old misfits running the bar have usually never heard of a Harvey Wallbanger, having spent most of their $350 learn-how-to-bartend-in-two-days training in learning how to shake up a rum and coke, a vodka tonic, maybe a Cosmo. You know, the complex shit.

The further problem is that the prison release program bartender has no idea what Galliano is.

By now a crowd is forming around me, wanting me to get my Harvey! Find the Galliano every one is demanding!

So the bartender has to dig around for it. It’s usually on the absolute highest or absolute lowest out-of-the-way shelf. Sometimes in a cabinet. Caked in dust and with water-wrinkled labeling that makes you realize the bottle was purchased in the Eighties. Often, it is not found at all.

Such was the case at the last wedding I attended. There’s really no substitute for Galliano as far as I can tell. I told the bartender to float some Sambuca on top and it kinda was the same, but not really. Still crappy tasting at least. Oh well. Maybe I should just start carrying tiny airline-sized Galliano bottles with me to weddings. That way I could just order a screwdriver–still a weird drink to get at a formal affair if you ask me–and then float my own Galliano on the sly.

So why do I put myself through this? Besides for a hilarious story to tell you people? I do it as a tribute to my father. Indulge me…

My father is one of the more healthy, vibrant 56-year-olds I know. He’s still in great shape, playing five-set tennis matches three or four times a week, and he eats well, avoiding shitty foods and the other kinds of toxic things most of us put into our body. He’s conservative, but not in the crazy way. Just a good, moral man. Kind to all, never harmed a fly, loves his family and his pets.

Nowadays, and for the entirety of my life, he has not been a drinker. He may not be a teetotaler but he is at worst a teepartialer. Teemostlyer? I’ve probably seen him have less than a dozen alcoholic beverages in the last three decades. In fact, I can recall once as a teen walking into the family’s living room to find my dad nursing a Corona while watching television. That might be a normal sight for most children, but for me, it was the weirdest fucking thing I had ever seen.

AARON: Dad?! What ARE you doing?!

VICE DAD: I’m having a beer.

He looked at me like I was the crazy one. That was such a strange answer he gave me. I was certain he was going through a mid-life crisis and about to get a divorce. Nope. Sometimes a shitty beer is just a shitty beer. I guess he was actually enjoying his one single beer for the decade of the Nineties.

But apparently, he wasn’t always this way. The following details are hearsay and speculation and conjecture and maybe even completely made up.

Seems my pops was the best man at some wedding…oh…well it musta been in the early-1970s. My mom accompanied him as his date but was not yet his wife so this would put us at circa 1974 let’s say.

Back then my dad had a gorgeous Jew-fro. Now he’s bald like George Costanza but back then his hair was thick, curly, kinky, and lustrous like Gabe Kaplan’s iconic coif. As the best man he wore a baby blue leisure suit tuxedo. I’ve seen the picture. Ruffley tuxedo shirt, clown-sized bow-tie, white patent leather shoes, the whole nine.

Now apparently dad was throwing back Harvey Wallbangers with abandon that night.

And then…

Dad threw up Harvey Wallbangers all over his rental tuxedo, right in the middle of the dance floor.

I don’t know what you would do in this scenario, but this is apparently what he did…

He completely stripped the tuxedo from his body and balled it up at my mom’s high-heeled feet. Now wearing nothing but his underwear–being the Seventies I’m guessing they were Jim Palmer-esque Jockey shorts–he exited the reception hall with more eyes on him than on the opening kickoff at the Super Bowl, took the elevator upstairs to his hotel room, and passed out asleep. Leaving my mom to justify his actions, offer embarrassed apologies, and go return the filthy tux.

And that’s why the Harvey Wallbanger is the first drink I order at every single wedding I attend. But I’ve never thrown it up. I’m a better drinker than my old man.


2 Responses to The Harvey Wallbanger

  1. Anton says:

    Hilarious. Did the Vice Dad’s Jew Fro extend elsewhere and be seen by the audience?

  2. Aaron Goldfarb says:

    An excellent question. I recommend you DON’T ask him that.

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