|Date: Mon, 8 Apr 1996
From: Brad Grissom <BGRISSOM@UKCC.UKY.EDU>
Subject: The Easter Bunny Brought Brad Beer
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <WORDS-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
I had intended to lay off the beer as a 1 January resolution, but it didn't work out that way. A scary diagnosis of radial neuropathy in my left arm should have firmed up my resolve, but one day followed another, and the yeasty beverage kept flowing. Finally, I saw a possibility -- the Church's traditional season of forbearance loomed ahead, perfect structure, perfect attitude of humility and denial. So I had my last beer before dawn on Ash Wednesday and looked forward to forty and more days of abstinence. It wasn't too bad. I did this for a full quarter last year, after all, and nowadays there's a plentiful selection of near-beer brands around. (Indeed, Anheuser- Busch's O'Doul's was a big-money sponsor of the NCAA tournament. The tastiest of my substitutes was probably Haake-Beck; the cheapest, at $8.70 a case, Pabst Blue Ribbon N/A. Not bad.)
I did my 46 days, with predictably desirous results: great appetite, sound sleep, healthy stool, sweet disposition, frightening motivation to *finish* things. On Holy Saturday, I went downtown to Cheapside Bar late to hear Marty's brother Jim's band, Da Mudcats. Straight Chicago blues, with Jim--a hip version of his sibling--on harmonica and vocals. Whiskey and ice splattered in front of me, too-frothy pints of beer were poured out. I refused to yield--nothing for me until the stone is rolled away from the tomb tomorrow, thank you, brother.
This was my neighborhood for twelve years. I probably didn't fit in back then, and certainly not now. In my grungy attire and USS Nimitz cap, I looked like a horny sailor just into port. All the young people were dressed up--the lads in button-down collars, the lasses in hose and heels (even a daring leather ensemble). Aha, Keeneland Race Track is open for spring meet! One woman who leaned close to replenish her cocktail smelled like a horse barn, and a provocative sachet it was. I sensed that some of these people were going outside the bar to use illicit drugs.
Jim is not much on stage patter; the only thing he said during a long set was "Remember your bartender and server, people." When the break came, I was ready, with my Nipper Fan Club card in hand, to make an approach, but Jim was immediately monopolized by a pair of handsome women who began to give him back rubs and so forth. Ah well, I told myself, I'll meet him this summer; surely Marty will invite me over for a pool party. Home to the suburbs. Maybe I can catch some of that TBS movie, The Sand Pebbles, with Steve McQueen, which was running in dumb show on the bar TV.
The Easter Bunny had been kind enough to chill down six bottles of Paulaner Lager for me to break my fast with on the holiest of Sundays. No special claim for this robust variety, but it comes from one of The Seven Great Breweries of Munich, and it's what I started with 25 years ago. I used to go down to the vegetable stand once a week (once a week!) and buy a case of half-liters for some (in hindsight) unbelievable pittance. The brewery is named after the greatest of The Apostles.
Easter Sunday stretched out before me. I got involved in a good thick book. I took a long afternoon nap to compensate for the change to Daylight Savings Time. About 5:30 I decided to have an Easter Bunny treat. With great ceremony, I used my devil's-head bottle opener and decapitated one of the foaming beauties. The taste was not so different from that of Thomasbraeu, the company's entry in the non-alcoholic line. Nor the color, or the heft of the Boston tumbler I poured it into; the head did seem to be a bit more persistent. I quickly guzzled a second one and waited for the buzz. It never quite came. I ran supermarket errands, got some supper; all I noticed was a certain inchoate lassitude about finishing my mission. Another beer at 8:00, and a midnight nightcap which I didn't really want. Thanks, Mr. Bunny Rabbit.
I may have a beer with supper tonight. Or maybe not.
P.S. I had a couple. :)