Occasionally someone I’ve never met asks me to contribute writing work as a “pop culture expert.” That’s because I wrote a (mostly) satirical essay about being a “pop culture expert” and my name comes up when you google the damn phrase. (Read it here)
One of the most recent requests came from a flask website looking for short entries about flasks in pop culture. Here’s what I wrote.
National Lampoon’s Animal House features all kinds of drinking, but one of the more pointed portrayals comes from Verna Bloom’s Mrs. Wormer.
As the wife of the evil college Dean, Marian Wormer is part of “the establishment”, but she doesn’t pass up an invitation to a frat house toga party. Mrs. Wormer arrives late (having just come from the “God-damn senior honors dinner”) and crashes her Buick station wagon in front of the Delta House. Before entering the party, she takes a long pull from the silver flask stashed in her purse.
In a booze-heavy movie, Mrs. Wormer is the only character to use a flask. The snobs from the Omega House drink (imported?) beer from ceramic German mugs, while the Delta slobs guzzle Jack Daniels straight from the bottle. But Mrs. Wormer’s thirst is something that’s kept concealed. The flask reflects a bored housewife’s double-life. Unlike the joyless villains in the movies, Mrs. Wormer has a vice (and not just screwing a college kid who’s almost old enough to be her son) – her drinking humanizes her and makes the Dean’s wife much more relatable.
The Animal Housenovelization includes Mrs. Wormer in the extended “Where Are They Now?” post-script, noting that she went on to five unsuccessful stints in A.A. Wherever she is now, her flask is probably with her.
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The editor was so happy with my writing, he sent me a free flask. I don’t drink, so I’m including it as a trivia prize at Saturday’s ZOMBIE show. Go here for details and tickets.