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champagne Options
justina bandol
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 3:04:09 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/29/2013
Posts: 753
Neurons: 65,236
Location: Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Rick Raymond and the Moon-Rays play at the Funicular Follies, the annual banquet of the elevator inspectors.

They get a lot of gigs on account of Rick's preternatural resemblance to a popular singer and matinee idol. He is not above stealing some of that singer's more famous moves, like he is now, cradling the microphone stand as if it were some swooning lass, petting invisible blonde hair. Your eyes so blue, he croons.

Quite the ham, Rick Raymond, but look at these pigs. This affair is a few bubbles short of champagne. The snouts of these men are up at their plates, nudging shrimp cocktails, which look like bones floating in blood. Their tuxedos have identical wide lapels, and a close inspection of all the labels on the inside pockets will attest to the handiwork of a certain Ziff Brothers, 10% DISCOUNT IF YOU BRING A FRIEND. The shrimp cocktails are reinforcements, following greasy battalions of tiny hot dogs and stunted egg rolls (the snacks perched on silver trays, wallowing in small brown pools of oil, dripping amniotic fluid). These appetizers appease the stomachs of the men, which have been thrown into tart consternation by the sudden influx of free whiskey.


How should I understand the boldfaced sentence?
thar
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 3:46:22 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 18,187
Neurons: 73,859
Champagne is classy - elegant, expensive, it signifies style, panache.

This gathering is not classy - men drunk on free whisky, in cheap suits, snuffling down bad food like pigs at a trough. And a lookalike (not the real celebrity) hamming it up on stage.
It (the event, the party) falls short of being 'champagne' which is bubbly. It is a few bubbles short of champagne.


It mimics the 'a few ---- short of' used as an idiom, meaning being a bit stupid. 'short of' means falling short of - it not reaching, missing.
It can entail anything that is then said to be 'short of' something that is fundamental to that concept.

eg a
a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
But there are numberous variations on that theme.

Quote:
a few sandwiches short of a picnic. A pejorative phrase meaning not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. It can appear in many different forms and variations (for example: a few bricks shy of a load, a few cards shy of a full deck, etc.). ... I think he may be a few sandwiches short of a picnic.


This is nothing to do with being stupid, but it is mimicking that idiom.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2018 6:22:56 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 30,670
Neurons: 182,147
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I agree - good explanation. This is just a comment about the whole passage.

That description is quite a piece of literary work.

It really gets across the impression of 'sleazy' and 'cheap & nasty'.
The party is not a real workers' party (the working class are OK) - it is pseudo-upper-class, disgusting.

"the snacks perched on silver trays, wallowing in small brown pools of oil, dripping amniotic fluid"

That says it all, really.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
justina bandol
Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2018 3:04:10 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/29/2013
Posts: 753
Neurons: 65,236
Location: Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Good, good, good. Thank you both!
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