My Fellow Inebriates,
The last year at LBHQ has been like a country music song. My blog has deteriorated to a shadow of its former, pester-you-daily self, and our drinking has indeed subsided to the dull roar my parents had threatened it would. About a hundred beanie boos, including a frighteningly large owl, have invaded the house, leaving no quarter for bears. All our household electronics are on the fritz, including the entertainment room projector, and our inability to zone out in front of an action movie has turned my friend Scarybear (being at loose ends) into more of a threat than usual. And to top it off, Facebook deactivated my account because—get this—I’m not real.
Sometimes I stare into space all day; sometimes I collapse into a little crumpled, furry ball.
Which makes Valentine’s Day downright unwelcome, my fellow inebriates. Especially given that my girlfriend Dolly says I may never refer to her as that, even in the past tense. And so, for all my fellow misfits who have no liquor and no snuggles (again), here are a few pictures.
I know you’ve all been wondering what’s happened to me. I mean, what the hell? I used to post every day. And now it’s like, every five weeks. The answer, my fellow inebriates, is that a whole bunch of stuff happened.
For starters, did you know that nervous breakdowns aren’t just for people? OMG, right? And I think I had one, my fellow inebriates.
It all started back in summer. My dad was contemplating career change number eleventy. My mum was bouncing between 80- and 30-hour work weeks. Both of them were on Candy Crush level 700 or so. Some months we had $7,000; some months we had $2,000. The kids didn’t know whether we were coming or going. We tried to have a Gin Shoot-Out and lost all our data. We were that messed up around here at LBHQ.
So we did what any logically minded family on the knife-edge between pseudo-intellectualism and outright redneckery would do. We had a tequila party.
The invitees, aka the usual suspects:
- The wondrous Christine, with her canvas bag, this time full of treasures such as DON JULIO REPOSADO and my own very tiny bottle of HERENCIA DE PLATA
- A recent cube-farm colleague of my dad’s, bearing a special French apple cider (not reviewed because my dumbass parents recycled the bottle and I can’t remember what it was called)
- My dumbass parents, with a cheap big bottle of OLMECA BLANCO
- Our next-door neighbours G and W, packing ice, coolers, and CARIBOO LAGER
- My mum’s friend L, ostensibly as a sober observer
- Children of the above plus random ones from the neighbourhood
- A bunch of exorbitantly priced Mexican limes
- Two buckets of blackberries plucked off the bushes outside my mum’s bank (“When was the last time my f*$#%! bank gave me something free?”)
With all those ingredients and more, we were ready to blend. Into the Kitchen Aid went the lime juice, tequila, ice, and free bankberries.
While they were blending, we sampled Christine’s DON JULIO REPOSADO. On its last dregs, the bottle produced four thimblefuls, which my dumbass parents prepared to knock back the way you would a shot of CUERVO. Thankfully Christine and I knew better. DON JULIO, far from resembling its cheap Mexican cousins, is more like a fine scotch, wafting mellow honey notes, structured smokiness, and hints of orchard fruit. It is a sipping tequila—something most of our party weren’t aware existed—and it deserves to be savoured for its luxurious palate and mouth-filling texture. There are not enough words to describe how lovely the several viscous drops of DON JULIO that I had were. Ahhhh, Christine, you are a genius.
But you can’t cry over dead things, and that bottle was dead. If I could have crawled inside it like Barbara Eden and soaked up the remainder of the DON JULIO with my fur, I would have, but … on to the blender. It was ready with my mother’s dumbass idea of a margarita—mostly blackberries and lime, precious little OLMECA BLANCO. Almost without exception, every person she handed her concoction to came back minutes later to doctor it up with more tequila. Before long, the OLMECA BLANCO bottle was halfway done, and people were starting to reel around the yard. As usual the kids were going berserk too, and before his neurons got too tequila-saturated, my dad cooked everybody some hamburgers. It was as wholesome as it gets at LBHQ.
The DON JULIO now a distant memory, it was time to sample the OLMECA BLANCO straight-up. Its fresh, herbal nose was a distinct gear change from DON JULIO. But as far as cheap ($26.99 for 750 mL) tequila goes, you could do a lot worse. Peppery and slightly citrous, OLMECA BLANCO is a nice clean spirit that nevertheless screams margarita. It just belongs with exorbitant Mexican limes—so much so that you find yourself returning again and again to the blender, and then to the bottle to add more tequila. OLMECA BLANCO was a good find.
Our two buckets of bankberries just about kept pace with the OLMECA BLANCO, running out just before anyone became incoherent. But some of our neighbours were not getting along. I couldn’t possibly tell you which ones were arguing/administering the silent treatment because I simply don’t have enough brain cells to hold that information plus two booze reviews. Suffice to say it was human stuff, and the involved parties went home. Christine retreated to our uncomfortable futon, my parents put the kids to bed (sober thanks to my mum’s dumbass notions about how much tequila to put in a margarita), and I passed out on the kitchen counter among the empties. But I was left with a dawning thought—thinking of the incompatibility of some of our neighbours—that alcohol does not in fact bring people together. It does not generate the harmony I once thought. Imagine that, my fellow inebriates!
Over the next few weeks this thought continued to nag me. Compounding it, my parents said we were going to keep our escapades “down to a dull roar” for the foreseeable future. They made no more tasting plans. They bought no more tequila. And one, or maybe both, of my brain cells snapped.
What do you think, my fellow inebriates? I mean, about this idea that alcohol isn’t a good thing for friendships and families and neighbours? Is it all a load of crap? Or is this just another beastly way of messing with yours truly?
In the downstairs bathtub this morning: two of the meatiest, most massive silverfish ever seen, squaring off with a hefty spider. Suspended above them by an invisible thread: the exoskeleton of one of their mates, presumably tortured to death by the spider.
Of course I wanted to see who would win. But my mother didn’t care. “F**k you guys,” she said, and shot all three down the drain with the showerhead.
That’s the level of enlightenment at LBHQ.
I thought my mother could use a beer but she has an inexplicable resistance to drinking at 7:00 am, and her unwillingness to let me watch the silverfish-spider death match is pretty much indicative of her unwillingness to take any of my good suggestions.
So I had to wait until 5:00 pm to try this new beer in the fridge: Parallel 49 FILTHY DIRTY IPA. And even then I had to fight my dad for a share of it, which felt sort of like being a silverfish versus a big-ass hairy spider. But fight my dad I did, my fellow inebriates, and here’s what FILTHY DIRTY was like:
Ahhh! Let me start with 7.2% alcohol. It had me there, friends, but it was only getting started. FILTHY DIRTY boasts an IBU of 55, the combined effort of Chinook, Centennial, Citra, Simco, and Ahtanium hops—not fighting it out but harmonizing into a piney, grapefruity, bittersweet hopfest with a creamy mouthfeel and a long linger. My dad and I marveled at the various hop contributions; as we savored the IPA we could taste tropical notes and subtle bready malt backnotes. It was totally, totally yummy.
My mum said it tasted like elastic bands and earwax, which is what she says about all IPAs. We called her a philistine and suggested she get into the kitchen and make the family some pizza.
And that, my fellow inebriates, was a lot like picking a fight with a big spider. Don’t even ask who won.