Song Of The Day 1/27/2016: Wink Martindale – “Drinking From My Saucer”

When DJs Sing (or Speak Over Musical Accompaniment) – Wink Martindale was a DJ in his native Tennessee before hitching his wagons for the bright lights and superior irrigation systems of Southern California. He was, of course, much better known in later years as the game show host of such deathsports as Tic Tac Dough, Gambit and the ominously titled Debt. Wink had a dulcet voice, oozed a grand bouquet of down-home warmth, and was named after an eyelid movement that should never be employed in courtrooms. On the scale of Game Show Hosts, Wink's just a hair's breadth behind Bob Barker: clearly in control, asexually enticing, not as informal as Bert Convy or flat-out dangerous as Gene Rayburn. Good egg. I got no reason to doubt his intentions.

Wink actually had a hit single in 1959 as a monologist: "Deck of Cards," a long-spun recitation that originated around the time of World War II in the American South. It's about a soldier using a deck of cards "as a Bible, an Almanac and a Prayer Book." (Hopefully it's not a pinochle deck. That'll turn you into a plutocrat.) "Drinking From My Saucer" was penned by country scribe and sausage magnate Jimmy Dean, but has its origins as a sort of homily in praise of the bounty the Lord provides us with on a daily basis, or something like that. You see, he's filled your cup with so much goodness that it's overflowed down to the saucer that the coffee cup rests on, so you're drinking from your saucer. It's so much more rewarding than those heathen holiday cups at Starbuck's that are painted demonic red like the vile blood of the Adversary.

In what research I was prepared to do tonight, I discovered that drinking from the saucer is kind of a thing, and not just in the South. I found stories of Swedes, Russians, Lithuanians and Bengalis drinking coffee and tea from their saucers. In addition to the metaphorical representation, there's the practical fact that coffee spilled on the saucer simply cools down faster. According to a generalized coffee answer page, "George Washington... used the literal practice (cooling-off beverages in a saucer) as a metaphor for the cooling-off that occurs in the upper house of a bicameral legislature." Our leaders continue that tradition even today -- except they break the empty saucers over each other's heads and pummel each other for the last remaining packets of Truvia. It's rather quaint.

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