Two fingers Dan

Dan Rather, CBS news anchor

Drinking deeply

The New York Times reported yesterday that Dan Rather watches replays of his NBC and ABC competitors every night fortified with "two fingers of Wild Turkey, no ice, no water" (NYTimes, 30-Nov-03). I was struck particularly by two things in the Times' article.

First, that Dan Rather is 72 years old. I've always known that Dan Rather is older than I, since he was a television news reporter already when I was still in college. But I never gave his age much thought; he always seemed something of a contemporary. But if he's 72, that changes the picture, doesn't it? I don't think I'm ready to be that contemporary.

Second, that he drinks "two fingers" of neat Wild Turkey every night. Although I've seen that expression before, I've never actually heard anyone use it, and I've never given it much thought. But the image of Dan Rather, obsessed by his competitors, sitting down every night with a glass of Wild Turkey to watch replays of Peter and Tom, got me thinking.

two fingers

Two fingers. Just how much is two fingers of liquor, anyway? Without the benefit of tutelage on this matter, I've always imagined that it meant a level of liquid up to the height of two fingers.

Now whether this is a little or a lot clearly depends on both the thickness of one's fingers and the diameter of the glass. Dan Rather doesn't strike me as having particularly delicate fingers, nor does he strike me as one who would favor a dainty glass for his drinks. I decided that my own fingers and one of my own glasses would do nicely for the purposes of this inquiry.

two fingers in a measuring cup

Whoa! Two fingers of liquor, without any water or ice — that's a man-sized drink. In the case of my little experiment, it amounts to about three-quarters of a cup.

Dan, Dan, Dan, Dan, Dan. If it's that painful, have you considered just not watching?

And one more thing, Dan. I could be wrong about this, and I'm sure you know more about the news business than I do, but are you sure that your most important competition is NBC and ABC? It's just a thought.