The Old Sad Soak

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The Old Soak is a hauntingly one-note character, and one wonders exactly what about his alcoholism made him such a bankable franchise. Imagine the pitch meetings that followed: “He’s a lush, see? He wants to booze it up, but he can’t, because of that cursed eighteenth amendment!” Yuks ensue, contracts are signed, and everyone has a glass of whiskey.

The Paris Review looks back at humorist Don Marquis’s “The Old Soak,” an alcoholic character that isn’t as funny as he was intended to be.


P.E. Garcia is an Editor-at-Large for the Rumpus and a contributor to HTMLGiant. They currently live in Philadelphia, where they were recently accidentally elected to be Judge of Elections. Find them on Twitter: @AvantGarcia. More from this author →