I had a rare ride-along with Miss V today after while her sister was in school. These outings take ages; V likes to examine everything minutely and scatter every dandelion in sight. Nothing escapes her notice.
About halfway home she stopped to watch a centipede being attacked by ten or so ants. Completely beset, the victim struggled to wriggle away from its tormenters, which were presumably trying to incapacitate it, eat it, and/or take it to their queen.
Watching that centipede thrash helplessly from belly to back was pretty gross. I wondered how long the battle would last. Were the ants biting it? Would it eventually pass out in agony or remain unconscious while they vivisected it? The process seemed extraordinarily cruel and drawn out—and for animals with short lifespans, I wondered morbidly, is there a time-dilation effect? Does a day feel like a month to a centipede, being such a large percentage of its lifetime compared to ours? How protracted, then, is its perceived suffering?
V said she hoped the ants would win. She watched intently as the belly-up centipede failed to right itself while the ants went at it mercilessly. There was no help for it.
Only when V remembered she’d been promised a cookie at Save-On Foods did she, still rooting for the ants, acquiesce to leave the inundated creature.
You almost have to have a four-year-old tour guide to notice stuff like this. The insect world teems below us in unfathomable populations. For every ant-on-centipede onslaught above ground there must be trillions below—uncountable insect cruelty and indifference. For every beleaguered arthropod or unenviable piece of spider prey there must be further infinities of predation, pain, and suffering.
I suddenly felt very small and overwhelmed. The whole planet seemed churning with barbarism, mostly going on unnoticed.
And the hard reality dawned on me:
If the whole world—universe even—can remain indifferent to the excruciating death throes of one small creature, how can I expect anyone to give me a beer just to assuage a few tremors?
The thought swept me up like a bus full of evolutionary biologists. Not only did I feel very small; I felt very alone.
In a world of impassivity toward suffering, who would even think to give me a beer?
It wouldn’t even have to be a special beer. Whistler Brewing Company’s POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER, one of the four offerings in its Travel Pack, would do just fine.
Pale straw-gold with bright white foam and firework effervescence (think Pop Rocks), this lager was an unlikely beer in our fridge. My parents never buy lagers except when they’re part of exciting mixer packs, and invariably those lagers get drunk last. But they’re certainly welcome at LBHQ, particularly as Langley enters earth-scorching season and the sun proceeds indifferently to flash-fry earthworms on the ground.
POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER has a light and slightly hoppy aroma with a touch of background sweetness, all of which is practically unnoticeable amid a refreshing carbonation frenzy. It’s a party in the mouth, this lager, berserk with fizz, but unlike some lagers and particularly some other Whistler Brewing Company products, it has a surprisingly substantial mouthfeel yet finishes cleanly.
There are plenty of unsatisfying lagers on the market offering simple CO2 pyrotechnics as a fill-in for flavor, but POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER deserves credit for being a bit more. I bet a crisp, icy-cold glass right now would alleviate my anxieties about being a small bear in a big, cold universe, plus it would take care of my DTs.
I did propose this to my mum, who said, unfeelingly:
“Get a grip, LB, it’s 9:00 a.m.”
2 thoughts on “POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER—Refreshment for a cruel world”
Whoa! That’s a lot of existential angst for a bear. That sounds like a Lager I may actually enjoy, though.
It does a number on existential angst too. Win-win!