18% ABV bottled
My favorite line from “Fight Club”–the book, not the film, though I guess it somewhat appears in both media–is “The things you used to own, now they own you.”* And that’s the way I’ve pretty much always lived my adult life. In the most spartan way possible with not many more possessions than a set of golf clubs and a huge stack of used books. It’s also why I like beer. Something I can only “own” until I pour it down my gullet and filter it through my liver.
But what about mental “ownership” of things? This is where it gets tricky for the things I used to mentally own, in other words used to unabashedly love, have gotten harder and harder to enjoy the more discerning my tastes get.
A movie buff, no longer can I simply relax and enjoy a film. Nah, they all fucking suck. Even the so-called good ones. I need a cinematic masterpiece to cause any of my synapses to fire. Most of the “funniest” movies of the year barely make me chortle once. The most dramatic of the year barely raise any emotion from me. In fact, I’d say of the three-hundred-plus flicker shows I watch per annum, I’m lucky to have a dozen of those rattle my core.**
Television is even worse. Just background noise for 99% of the week. (Then why do I watch so much?!) Ten minutes into most shows, even ones I supposedly “like,” I have lost interest, started texting, reading a magazine or book, my mind wandering. It’s the rare program–a “Lost,” “30 Rock,” a tip-top “Friday Night Lights”–that can make me drop everything and stay fully locked in.
Ditto sports. Aside from Syracuse, the Yankees, and the Giants–“my” teams–who I am lifetime signed up to watch and root for, I can barely enjoy other events. Been there done that. Oh, another dunk, another home run, another annoying T.O. press conference. Just doesn’t inspire me like it used.
Food has become simple nourishment unless it is truly mind-blowing. Luckily I live in Manhattan, so I dine well, even on the cheap, quite often. But still many of my week’s meals seem to just be boring fuel. It’s even worse when I’m in other cities as I often feel like I’m Oliver Twist in the gruel line at their “Zagat-reviewed” restaurant.
Women may be the worst of all! And I live in maybe the most attractive city in America! Certainly on the East Coast. Lately, I’ll be out for hours and hours and not see even a single woman I would date. No matter how great her personality is. Oh boy, and in bed she better be more uninhibited than a drugged-up porn actress and more pliable than Olga Korbut. I just don’t got interest any more with the 6-out-of-10 sober, lights-off, missionary position, “The Very Best of Chris Isaak” on the iPod dock, vaginal intercourse. I’d rather just masturbate to voyeur porn.
Why have my standards raised so high? Why have I become so jaded? Am I just getting old, grumpy, and curmudgeonly? Do I no longer have a libido that still fires on all cylinders? Believe me, it’s not a good thing to be bored and unimpressed with 99% of things in life. Who am I to have such arrogance, to be so critical, so discerning? I’m not so great.***
Now we get to beer, specifically World Wide Stout which is a good beer, perhaps even a great one. But I couldn’t enjoy it in the least because that very same day I’d enjoyed two masterpieces and the Dogfish Head just didn’t stack up. What dangerous thinking! It’s like being mad you’re dating a nice, cute girl next door and not Freida Pinto. Being unable to watch the brilliant “Damages” because it ain’t quite as good as “Lost.” Not enjoying Tarantino’s latest because it will never reach the heights of “Pulp Fiction.” You see how this is a bad way to go through life?
So I will try to stop. No, not just look for the good in everything, but instead savor that good in everything, no matter how good and savorable it is (Leinenkugel beers excepted). World Wide Stout is famous as one of the most alcoholic beers in the world made by one of the most extreme beer maker on this planet. Dark, rich, roasted, and malty. Yes, I didn’t find it quite as complex or flavorful as Mephistopheles’ or Dark Horizon, but shouldn’t I just enjoy it for what it is as opposed to what it isn’t? Yes, I probably should. I think an average-looking girl I was once dating said the very same thing to me once when she caught me eyeballing a knock-out crossing our paths on a Soho sidewalk. Naw, my average-looking girl was annoying. I was right to stare.
*In the film it’s slightly changed to “The things you own end up owning you.” I think the used to in the literary version is incredibly important.
**Coincidentally, a rare orgiastic cinematic experience happened just last night with a viewing of little seen 2008 documentary “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father.” I didn’t expect much from this film and don’t even recall putting it on my Netflix queue. Thank heavens some force of kismet did put it there. It’s one of those films where at the beginning you’re barely paying attention–checking e-mail, snacking, cleaning the house–and next thing you know you can’t tear your eyes from the screen. An absolute jarring work, I ran the gamut of emotions from one minute to the next as more and more facts from this unbelievable story are masterfully revealed and woven together. As for countless critics, both online nobodies or “professionals,” that call this work amateurish, those folks have clearly never made a film before because this is an absolute tour de force of both footage acquired and edited together. Heck, the editing alone is virtuoso. The best documentary I’ve seen in the last fifteen months or so, how was this not Oscar nominated?! Not to be missed, I will NEVER forget it.
***Yes, I am. Just trying to be humble for once.