9/12/08

Contrarianism: The Great and Unified Theory of Beer - OR - how to, by claiming not to, act superior to people who like some things better than others

I just stubbed my fucking toenail clean off my fucking toe. It's really painful. It's my tiny toe, so it was just a tiny toenail. But there are many nerves in the toe. A google search for "how many nerves are there in a toe?" yields results such as, "Many times there is no known cause for lesser toe deformities," and also, "Each toe has three phalanges, except the big toe which only has two."

But moving on.

Have you heard?! I'm a teacher! I teach a class. But I actually mean, I lead a discussion section, which is really a much different kind of thing, but who are you to argue? You're not a teacher. Or if you are, then you know what I'm talking about!

It's weird. I sit there and look at 18 inscrutable 18 year olds and ask them to say things and then they say things and then I ask them what they mean and they tell me something else and I ask other people what they think about what that person just thought and they tell me something else and then I ask them what they mean. It's pretty great, because it's a process that can go on pretty much forever, thank you very much différance. Somebody told me, "A 50 minute discussion section is 1 point and 2 jokes." I made a joke about crack, and a joke about a Jesus, and told them narrators are unreliable. It took 50 minutes! I'm a teacher!

I threw a party at my apartment last night, and if the greatness of a party can be judged by the drunkenness of the three drunkest people at the party, I had one of the greatest parties in the history of parties. Somebody told me to punch him in the face and, when I demurred, began to punch himself in the face -- and he has no memory of it. Somebody physically threatened me for a reason I wasn't clear about, locked himself in the bathroom for many hours, vomited many many times, and wouldn't come out -- and he has no memory of it. A backpack was lost, and never recovered (seems to have fallen into the black hole of Narnia or equivalent). A purse was left on the lawn outside for 18 hours, and went mysteriously unstolen! I bought a tiny Hieneken keg, with the intention of doing the world's tiniest keg-stand, but the logistics boggled the mind, and the tiny kegstand went unstood.

Grad school people and townie intellectuals are funny, and this I say with the warmest fondness and greatest admiration. But they truly are a ridiculous breed. They play on the affections of the mind as does the Welsh Corgi, nature's most baffling, yet truly and easily its most lovable mistake.

We grad students have, for instance, arbitrarily provincial -- but knowingly and smirkingly provincial -- tastes in things. I bought a 30 pack of Miller Light, and right at the beginning of the party, before any of the Miller Light had been drunk, several fellow grad students and townie intellectuals went on a beer run. They came back with a 12 pack of Stella Artois, which I swear to god tastes indistinguishable from PBR but is more expensive and has a swank, expensive-seeming filmy covering on its bottleneck, and a 12 back of National Bohemian, which is exactly like PBR except cheaper and without the sophisticated can design and award-winning pedigree of Milwaukee's Pabst company. This morning, there remained in the fridge 22 Miller Lights, 1 Natty Bo, and 0 Stellas. There was a full Natty Bo in the freezer for some reason, but I threw that away. So call it 24 leftover beers.

So, quantitatively, the overall need for a beer run comes through the mathematical ringer thus:
30 Miller Lights
-8 Miller Lights
+12 Stellas
-12 Stellas
+12 Natty Bos
-10 Natty Bos
=24 beers left over.

Which, for those keeping track, is, minus the one wasted beer, exactly the amount of beer that is left over due to the largess of the beer run. But all the beer that was left over is Miller Light. Which, despite tasting more or less indistinguishable from all other kinds of lager, isn't made in Europe or Baltimore, and is brewed by an ostensibly More Evil Corporation that runs lots of commercials during shows that grad students don't watch, and therefore tastes much, much worse, though indistinguishably so.

(This is, naturally, leading up to my Great and Unified Theory of Beer, which I feel will ultimately be remembered, by those who deign to remember me, as my greatest contribution to the field of aesthetics, and the theoretical discipline of the gustatory arts. The Great and Unified Theory of Beer runs roughly thus: people who claim to like expensive beer are vainglorious assholes and liars and particularly self-deceivers (cf. the Calvinist Elect), and those who like certain kinds of bad beers over others are charlatans or under the sway or charlatans (cf. Scientologists), and should be liberated into the fundamental fact of beer: it all tastes pretty much the same, and none of it tastes any good, but it happens to get you fucking drunk (cf. miserable, sad-sack, bad faith-addled, existentialist, morally crippled, and otherwise ineffectual atheists who pretty much have things right about the world and just want to get fucking drunk (cf. me)).)

I do love hip young Baltimoreans, because they, in general, skew Baltimorean in their purchase and appreciation of things (Yuengling and Natty Bo over Miller Light and PBR, The Wire over Deadwood, Dan Deacon and Beach House over any other music that's better than Dan Deacon and Beach House, Spiro Agnew over Walter Mondale, David Hasselhoff over Lorenzo Llamas, Montel Williams over Ricki Lake, etc.). You'll often find people walking down the street humming the lesser known tone-poems of Francis Scott Key while robbing each other and smoking crack. I'm sure it's the same in most other places. I'm sure Portlanders mutter about rain while ironically chopping down trees in ironic t-shirts and ironically nuthugging jeans. But most places have better stuff than Baltimore, such as irony.

Except we have The Wire. That's pretty sweet.

Since somebody was locked in my bathroom for 7 hours, I had to pee in a wine bottle and then wash it down the sink. I contemplated pouring it out the window, but being on the 15th floor, there were just too many gravitational and dynamical, sheer-force related x-factors. I couldn't calculate such things as the yaw, tilt, and roll of half a bottle of wine's worth of piss as it falls 200 feet, and so couldn't come up with anything like a definitive final resting place. I was, as such, forced to assume, in the great spirit of Occam, that the final resting place would ultimately be the worst possible resting place (for example, the water dish of a Welsh Corgi), and decided on the kitchen sink. I ran the garbage disposal afterwards, but I'm really not sure what I thought that would do. In retrospect, I probably just should have re-corked the bottle and waited for the bathroom to open back up, right? But who can look that far ahead. There were pills in there. It could have been days, and who remembers a bottle full of pee when you've got an overdosed corpse behind a door to which you don't have the key to deal with?

I'm going to another party tonight. It's not going to be nearly as good as my party, because my party was amazing. But you know what? I'm going to go to this party tonight, and I'm going to drink beer from Mexico, and listen to Detroit techno, and wear shapeless and ill-fitting clothes, and take all corporate advertisements at face value, and also take them very, very seriously. Because, you understand, I'm such a free spirit.

4 comments:

Stephanie Hershinow said...

Is one allowed to comment on this blog? Well, I'm going to because I have a couple of important points:

1) You should read this book (http://www.murketing.com/) I heard about on NPR which is, in part, about why hipsters drink PBR even though I think of it as my grandaddy's-mowin-the-lawn beer. Also, PBR totally owns Natty Boh (and every other cheap regional beer in the country), and anyone who claims otherwise is wrong.

B) You underestimate Ricki Lake's B-more cred, as she has some lingering John Waters contact cred. Or maybe that just means that she has Hampden cred, but that's really what you're talking about here anyway, right? Of course, not only is Montell a native son, he was also a rodeo clown in Switzerland, which probably nets some Hampden cred as well. Needless to say, this issue deserves a post of its own.

D said...

Mrs. Stephanie, you are always welcome here.

Holy shit, you're so right! Pabst even owns Colt 45 and Schlitz! Billy D! Orlando Jones! They really are the indisputable sovereign of the malt liquor universe. I will check out that book. It's Seth Stevenson approved, yo. I really hope it addresses the issue of how you s'posed run a sussessful business you ain't got no Schlitz Malt Liquor?!

And, you're painfully right about Ricki Lake. I didn't even think of the John Waters link. (Also, wtf, Lake-Waters?). I was going to say Springer, but that's so clearly not true, since Cincinnati and Baltimore are debris from the same smashed atom.

Are you serious? Montell was a rodeo clown? A google search confirms that he was, in fact, a rodeo clown, which leads me to ask, again and more sternly, Are you serious?! Montell was a rodeo clown?!

Offred - Dina said...

if you ever need to talk about teaching - tips and tricks or commisserationsss, just call me up. i'm teaching appx. 80 18-year-olds this year and another 60 16-17 year-olds.

maggie said...

nuthugging jeans. that's perfect.