There may well be a long-lost chapter of the League of Gentlemen Adventurers in Sweden.
Recently a team of adventurers was diving in the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Sweden, and while exploring a shipwreck, they discovered bottles of champagne that are over 200 years old. By far the oldest ever found, and, according to one estimate, worth almost $70,000 each.
Now, that is certainly an adventure, but it’s not why I believe LGA members may have been present. This is why:
The first thing they did when they got back onto the boat was to pop one open and drink it.
Mr. Ekstrom & co., today I raise my glass to you and say, Quam bene vivas refert, non quam diu. You embody the spirit of Gentleman Adventuring.
And, gentle reader, I ask you: were you on that boat, wouldn’t you have done the same?
“There are people who would perhaps call me a dilettante, because it looks like I’m having too much fun. I have never been convinced there’s anything inherently wrong in having fun.”
– George Plimpton (1927-2003)
George Plimpton at a Cocktail Party (seated at left)
Cornell Capa/Magnum Images
Born with blue blood bursting out of his veins, George Plimpton decided not just to live a life of gentlemanly leisure, but to thoroughly embrace adventure – specifically, somewhat ridiculous adventure. As a sports writer, he could not be satisfied with simply telling his gentle readers what he saw, he had to invent an entirely new form of journalism – the kind where you get blood punched out of your nose by light heavyweight boxing titan Archie Moore.
Every list of Plimpton’s achievements is long and absurd, but woefully incomplete. He simply did too much. Plimpton drove a tank in the war; drank cocktails with Norman Mailer and Ernest Hemingway; pitched to Willie Mays in an all-star game; edited the Paris Review; threw legendary parties; dabbled in trapeze; snapped photos for Playboy; wrote about the witch doctors of Zaire who helped Ali destroy Foreman; and was expelled from Exeter for aiming a Revolutionary musket at the football coach. Oh, and he wrestled the pistol out of the hands of Sirhan Sirhan after the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.
In 2003, at the Brook Club, Plimpton stood up to have a broken drink repaired at the bar. Then, he collapsed and cracked his skull on the table. The paramedics, who recognized him, began slapping his cheeks and desperately saying, “George, wake up!” The maitre d’ simply would not tolerate this kind of behavior and declared, “At the Brook Club, sir, we refer to him as Mr. Plimpton.”
In which the Gents discuss the benefits and drawbacks of approaching things, and life in general, in a slapdash manner.
On the Agenda:
- Opening Toast, by Mr. Lee Dunteman
- Open Discussion on the subject of, “Slapdashery.”
- Profiles in Adventure: Hunter S. Thompson at the Kentucky Derby
- Closing Toast, led by Mr. Andy Trimlett
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Ladies and Gentlemen, I write today to recommend a posthumous League induction for a fellow adventurer who was lost on March 15, 2009. He may not have been a gentleman in the traditional sense in that he wasn’t really a man at all. In scientific circles, he was referred to as Chiroptera Molossoidea, better known as a common free-tailed bat. However, this particular bat was anything but common. This bat had dreams. This bat yearned for adventure. This bat hitched a ride into space.