“A toast!” my friend sitting on the opposite side of the table from me cried, raising her glass.
Obligingly, my buddy and I both paused in our intense scrutiny of our phones and reached for our glasses. My buddy had a complaint, however. “Wait a minute,” he said. “We can’t toast with water, can we? Isn’t that bad luck?”
I looked down at the table. As we had decided to go out for brunch, there wasn’t exactly an abundance of alcohol. “What about coffee?” I offered.
“I thought it had to contain booze,” my buddy insisted.
Across the table, my friend waved away the strands of this discussion impatiently. “We can toast just fine with water!” she snorted.
“Ideally,” I snuck in, “we should be toasting with some toast.”
My friend bathed me with her blank stare, and I could tell that she was trying her hardest to vaporize me with her mind. My buddy next to me chuckled after a second, however, so I considered it a success.
We all lifted our glasses of water. “What are we toasting to?” my buddy asked. He paused for a moment, considering his upraised glass. “Where did toasting come from, anyway?”
“Ugh!” my friend groaned, but I had an answer ready.
“As I understood it, toasting was a way for the nobility to compete over status,” I offered.
They turned to me, cups still upraised. “What?” they asked en masse.
“Well, when you toast, you all slam your cups together, right? And the goal is to spill your opponents’ drinks, not your own! Like jousting!”
Across the table, my friend shook her head a little. “I don’t think that’s right,” she interjected.
“Sure it is! That’s why they all drank out of big jewel-encrusted goblets! Those cups gave them a lot of mass, to better topple their opponents!”
My friend was still shaking her head, but my buddy next me then spoke up. “No, dude, you’re all wrong,” he broke in. “I think the grape growers made it up, to help sell more wine and subsidize the wine industry.”
My friend on the other side of the table lowered her glass. “Never mind,” she said, her tones ringing with disappointment. “Our food’s here anyway.”