Warnings in February 2006

I’ve been known to drink a few. It keeps the mind limber. It keeps me well-informed, yet well-broke; and well-known, yet well-hungover most of the time. Some might say it keeps me well-ignored. I practically grew up in a bar. Bruce Springsteen sang on-stage a few feet from where I used to play that pinball machine my father kept full of quarters. What can I say? I had fun. I should be an expert on the booze by now, but I have to admit that I don’t know much save that Jack comes in a bottle.

You see, I have this friend who is a Budweiser expert. Laugh as you like, the man has to be admired for his amazing ability. He comes from New Jersey and all he drinks is the stuff brewed there. He can tell immediately when it isn’t. We’ve tested him, but to no avail. Give him any Bud not brewed in the state and he retches. He cannot be fooled. I used to think a Bud was a Bud no matter where you went. You can skunk it by leaving it in the trunk for a few weeks, but it should be the same, right? Wrong. Coca-cola tries to tell you it’s all the same, and those cans do their best with that exact same red, but it just isn’t the same no matter what they tell you. This month I am warning you to expect the difference.

I was going to the printers the other day, and I just needed a burger. There was a McDonalds on my way so I decided to drop in. Before I knew it, this guy next to me told the manager to turn the music down and get him some more lettuce for his chicken burger. Was this dude a fool? What did he expect? I am supposed to be the fool. Didn’t he know who I was? The place was packed, and he had the nerve to call out the manager and tell her that it wasn’t exactly the way he thought it should be. What the hell was he doing? I didn’t say a word because I can easily relate to idiocy and might have done the same thing a few years back, but if my beer-loving friend were there, he would have just told him to suck it up and deal with reality. When not in Jersey, you just don’t get Jersey Bud. When not in New York, you just don’t get good pizza (go ahead Italians kill me now). It wasn’t like the chicken was overdone or anything. There were no fingertips in his fries. Things are different. No matter what the packaging, no matter what they tell you, things are going to be different.

I was reminded again not to be fooled by the hype. They want you to think everything is the same, but it’s impossible. Why has anyone been tricked into thinking that being the same is good anyway? Variety is good. Life has a different spice depending on where you are. Dye my Coca-Cola purple for all I care. Enough grumbling. Stop thinking, and supersize it. The difference is good.

By Tim Hoerle