Con gummy gusano—YEAH!!!

After a few days’ guilty twinges about the demise of half a dozen gummy bears in the name of science (and boredom alleviation), I felt ready to confront the surviving little guys again and let them know their peers had at least died a good death. But instead of gummy bears, Miss V thrust at me a handful of gummy worms.

Whereas I feel culpable for the way the bears dissolved in the Bacardi Big Apple, worms are a different matter. There’s no obvious parallel between bears and rum. There’s a huge parallel between worms and mescal. And you may remember that I coached the bears into the Bacardi, but you can’t really coach a worm to do anything.

You can’t even worry about a worm’s consciousness. Cut a worm in half and you get two worms, both wriggling. Whither goes the consciousness?

This thought actually freaks me out. I have maybe two brain cells, which together form some sort of consciousness. Neither of the cells is independently conscious; their synergy creates consciousness, and that’s probably how it works with you humans and your trillions of cells.

But weren’t you once one cell? When that cell divided, did its consciousness divide also? Or is that consciousness supra-cellular, merely scaffolded by cells? Or does consciousness join the party later? OMG, my fellow inebriates, when questions like these start bothering you, you know it’s time to get drunk.

As with the bears, we took a hard look at the worms to determine what they really wanted. This time we knew they wouldn’t survive the experience—we were asking them to go on a very pleasurable suicide mission already unsuccessfully navigated by the larva resting on the mescal bottle floor.

The problem with worms is their ability to divide and establish new selves. To be really thorough, we had to hack one in half and then consult both halves about their alcoholic destiny. And then to be really thorough, V thought we should hack the halves in half.

The worms didn’t seem to mind, although they definitely weren’t wriggling after our nasty work. (I can’t remember if they were wriggling before.) Anyway, V didn’t feel guilty, so I decided I wouldn’t either.

The prospect of zero guilt plus a pretext for opening the mescal to make it con gummy gusano was too appealing. Naturally Miss V was up for the project, but would her strong little hands be strong enough?


Maybe when she’s 5.

WHISKEY JACK ALE—5%, but still not for four-year-olds

It occurred to me today that Miss V is getting pretty strong.

Maybe she could help me open some bottles. Would it be so reckless to ask her?

Naturally our mum walked in the second I did ask her.

Where the hell are these kids’ parents?

I blamed Max & Ruby for corrupting us. Whatever those stupid bunnies had been doing on TV, it had reminded us of alcohol.

Even though my mother believes that Max & Ruby’s insipid plotlines and relentless gender stereotyping are definitively corrupting, she didn’t buy this excuse. If anything, Max & Ruby might suggest the Women’s Temperance Movement or the Tea Party. The show could lobotomize a child.

Thankfully it hasn’t turned V into a vegetable yet. She’s got some smarts about her, which is why—when my mother went out of earshot—I suggested we play mixology. She could measure and stir and shake and pour and add ice cubes…and open bottles with her strong little thumb-equipped hands.

I had this bottle in mind. I thought the preserved larva hanging out in the bottom would appeal to V. Just yesterday she stood spellbound watching ants attack a centipede. Why wouldn’t she want to get her hands on a mescal-saturated arthropod? She could play with it while I pounded its mind-altering marinade.

“Why don’t you stop being a pest and review another Whistler Brewing Co. beer?” said our killjoy mother.

Whether she wanted to wreck our fun or discourage V’s possible nascent interest in entomology I don’t know. She wouldn’t be able to handle a kid dissecting worms on the kitchen table, that’s for sure.

I didn’t really want to think about an amber ale like WHISKEY JACK ALE with our fridge crying out for a refill. Not with the mescal bottle so tantalizingly close. But here goes.

Another member of Whistler Brewing Company’s Travel Pack, WHISKEY JACK is a dark-amber ale with apeshit fizz and an ecru head that vanishes in seconds. The title is very appealing and suggestive, especially with INNIS & GUNN OAK AGED BEER lingering in recent memory, but upon pouring there’s no aromatic suggestion of barrel treatment.

I’ve come to think of Whistler Brewing Company beers as having a watery taste, and WHISKEY JACK is no exception. Billed as a session ale for those who like to convene with their beers rather than just drink them, this ale seems from the first sip to be missing something. Oak barreling certainly. Decent ABV indeed (it’s 5%). The smell is mildly wheaty/bready with a little caramel, suggesting more bakery than distillery.

In the mouth there’s a bit of disharmony between its sweet and bitter tones, with earthy hops pushing their way through the back of the palate while you’re still wondering about the oak. The mouthfeel is inadequate for an ale but refreshing nonetheless. If you’re thirsty, no complaints. If you’re having a session, you’ll probably bitch. Not that you would bitch, my fellow inebriates—you are all awesome.

What else can be said? Slightly puzzling but minor dischord among the flavors, thin-to-medium mouthfeel with aforementioned wateriness, and paltry alcohol. In short, well worth pounding a case all at once, and less likely to make you sick than a bottle of mescal.

We have to open that mescal bottle sometime

My Fellow Inebriates,

For the third time a head-lice notice has come home from the school. As always it says “A CASE OF HEAD-LICE HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED IN YOUR CHILD’S CLASSROOM”—although, if you bother to ask the teacher, this is a form letter, and “the case,” in this case, occurred in another classroom.


The thing that scares my parents most about head lice is cleaning the house. If the bugs nest on your kid’s head, you have to tear the house up, vacuum and bleach, seal things in bags—never mind comb out the critters and do the chemical hair treatment, all the while undoubtedly listening to some misguided neighbor ranting that the special shampoo is carcinogenic.

For filthy people like my mother the idea of vacuuming the whole house—i.e., every room in one go—is completely novel. Vacuuming the upholstery would be unthinkable. So there’s a big temptation to stay home and wait out a lice scare. But of course we can’t do that. For one thing, yours truly would get a lot of additional playtime and possibly need some parts sewn up.

The other solution would be to shave the kids’ heads—something my mother would be all over if it wouldn’t attract the wrong kind of concern. One of P’s little friends recently took the scissors to her own head, and her parents—hard-core Langley homeschoolers unable to conceive of a punked-out hairstyling solution, buzz-cut the girl’s hair, little knowing that from then on well-meaning neighbors would inquire relentlessly about “the chemo” and even bring casseroles over. Since my mother is afraid of attracting weird neighbors, shaving the kids’ heads is out.

Luckily the school already instructs the kids about personal boundaries, discouraging hat and jacket sharing as well as hugs (there’s an actual policy against hugging for grades one to seven), all of which is defeated by the dress-up gear in the preschool room consisting of every kind of hat and helmet imaginable, and obviously available for heavy sharing. Which means head lice invariably originate in preschool (where kids trade hats) and kindergarten (where the ban on hugging isn’t enforced).

Of course lice don’t stay confined to those lower grades because, when the recess bell goes, all the kids run out onto the same playground where they forget the regulations and swap hats, jackets, and hugs.

So there’s not much you can do to prevent lice, I guess, although I did pose one suggestion to my parents: soak the kids’ heads in mescal. If it’s enough to kill that big caterpillar larva in my tantalizing blue bottle, surely it can scare off any roving head lice.

For someone who doesn’t like the word “retarded,” my mother sure throws it at me a lot. She said her world was interesting enough without Child Services being involved, thank you very much, you brain-damaged bear.

I thought it was pretty generous to offer my bottle of mescal. But let’s face it, I can’t get it open anyway by myself. We need a reason to open it. Would it be so weird to sniff it from the kids’ hair?