Monday, October 30, 2006
This Wednesday is a bit of a holiday for me, as it marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of my birth. I firmly believe that there are just some occasions that call for a bit of contemplation and reflection. This I think is one of them. I did it for my 18th, and I tried to do it for my 21st. I did it on my 25th, and again on my 30th.
Well, five years later and here I am again.
I feel obliged to ask myself, have I learned anything? Have I grown? Am I a little smarter or wiser? Have I done anything noteworthy? Am I a better person than I was?
I feel compelled to answer these questions ‘cause it’s easy to hold my age up to the law of averages. The average American male makes it to 70, with women, 74. (These are old stats that I read somewhere, some time, that came from some reliable source, at the time, and I couldn’t be bothered to look up now.) Now I’m no math teacher, but it doesn’t take a calculator to figure out that I have, give or take, thirty-five more years to roam this earth, barring some great, horrific accident (struck by plane, train, automobile, lightening, flash flood, eaten by large snake, killer bees, trench foot, mistaken for a “virgin” and thrown in the volcano, alcohol induced coma, scurvy, tape worm, fireworks accident, shot by invading Canadians, incurable cancer, beaten to death with large latex dildo, shingles, sticker shock, caught in a stampede, whisked away to Oz on a twister, choked while eating a gold brick in a bar bet, explosive diarrhea, spontaneous combustion, eaten by a shark, drowning in a swimming pool of Jell-O, or inoperable hiccups). Like I say, barring an accident, I’ve got half of my life expectancy left.
So what do I do with the time I’ve got left?
Well, I’ve given that some thought. There are truly two things I’d like to get out of the way before I lay down for that immortal rest. I want to take a long canoe trip, and I want to write a book about it. My brother Bill and I planned to do take a long canoe trip when I was young and we never got around to it. We planned to start from the crick that ran behind our house and go as far as we could in a certain amount of time. Say, three months. Just to see how far we could make it. The Ohio certainly, the great Mississippi, yeah, the gulf, who knows? It sounded like such a great adventure, just Huck Finning our way south. The great thing about a canoe is the fact that you can take some comforts of home with you and you don’t have to carry them, the canoe does all the work. If you are in a hurry, paddle as hard as you can and you make good time, but if you are in no hurry, sit back and listen to the birds sing. The current will carry you along; you just have to steer now and again, as you watch out for low hanging limbs and beaver dams.
So I’ve decided that this is what I’m going to do. I’ve asked Big E to join my in this madness and he accepted. I have started my boat fund. I figure that three hundred to four hundred is what it is going to take to get the canoe. I haven’t planned on grub, licenses, life vests, paddles, rope, anchor or how I’m going to explain this to my wife.
When Bill and I talked about this, the idea of a book didn’t occur to me. The ambition to write a book has been much like the canoe trip. A half conceived dream for some time, but never brought to fruition. I’ve started over and over again on story after story but could rarely finish the dang thing because the task seemed overwhelming. A writer friend of mine suggested that I was going about it the wrong way. Start by telling something you know about.
I thought to myself, ”I’m a poor, white country boy? What do I know that would be worth tellin’?” I have thought about this question for years, and without an answer, I just wrote nothing.
Then this blog came along. It was just a lark to write some goofy beer history and when I was done to see it almost instantaneously published for all the world to see. Then it was more than just a good writing exercise with a few old jokes thrown in. It was a CHALLENGE. Could I write something that I could find one person to interest in reading? Could I do “it”? Then I threw myself into it. The words found themselves and I just touched it up a bit. Turns out I can do a weekly column. I was tickled with me!
Then to my horror, the threat of this sites impending doom was announced, and I had time for one last hoo-haw. One last piece, before my creative outlet was gone. I wrote a eulogy. It was a hit! The crowd applauded and begged for more! The site was to be turned over to me and there was to appear, every week, one new funny beer story, review, or whatnot.