Here's to alcohol, the rose-colored glasses of life. [F.Scott Fitzgerald]
Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. [Ernest Hemingway]
Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals, such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer. [Dave Barry]
Heck, bar bets and tricks are so prevalent, you can find numerous books and videos that'll teach you how to
Other bar bets have been more consequential, like when Ernest Hemingway bet Howard Hawks he couldn't make a good movie from his worst novel. (He could... and he did. To Have and Have Not)
Or when Bennett Cerf bet a client that he couldn't write a book using fifty or less distinct words. (He could... and he did. That client, Theodore Geisel, used the pen name Dr. Seuss to write Green Eggs and Ham.)
But today, we aren't going to worry about the silly, the clever, or the consequential bar bets. Nope, we're gonna talk about an EPIC bar bet. Nobody could get away with pulling off something like this nowadays, but it's amazing that anyone ever pulled it off at all.
The someone who pulled it off was named Thomas Fitzpatrick, AKA Tommy Fitz, who is the gentleman on the left in this picture. He was a Marine during the Korean War, but this intrepid hard-drinking pilot made his infamous bar bet after the war.
It happened in the wee hours of September 30, 1956, when this 26-year old was drinking with his buddies at a bar in Manhattan.
Fitzpatrick claimed he could fly from New Jersey to Manhattan in fifteen minutes. (Presumably in an airplane, although by that time, I'm sure he and his buddies were already flying pretty high without one.)
Someone dared to challenge his drunken claim. (gasp!)
BET ON!!! (hiccup)
|[New York Times]|
The New York Times called his feat a fine landing and a feat of aeronautics, and the owner of the airplane was so impressed, he didn't press charges. Fitzpatrick was fined a hundred bucks, and since the monetary amount of the bet was never disclosed, maybe he was lucky enough to have something left over after he covered the fine. Then again, maybe that isn't important. After all, he was already lucky enough to have survived the drunken flight. And that was that.
What choice did he have? He couldn't let some random dude call him a liar, could he?
BET ON!!! (hiccup)
|[New York Times]|
Once again, Fitz drove to Teterboro, stole an airplane and flew it back to Manhattan. This time, just before one o'clock in the morning, he landed on Amsterdam and 187th Street, just outside a Yeshiva building.
Authorities weren't nearly as impressed with his aeronautical feat this time around. He spent the next six months in the pokey, where I presume the booze was kept well beyond his reach. (Otherwise, he might have made some sort of wager about breaking out of the place...)
Even though Mr. Fitzpatrick passed away in 2009, those who still remember this extrovert with a competitive streak as wide as the Mississippi think of him as a bit of a folk hero.
A drink was even created in his honor... alcoholic, of course.
This whole story kinda makes me think. Nobody ever claimed that booze increases one's intelligence level or boosts one's decision-making skills, but just think: if Mr. Fitzpatrick could land an airplane under such challenging circumstances while he was inebriated, what in the world might he have been capable of if he'd been sober...?
Next Wednesday will be the IWSG day, meaning I'll be posting here on on Wednesday instead of Friday, but next week, in addition to the Wednesday post here, I'll also be guest posting on another very spiffy blog on Monday, Wednesday, AND Friday. That other blog is The Really Real Housewives of America, a fun and informative blog run by four lovely ladies. They frequently feature guest bloggers, and (woo HOO!) next week, it's my turn. (They must be turning into desperate housewives of America, eh?) Don't worry, I'll remind you on Monday. I hope you can drop by, because I'll be sharing some really
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.
Leroy bet me I couldn't find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and I told him that was a stupid bet, because the rainbow was enough. [Rita Mae Brown]