It was a dark and stormy night -- it was dark, anyway - and, feeling the strain of a long week weighing heavily upon me, I thought I'd savor a bit of the neighborhood vintage ('Septima,' Normandy Supermarket, $3.99, and it's good) before nodding off. Upon returning home with the bottle, however, I found my entire house bereft of a simple corkscrew with which to open it. I tried the gas station - nothing; I tried a convenience store across the street: toothbrushes it had, duct tape, screwdrivers, windshield wipers, but a corkscrew - no.
I nearly gave up in despair and was ready to proceed home and tear the cork to pieces with a screwdriver, if need be, when I happened upon a dimly lit convenience store on 71st Street that looked, just barely, like it was open. I walked in and asked for a corkscrew. The owner shook his head. But then he turned around and gazed at the wall behind the counter, It was covered in long-forgotten knick knacks of every description hanging from nails. Finally he reached up and pulled off the wall a plastic bag so thoroughly covered in dust it was opaque. After wiping away a line of filth with his finger, the man revealed that it was, to a greater or lesser extent, a corkscrew. He charged me three dollars for the thing, offering to take it out of the bag himself as part of the deal.
And so I walked out of that nameless shop with what I firmly believe was the worst corkscrew ever conceived. The handle was made of the cheapest plastic, pink with absurd plastic gilt trimming. The screw itself dangled loosely around a cheap flimsy hook - back home, when I had actually managed to sink the thing into the cork, the other end of the hook poked so ominously into my finger that I almost gave up before finally yanking the bottle open.
Yet even the world's shittiest corkscrew opened a half dozen bottles for me before finally leaving this world behind last weekend when, at the gentlest of tugs, the whole apparatus crumbled before my eyes.
Rest in peace, corkscrew - you let me drink, you made me laugh. -- Isaiah Thompson
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