23.1.15

The Surprising Boilermaker of Life's Rich Pageant


It's been that kind of week.

You know, after a lo-ooong week of the above metaphor, sometimes you just need a drink. So, as Minecraft plays point and counterpoint in the other room, allow Da-da to wax boozy for a moment. He's due.

Like any human, sometimes Da-da needs a drink. Like now, on a Friday night. So, he's having one. He's not researching or writing or shopping or cooking or parenting or meditating -- nor is he having a White Russian. No, he's drinking Jack Daniels and a beer: a boilermaker, if you will, just like his hardworking Hoosier parents who still can't explain what a Hoosier is.

There's something truly low-maintenance and satisfying and Da-da-like about a boilermaker, ordering one, drinking one. Da-da likes everything about it. It's simple, and complex. It's not expensive. Above all, it's utilitarian and consistent: two things every parent craves. Sure, Da-da orders martinis when he wears the odd tuxedo, or perhaps a manhattan if he's feeling rakish. (Martinis always strike Da-da as a more solfish, James Bondian endeavor.) Winewise, Da-da's parents are trained chefs, so... since he's one by osmosis, his palate knows virtually everything there is to know about wine, from nearly every region. (No, Da-da will not tell you what his favorite wine is, as it's a secret. Why should he tell you? So you can drive the price up?)

Simplicity.

Ok, so a boilermaker. Thing is, Da-da wondered WHY he likes Jack Daniels as that all-imortant half of the boilermaker equation. There are lots of reasons. Jack looks great. Tastes great. Great bottle. Great name. Rich history, recipes. Ms. Mary Bobo.

But... Jack Daniels smells... like a banana. It's banana-y. One of Da-da's best friends pointed this out and Da-da was really surprised that he missed that one. It's so obvious. Just sniff it: BANANA. But weirder still: why does Da-da LIKE that banana smell? Well, he just discovered why.


Yup. It's Tester's modeling paint.

Da-da not only built every Monogram and Revelle model ever made, he also used to make scale models of wooden ships, selling them to collectors and museums when he was quite young. At 14, Da-da needed no sleep, so he stayed up forever making The Cutty Sark, The Constitution, The SURPRISE... Da-da loved making The surprise; he has her memorized... but they all required paint and varnish at one point. Da-da of course didn't drink back then -- not till 20 years later he was 35, which is a story unto itself -- but he still remembers the taste of the paint, the fumes, the lines of the ship, the details, the frustrations, the triumphs.

For anyone who's never ventured past the cat head, the 21 (complete) novels of Patrick O'Brian -- a melange of which was turned into Master and Commander, The Far Side of the World -- are then best historical novels ever written. Like Jack Daniels, they require a certain nostalgia and taste for blunt intricacy and efficiency of character, as well as a certain maturity to appreciate.

And with the virtual Minecraftian, sea shanty life-soundtrack tunes of C418 (who's some surprisingly talented Berlischer kid) playing in the other room while Da-da's boys actually get along, all of the above takes on the wondrous creak and shift of an impossibly plausible tack across the pitch and fury of life's rich pageant.

It's Friday. A triple ration of grog for all Da-da's friends.


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