Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jolly Corks

Today in 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks was born. They were initially known as the Jolly Corks, a loose fraternity of men - mainly in performing arts, who drank together and, incidentally, were always looking for ways to evade Sunday drinking laws. Their original name came from a bar trick. Newcomers to the club would be told that the last one to pick up corks thrown on the bar would have to stand a round. The neophyte would scoop up his cork quickly while everyone else would leave theirs on the bar, making him both first and last and owing everyone a drink. Charles Vivian, a singer on Broadway, was the Imperial Cork.

This group would become the Elks, one of the largest charitable organizations in America. See, everything really was born in a bar. Incidentally, while the book doesn't come out 'til late June or so, you can pre-order the book here.