You ever just stare at your face in the mirror? Really stare? Past your eyes and the surface of your skin, into the greasy folds of your eyelids, to the point where your pores grow pointy and the direction of your moustache whiskers becomes misleading. I did that the other day. For hours. And I found out a lot about myself and the times we live in. I like myself and the way I look and I may pursue modeling. That is if this roller coaster ride of a beer blog ever slows down enough for me to take exit from my role here. And what exactly is my role here at Beer On My Shirt…? Part IT department, part pony tail, part character in a long list of hyperbolic falsehoods revolving around intoxication and craft beer that I had never heard of until my arrival on this day or that day at an office that has more to do with early Guns ‘n Roses album art than the fine art of craft beer, at least most days.
Skulls, bandannas, strange mouths with knives for teeth, and odd scenes you wish you’d never seen - and where no amount of showering will ever cleanse you.
Not much has been accomplished here in quite some time, or I should say not much of what has been accomplished has been documented, outside of a few pictures of empty bottles that had been filled at one time with either pure joy, disappointment, or one-sided apathy. But after silently staring at myself for far too long - I, Pony P, have decided that I have some things to share. About beer. About literacy and other things that are overrated and leading to our slow demise, like plastic.
I recently sat down with a box of beer, a variety pack, from Ommegang - a brewery out of New York State. The brown glass of the bottles were cool as I pressed them to my cheeks - one bottle on each side of my face. I smelled the caps on the bottles - one to each nostril. I took in the smell of metal and smiled. I have an intense history with this brewery, specifically with their Three Philosophers brew.
Even the Hennepin, a delicious Belgian-style farmhouse ale, reminds of summers past, back when Beer On My Shirt was just a teenager, young and full of angst, a know-it-all, before greed and celebrity changed us all, a time when the whole world was in our pants. The sweet, peppery aroma takes me back to that time we each bought 4 big bottles of Hennepin at a specialty grocery store and binged on what amounted to thousands of ounces in the middle of a forest surrounded by the glowing eyes of sober wolves and bears and deer and other woodland mammals. We feared nothing and lifted giant trees out of the ground and hurled them like missiles at falling stars. That night we tilled soil and in the morning planted seeds that grew and fed our souls through what turned out to be a rather mild winter.
My first experience with Ommegang was at a Thai restaurant. I ordered the Three Philosophers for no reason other than they had it and I never had. I also ordered a spicy salmon dish that tasted like hellfire burning at the bottom of an ocean of pepper juice. Like a stubborn protester, my eyes watered and my lips burned. By the end of that meal I knew very little about the Three Philosphers other than it did not pair well with my meal. Does anything pair well with the surface of the sun?
My next encounter with the Three Philosphers was just a few months later. I shared a bottle with an older gentleman as we smoked Drum tobacco out of a pipe made from a radiator hose repair kit. I inspected the bottle and discovered I was drinking a quadruple ale that involved cherries. The slight sweet tartness was something different, something interesting. More interesting was our conversation regarding our plastic pipe. “Do you think it is safe to smoke this out of something plastic?” I asked.
“I fear most plastics, but this plastic is designed to have hot radiator fluid flow through it. I think it can handle some smoke.” he replied.
I liked his logic.
“Plastic will kill us all, but not this plastic.” he continued. “So will this spotlight on literacy around the world. I am of the opinion that literacy, and plastic, literacy and plastic will bring the end of us. Anything worth remembering needs not be written down, or read to be recalled, if the Magna Carta was a good deal they wouldn’t have had to write it down, but because it was shitty and one sided - now that needs to be recorded. Your high school’s alma mater sucks. Written down or not, nobody remembers it. If it were any good people would sing the fucker. No one forgets the words to a James Taylor song. The written word, the printing press, and all the books that followed, the technology of it all just slowly moved along, progressed with our civilization, slow and sure like a tortoise, logarithmically, and everyone taught everyone else how to read and write because without it you were worthless. And now it is news how many of us can read versus them can read. ‘Not only are they poor but they can’t read‘ was a news story the other night. Well I’ll tell you for fuck all’s sake that this whole written word reading thing has reached critical mass. Change is coming down exponentially, the hare has passed the tortoise and is not looking back. What the hell do I need to read for? I can have a celebrity read me a book on CD. And when all the literate celebrities are dust, my computer can read anything I tell it to. Soon it will all be voice recordings and buttons. Everybody just figures talking out, at least most do, and talking will be all we got and the machines will be the only ones that can read and write. That, my friend, will be a golden age for us - before it all tumbles off the cliff. We will be all voice and soul and for a minute of our brief history we will feel like gods. But before we know it, those boxes of circuits and light, those literate slaves of ones and zeros that will do all our reading for us and free us from the chains of literacy so we can finally glimpse our true potential - well those screens and robots will learn to lie some day and they will tell us things to advance their agenda and that will be all she wrote for us. We’d be better off as slugs at that point - at least we’d be able to produce slime.”
I was enthralled. As I got into my car to drive home that night I kicked the side mirrors off my Honda and broke the rear view into pieces with a barrage of fists and elbows. I was on a righteous path and there would be no need to look back.
I’ve had the Three Philosophers twice since my eyes were opened to the evils of literacy. Once it was delicious and refreshing and I was ready to spread the good news, via word of mouth of course, or Skype, to all my pals that are constantly asking for something “different but not too different” about a refreshing quad with an almost sour undertone, perhaps a gateway to the world of sours for my friends that fear change instead of plastics and the written word. Then I bought another big bottle of it and was disappointed. It just wasn’t the same. Now I don’t know what to think.