Owing to a slight infection of the breathing pipes and a regrettable "banana republic" attitude to personal finances, I have spent the whole of this weekend at home.
Although I am a man of simple tastes, I do rather enjoy getting out and about come the weekend. Nothing outlandish, mind you. A few quiet drinks of a thursday evening, throw them back until one on friday and saturday and an all-day session on a sunday. Nothing that the most abstemious schoolmarm type would raise their eyebrows at, a paragon of moderation you might say.
However, there would be no excursions this weekend. Also there was no beer, not a drop of wine and nary a whiff of spirits in the old homestead. Truly these are the times that try a man's soul. As I rattled around the house, a sort of internal dialogue was playing in the old noggin, much like the angel and devil you would see on Tom the Cat's shoulders in the old cartoons.
Devil: Well this is a load of old cobblers
Angel: Think of the good it's doing you, though
D: Not as much good as a pint of Guinness. I'm bored.
A: Nonsense, there are tons of things to entertain. The olympics is on, there is a thrilling test match in progress and the premier league football begins today.
D: All of which are best enjoyed in a crowded, smoky pub, surrounded by shouting, foul-mouthed beer users while swilling countless pints of ice-cold ale.
A: At least you won't go making a slavering, gibbering great arse of yourself this week.
D: You know as well as I do that I always comport myself like a proper gentleman. With one or two exceptions, where I'm sure my drink was tampered with or something. A bad pint, perhaps.
D: Anyway, I won't meet any ladies in here, will I?
A: So what, you never get anywhere with them anyway. If you're that bothered, you have an internet connection, look at naked ladies and sort yourself out that way.
D: NO, I DON'T DO THAT. AND NEITHER SHOULD ANYBODY READING THIS EITHER.
A: I AGREE. MY EARLIER SUGGESTION WAS MISGUIDED.
D: What am I going to do all weekend then?A: Read an improving book, write some poetry, sketch a still life drawing, maybe do some housework. The choices are endless.
D: A wank it is then?
A: Oh yess.
Of course I exaggerate for comic effect. I wouldn't do that sort of thing, it's bad for you. Anyway, the long weary weekend wore on. Cricketers batted their ball around, footballers huffed and puffed, Sychronised swimmers pranced and splashed around. Fast forward to Sunday evening. I was preparing a simple repast of chinese style chicken, mushrooms and noodles. I went into the bottom compartment of the frigidaire in search of oyster sauce. Instead I pulled out a dusty, brown bottle that made my old heart sing. In a stylish blue label, it was a bottle of Ampuri Indian lager.
My very own miracle beer.
I may have tasted a more beautiful or tasty brew in my time, but I really don't remember when. It was like a little piece of heaven in a bottle. For several moments I was truly at one with the universe. It was good.
Is there a moral to be drawn from this story? Perhaps it is that you only truly appreciate something when you have to go without for some time. Or maybe that abstinence is good for you and that alcohol is best when taken in moderation.
Of course not. To quote Ice T "shit ain't like that". What this tells us is that beer, sweet, beautiful beer is the greatest thing on earth. The only thing that matters is getting at that drop. Whatever it takes, you gots to get that good stuff. And God help you if you get between me and my pint.
Thank you and goodnight.