Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Bar

On this daddy day, trying to think of what “dad” would do that made him a dad. He sat at the end of the table. He carved the turkey. He drove the family around. He was the head of the house; a position that comes with the title “dad”. So while viewing notices of all these folks celebrating their dads and thinking of an upcoming event with several of these dads, I pondered a comment made by one dad and I quote, “So, we are talking about getting together and drinking beer.”
The occasion is a “When I’m sixty-four” celebration. It’s not about the record or maybe it is because these geezers have reached that age. Due to our busy lives and lack of communication, we put one of the pups in charge of organizing this fiasco. It seems we cannot get together without alcohol so I guess we will be spending time in a bar or tavern or local drinking establishment.
Maybe the first thing our species invented was fermentation to dilute our minds of how tough life is. We certainly have carried the processing of the grape and barley with us around the globe. We drink to celebrate, we drink to drown our sorrows, we drink to pass the time, and we drink to gather money with festivals every weekend.
With this understood, drinking venues were created. They became gathering spots for the gentlemen of the community to decide politics, swap tales and network. Restrictions were made to keep the establishments closed during certain times, but being a resourceful species we found a way to bring the venue into our homes.
By the mid-20th century the bar became a standard for all the suburban ranch houses. The first question asked when another couple came over was, “What would you like to drink?” It was the centerpiece of entertainment and the dad was the bartender.
Of course the bar had it’s own recipes and concoctions and utensils and glasses. A fully stocked bar had to have all the ingredients for any combination of drinks. Like the outside grill or riding mower, the bar was the pride and joy of the day.
Bartending was a man’s sport until tavern owners realized by having a woman bartender who looked like a hooker, the number of request for drinks grew and patrons stayed longer. Also bartending at home cut the pattern of the husband staggering home after a “business meeting” but also made available to women libations to help the daily chores of ironing, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children go by.
So much is said for gun control or automotive speed limits or even illegal substances, but alcohol in all its variations seems to cause some problems.
There are approximately 80,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States according to the CDC. This makes excessive alcohol use the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation. In 2006, there were more than 1.2 million emergency room visits and 2.7 million physician office visits due to excessive drinking. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2006 were estimated at $223.5 billion.
The rules are don’t drink if pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant (but that is probably the way you will get pregnant), don’t drink until you are a certain age (as if that is going to stop you) and don’t drink and drive (unless they don’t catch you). What the rules don’t count on is we like to be impaired. We like to have an excuse for being silly or obnoxious or even dangerous. We don’t like the morning after hangover.
My parents had a cabinet at the top of the stairs with lots of fancy bottles. My dad, running a private club, had access to lots of distillers and distributors so he could have his choice of the “good stuff”. I don’t remember seeing my parents drink together but there are photos of couples coming by the house being entertained. I do remember we had all sorts of glasses that were not for milk. We even had glasses that when you filled it with a liquid the lady on the front of the glass lost her bathing suit. I never was interested into breaking into any of the bottles.
I learned drinking from my Libbie friends. We’d make fake ID cards and sneak into a local bar for expensive watered down beer. Now and then a bottle would be passed around but with so many people and so few bottles the results were not overwhelming. The thought at the time was you had to drink to be sociable, cool, like James Bond. This was still the time of the blue laws so access to liquor was difficult if not impossible. Dads would lock up their bar before they locked up a gun closet.
I had some bad experience with liquor growing up so when I was of age to buy my own, I purchased wine. I thought this would be more cosmopolitan and suave. To entertain, my wife and I would invite our friends over for a wine tasting party. Cards and information about the wines were prepared and several bottles were purchased, but it seems our friends just wanted to get drunk and didn’t care what the wine tasted like.
Now my friends have bars and glasses and utensils and pride themselves on the variety of bottles in their possession.
So I’ve never had a bar. I don’t know how to prepare a slow gin fizz from a white Russian. So if you want to come over and be entertained with adult concoctions, BYOB. I will provide you with mass quantities of cheap beer or if you prefer the grape, but I only have one wine glass unless you want to drink out of a cup.

1 comment:

Joel said...

More probably a beer fest, although a trip to wineries is not out of the question. Drink up!