National Bootleggers Day
DescriptionThis is the product of a Dash.
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Note: On another website, I participate in an activity known as a “Dash.” Basically, we are given a prompt, and have fifteen minutes to come up with something. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, an essay, you name it. This prompt was “National Bootleggers’ Day,” and it was a picture of some federal officers smashing some barrels of beer. I cleaned the original up a bit and decided to post. Enjoy, or not! National Bootleggers Day. Unusual that we celebrate it, since alcohol is legal, and there is no need for bootleggers anymore. But where did this word bootlegger come from? On January 1, 1919, the Volsted Act went into force in the USA. The act made the consumption of alcohol as a recreational beverage a federal crime. About two minutes after the law went into effect, the first illegal drink was sipped. It was one of the most unpopular laws ever to be added to the Constitution, and lasted ten years before it was repealed. The really negative effect of the the Volstead Act was that it gave organized crime, known as Cosa Nostra, a license to print money. Everyone wanted a drink. And, if you couldn't purchase it at your local pub, you were going to find another way to get it. Enter the mob. People like Al Capone, Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, and Meyer Lansky supplied all of the illegal booze you could afford. It gave the mob sound financial grounding and even a degree of acceptance by the public in general. A bootlegger was someone who supplied illegal booze. But where did the term come from? During Prohibition, men from Texas and Oklahoma and other places out west did not wear shoes. They wore boots, and, in particular, cowboy boots. It was quite common for men to strap a small flask with whiskey to their calf, and pull the boot up over it. Women did the same. If the woman was wearing shoes, she would strap the flask to her thigh, underneath her skirt. There were even lingerie manufacturers who sold a special garter belt that had an attachment to affix the flask to the thigh. Hence, bootleggers. Now you know where the word originated. We should have a dash were the prompt is "Speakeasy." Oh, Al Capone was not born in Italy or Sicily. He was born in Brooklyn. The oldest member of the Capone family was Vincenzo. He served in the First World War, was wounded, and disappeared. He reappeared much later as a Prohibition agent known as Richard Hart, working in Oklahoma and Nebraska. Kind of funny that one of the biggest bootleggers had an older brother who was a very successful Prohibition enforcer.