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Beer: Six Absolute Truths

by Andy Fenwick

I’m a chemist, not a country singer. But I did have a beer with a famous country singer at the poolside bar of Tucson’s Hotel Marmalade on April 26, 1979.

Upon complimenting him on the cut of his brown leisure suit, I began wishing my collar could be as shoulder-tip-reaching as his collar. He thanked me, understood my platonic intentions, and offered to purchase me a drink. Seeing that it was already 9 am, I assented, and attained the services of the adjacent stool.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was a fashion victim. I did know that I was a swinger, and displayed my colorless patch of chest hair at every opportunity. Women’s lib meant one thing to me only: if a woman bought me dinner, I was obliged to go to bed with her. But I rarely got that far. I didn’t have to. I was an accomplished dry-humper.

I liked beer. Tanks of it. Steins. Head like hurricane tides. And here sat the man who’d penned my anthem, Tom T. Hall.

In our lifetimes, we all get one song that speaks to us on an intimate level. But only one. While studying protein folding and liquid acid at the University of Buffalo a few years earlier, I had been dozing in the hallway of faculty housing when I heard a tune floating from behind a shut door. Banjo. Tuba. Saloon piano. Harmonica. A slight hint of the singer’s marital trouble. A simple chorus, sung by drunks, about beer making one a "jolly, good fellow." Two years earlier, I had achieved a two-second taste of the Kundalini in a roadside ashram near Scranton. This, though, felt like my coccyx was about to shatter. I later phoned my former yogi and simply munched potato chips into the receiver until he hung up.

While we knocked back a few in Tucson, the singer told me a secret not shared with the public since the dawning of fermentation. He related how a nonagenarian dogcatcher in the bathroom of the Vince Lombardi rest area off the New Jersey Turnpike had imparted the secret to him, explaining that it had been originally etched on parchment by Trappist monks and then encased in a taxidermist’s rendering of a Euroch, an extinct European species of bull known for both its enormous size and for possibly initiating the need for techniques used by modern bullfighters. I’ve never been to bullfight, but I’m told that the stench of carrion is transcendent if accompanied by a cold one.

I promised to never reveal this secret, and so he told it to me.

Here it is:

These Six Absolute Truths, when realized, will enable the aspirant to cultivate a persona transcending feckless notions of chic. Fame, riches, and many hotel rooms will follow:

  1. Cheap, mass produced beers taste like the bottom of a Mohel’s trash can, except for those beers whose names include at least three consonants unbroken by vowels. Consonant chains can extend from one word to the next – hence: Old Milwaukee ( … ld M …).

    Yes: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz, Schaefer.
    No: Coors, Miller, Rolling Rock, Heineken, Budweiser (see #4)

  2. Cheap, mass produced beer does not include trendy local microbrews named after mountain ranges or rare imported beers causing blindness, celibacy, and esophageal leprosy. But should a rare imported beer or a trendy local microbrew begin mass production, notice that rules suddenly apply:

    Yes: Yuengling
    No: Hofenweitzen.

  3. Any beer with a numerical value in its name is godhead:

    Yes: Colt 45.
    No: Miller Genuine Draft.

  4. There are exceptions:

    a. Budweiser, strictly in its Tallboy (…ll b …) form, or in its Czechoslovakian form
    ....(See #5)
    b. Olympia. Because y is only sometimes a vowel.
    c. Malt Liquor. Yuppies do not drink this. Bring it to their parties. They will laugh, jeer, .....or chuckle, but they will not taste. If they do want to taste, offer backwash. Please .....pee in their ice trays when they’re looking elsewhere. Thank you.

    a. Busch. Ever. May its patrons be struck with permanently reversed peristalsis.
    b. Keystone. In this case, the y is sometimes a vowel.
    c. Beer in green bottles. No Rolling Rock, Heneiken, etc. For Mickey's, please note ....'C' under Yes, above."

  5. Extremely rare beers:

    Yes: Ol’ Mzykxlplyk; Pfffft! Lite
    No: Georges Perec Label; Onomatopoeia Draft; ....AaaaaaahgoodmancanyougetmemorebeerlikethisIthinkittasteslikesex
    .....Lager (or Dark)

  6. Lastly: If you drink liquid plutonium, you can get super powers.

There you have it. Take this knowledge and use it carefully, especially while swimming in shark-infested waters. Except I suspect the country singer made up #6 to mess with me. Maybe he was already too shellacked to reason. He did say he’d just been to Los Alamos, and invited me to back his room to try out some "real great stuff." I wanted to – really -- but I was scheduled to have lunch with a gerbil-collecting newscaster later that afternoon. So I told him: Sorry. I like beer.

*If you’d like to read more on this subject, drink some El Presidente instead. If you’re underage and your local library is patronized by smelly old ladies and desperate pedophiles, you can always steal beer from back porches and garages.

Or check out the song

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