There’s a famous line in Freud’s 1927 essay on humor that describes a man who is about to be hanged at dawn remarking, “Well, the day is certainly starting well.”
That was pretty much the vibe at the Donald Trump-themed bar in the dimly lit basement of Barrel just about a week before The Election That Everyone Wants to Hurry Up and Be Over Already.
Last weekend, I made my way inside the Capitol Hill whiskey joint and down a set of stairs marked with a sign that reads: "Caution: Locker Room Talk." The decor was American-flag bunting, cardboard cutouts of the Donald himself, and a wall depicting “bad hombres” (such as…Mario Lopez). On offer? Legitimately good cocktails named after outrageous things Trump has said, like, “I have great respect for women.” Cue the laughter and extra olives.
The crowd consisted mostly of government workers in their 20s and 30s who wouldn’t be caught dead voting for Trump. And the consensus seemed to be, “Let’s drink and make fun of this bullshit, because civil discourse seems to have gone the way of the landline anyway.”
Forget election stress — which, according to the American Psychological Association, over half of American adults are experiencing — this was straight-up election denial-by-drinking. For the many, many people who feel that democracy, logic, and common sense have been assaulted during this horrendous, never-ending cycle, and for the many women who now feel unsafe thanks to Trump’s endless misogynistic statements and actions, adding a little humor to the situation is the only way to heal. (We’re not sure Trump himself would be in on the joke, though; he doesn’t seem to understand self-deprecation.)
It’s a time during which it’s more important than ever to listen to each others’ opinions rather than preach to the choir in like-minded echo chambers. But when the facts are too unbearable and seem to come at warp speed, sometimes all that’s left to do is have a cocktail and roast the guy while obsessively counting down to November 8.