It's not about the house.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Now Get Off of My Lawn!

The other night Dr. One Friend and I were at the bar of a local Mexican restaurant, sitting across from a particular type of girl. Dyed black hair done up like Veronica, paste-white foundation makeup, ironic plaid jumper-dress that was obviously fashioned to optimally display her barely-scabbed-over multi-color clavicle tattoo -- you know, that type of girl. To be honest, though, we didn't even notice her until she started telling the bartender about how her boyfriend was a "beer connoisseur." Beer happens to be one of my favorite things for someone to connoiss about, so I tuned my eavesdroppy ear her way. 

"You know," she said, sounding appropriately bored with her own self, "like, he's tried all different kinds from everywhere [sigh. how pedestrian]. And he says that the best is PBR."

For the not-quite-hip-enough out there, that would be Pabst Blue Ribbon. The Premium Beer at a Popular Price. And here is where I feel the need to interject a remembrance of my own. Well, not "my own," per se -- considering that I don't actually remember it myself -- but I was alive and physically present when it happened, so it counts.

You think I'm going to tell an "I got so fucked up on PBR" story now, don't you? Well, I'm not. When I was young and poor (as opposed to old and poor, which I am now) we drank Glacier Bay, Schaeffer, Black Label or Naragansett. We paid $6 a case -- which back then meant 24 bottles, not 12 -- and we liked it. Which doesn't mean we were stupid enough to pretend it tasted good. As soon as we could afford something else, we did. First Michelob, then Sam Adams, then infinity and beyond. So no, the only PBR story I have is not about me at all.

For some years around the time that I was born, my grandfather (my dad's dad) owned a bar. This was in the late '60s, early '70s. Times were tough enough in those days as it was, plus Mom couldn't work because she was at home with three babies under 3 years old, so Dad took the occasional night shift at Grampy's bar. I imagine it was hard for Mom to be home alone all day and all night with us three little screamers, but it was better than not being able to pay the rent. Still, though, she must have looked forward to his coming home each night at closing time. She must have stayed awake, or roused herself, for the chance at an hour or so of adult conversation.

One night, instead of hearing him quietly tiptoe in, she heard what sounded like a raccoon scrabbling at the door. Creeping out of bed and listening closer, she heard him drop his keys in the hallway, giggle, and mutter incoherently as he tried to pick them up. She opened the door and he all but fell into her arms.

"Jesus Christ, Husband!" she exclaimed. "What did you do?"

"I was pushing the Pab-iss-tuh."

It seems there'd been a brewery salesman in the bar, who told Dad that for every Pabst Blue Ribbon he sold to a customer he could have one for himself. This is what passed for viral marketing back in the day, and let me tell you: it worked. Dad sold a lot of PBR that night. So much that he could no longer pronounce it, and his over-enunciation has been code word for "drunk" in my family ever since. At my brother's wedding, for example, even though I stuck to Guinness until my cousins started buying me shots of Jameson's, the real reason I puked strawberry soup all over my bridesmaid dress was that I'd been pushing the Pab-iss-tuh.

So, in conclusion: no, Veronica. Your boyfriend is not a beer connoisseur. Your boyfriend is a Fucking Hipster who has been sold a bucket of piss by a Very, Very Clever brand manager who knew just exactly how to take advantage of people like you in today's "post-advertising" marketplace -- just like that salesman did to my dad and his customers back when people used to actually work for a living. 

And come to think of it, if you've got a douche like that for a boyfriend, then that makes you a Fucking Hipster, too.


12ontheinside said...

Dear god, why did I have to go and look at the Hipster link. That, my friend, is a beer crime most heinous.

Charlie said...

I still miss Glacier Bay and I always will...there is nothing cooler than a beer bottle that can be used to open another...and cheap too!

HPH said...

Do ya think she could even spell 'connoisseur'? I'm really hoping the PBR tat is fake. Seriously, you spend all that money and devote all that pain to a permanent 'tude and you pick a pseudo-beer to cover your pseudo-wannabe muscles? Jeez buddy.

During my extra-poor starving-student days we drank Brown Derby. US$2.99 + tax, a case (24). And don't forget -- a puzzle in every spin-off cap!

postscript said...

He could get a tat of Hiney Wine! The wine that comes in a pop-top can. Big Red and Thor would be proud. Now, that's a CON-a-sir.

ege said...

Know who else is a douche here? Me! Because this whole post was inspired by Beardonaut and I forgot to give a shout out.


Hubert said...

I did a degree in which, for one year, I brewed beer (obviously non branded but from Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. carlsbergensis - the strain used for most commercially good lagers).

I could drink my own science. Thus, I have no need to be a connoisseur of beers.

ege said...

12 -- I know. I'm sorry.

Charlie -- Let's explain: the Glacier Bay bottles had indents on the bottom that you could put your next screw-top in to twist it open. Glacier Bay was only sold in 12-packs, and one bottle out of every 12-pack did not have the crucial indent. That was your last beer.

HPH -- I never even HEARD of Brown Derby beer! And I've always been a huge fan of the puzzles. How did I miss this?

PS -- Oh now that's just nasty.

Hubert -- I did a degree in which, for four years, I drank beer. Does that count?

Jeve (aka John and Steve) said...

Ha! That was a great story. Thank you for sharing!

Hubert said...

ege: It counts towards drinking, most likely in a liberal arts sense. Your toping was not the drinking of science. Imbibing science makes a huge difference: it is not the source of Coleridgean Xanadu but of inspired invention and novelties in the heavens. True, we can both drink to a point of unconsciouness; yet, I can explain that it is a point of unconsiousness while you can question the point of unconsciousness.

I suspect it is not the same, in some arcane "these are the words on the scroll" kind of way. But that sort of distinction is churlish in the extreme. I propose that you count the number of beers at your next toping, but make a record onto a piece of paper marked "beer experiment" and this will lead you down the path of science.