2) si prendono tre o quattro transenne di quelle di ferro zincato che seminano in tutti gli angoli non appena c’è da scavare un buco per terra, e alle nove di sera si sbarrano le due estremità di una strada qualsiasi. Io mi immagino qualche via del centro, ma…
In Lord’s account, Joughin spent the first half-hour after the Titanic hit the iceberg directing his staff to carry bread and other foodstuffs to the boat decks to provision the lifeboats, a detail usually omitted by filmmakers more interested in the comical aspects of Joughin’s drinking. After selflessly insuring the survivors would not go hungry, Joughin retired to his cabin and saluted his good deeds with whiskey and brandy. This gave him the strength and calm nerves to eventually brave out of his cabin up to the boat deck, where he helped women and children into lifeboats, using a little force when necessary to be sure the ladies caught their ride.
Joughin declined to board a lifeboat himself, claiming he was not much of a seaman, and instead elected to wander among the sinking staircases drinking whiskey until he again hunkered down in his cabin to await his fate.
After another half-hour of quiet fortification, Joughin ventured out of his cabin again. He swaggered to the top decks and busied himself with the task of hurling deck chairs into the water in the hopes of giving drowning passengers something to hold onto.
As the ship began its final plunge into the icy depths, Joughin struggled among throngs of drowning passengers, battling crashing dishes and furniture all around him.
Lord praises Joughin’s ability to maintain his balance and composure amidst this chaos, claiming that among the other passengers thrown about the ship, “only Joughin kept his balance.” He was, as Lord writes, “alert but relaxed, his equilibrium was marvelous.” Joughin himself claimed that he stepped off the sinking stern without so much as getting his head wet.
After Titanic submerged beneath the surface of the icy Atlantic, Joughin managed to survive some three hours (though some question that time) in the water before climbing aboard the upturned collapsible lifeboat B after initially being pushed off by survivors on that boat.
Joughin’s survival story defies modern medical experts, and thus proves more compelling for its sense of defiant, drinking-in-spite-of-it-all courage. While medical experts agree that alcohol does nothing to protect the body from cold weather—and may in fact give imbibers a false sense of warmth because of the flow of blood to the skin’s surface—Charles Joughin’s lengthy water survival has not been otherwise explained. Alcohol may not have helped him survive physically, but perhaps it allowed him to remain relatively calm and collected in the midst of chaos.
As a historical person, Joughin alone shares the sinking stern with Jack and Rose. This seems appropriate, as his quiet yet determined heroism has gone so unrecognized over the years. While he did not go down with the ship, or pray solemnly with other doomed passengers, he kept drinking and kept his composure. Like many high-functioning drunks, Joughin helped to keep others alive even as he knew he was dying. He wanted to keep partying, but he also wanted to make sure the party kept going on.
”—“I know I asked for ice, but this is ridiculous.” A real life account of a gallant man that survived Titanic’s crash thanks to alcohol —D. Brian Anderson