Nine months ago – maybe more like 10 – I was a gainful beer brewer, extracting sugars from malted barley like a champ, boiling down the resulting wort with some Belgian candi sugar and mild hops, crashing the sweet liquid’s temperature down to what is tolerable to a hungry, awakening yeast cell, and then pitching the yeast like a fireballer in the ninth.
Do you know how many brewing awards I won? None. That was part of my art: to win no awards while brewing award-caliber beer.
Then I decided to stop brewing for a bit to put an addition onto my house, and it’s as if the whole beer industry fell apart. I come back from my brewing hiatus to learn that Boston Homebrew Supply has shut down. Zounds! How is a fellow supposed to surreptitiously brew a beer while his wife, who doesn’t read this blog (I think), is in Chicago doing who-knows-what with people from work? “In a conference.” Ha! Probably brewing beer with the gals, secretly, as we all know that women are poised to take over everything, including beer brewing.
But anyway… where was I? Oh yeah, Boston Homebrew Supply and its proprietor, Tom Casey, are no longer. Well, Tom himself still likely exists, but his venture and its website are now history.
Alas, I am made to go to the Modern Homebrew Emporium in Cambridge, or get my grains delivered in the mail, thus burning more fossil fuels and foreshortening the survival of our species by some fraction of a day. But at least we’ll have beer as we lurch forward toward the abyss.
When I use my status as an influencer to get my kids into a slot at a prestigious institute of higher education, I’m going to make sure they are treated just like everyone else in their class. I don’t want to find out that my kids are getting Eggs Benedict for breakfast before Math 1A while the rest of the students are getting Rice Krispies. My kids shouldn’t get special treatment just because I’m a famous blogger. I want everyone to get Eggs Benedict. And to achieve this I plan to make special donations to my kids’ colleges to establish “Eggs Benedict for Everyone.”
Of course, I know how colleges love to peel off large chunks of philanthropic gifts for “administrative costs” and will be very specific about the terms of my donations. Only Bays Original English Muffins may be served, not Thomas’. And certainly no bagels. If I find out that traditional bacon is used instead of Canadian Bacon, well, I’m going to demand that my donation be returned.
You must be wondering whether I’m going to donate a draw-down gift that will be gone by the time my kids graduate, or instead endow The Patrick McVay Fund for Eggs Benedict, thereby enabling Eggs Benedict to be served in perpetuity. I must admit I’m leaning toward the latter, so that long after I’m dead and gone my name would still be synonymous with the cholesterol-infused sandwich. Students the world over would wonder why they have to pay so much for room and board and yet can’t have Eggs Benedict like they do at my kids’ high-end universities, and the administration at these second-rate institutions would be forced to admit that they have no fund for Eggs Benedict.
Of course, if there comes a time when it is impractical to continue to serve eggs benedict because Canadians are no longer making their famous bacon, the terms of my endowment will allow the University President to use the funds to serve an egg dish that is in keeping with the spirit of my donation.
Need to start getting ads on this site so I can generate income for my donation.
I thought I might give you a heads up about what my retirement party should look like. You’ll thank me later when I retire and you’re well-prepared. There’s no futzing around with emails to colleagues and friends about what the party should look like. Who wants that? All the headaches of who should pay need to be worked out well before I’m ready to stop working. And you might set up a committee to decide what kinds of drinks should be served.
Full bar is what I’m thinking. Not that the drinks are so important, but a full bar means you can concoct all sorts of goofy drinks in my honor, which almost never happens anymore. The last time someone concocted a goofy drink in my honor was, what, back in the ‘80s? “The Wintry Micks” they called it, naming it after me and a couple of other Irish guys, due to all the Irish liquor in the drink, and it became enormously popular among people who liked a Bushmills and Jameson mashup, with a jigger of Baileys and a shot of Murphy’s, steeped in wild-caught sleet and then flash-frozen.
Of course, they got in some trouble with the name later in life and lost it all. Ah, the vagaries of drinks-naming.
But my retirement party really should have that kind of can-do drinks-naming attitude. People should be given the opportunity to creatively name drinks after me, which will live on well-past my 150 years (or so) of life. Oh, sure, my “life” might be only a few remaining cells of tissue attached to a concoction of plastic, wires, microchips and so on, but in the future that will be all that’s needed, and the public will think it’s really hot.
I’d also like a hot tray of baked ziti.
I consider myself a veteran of Christmas, having lived through 54 Christmas Days with family and friends already, and I have an enormous degree of optimism that I’ll see 100 more years of Christmas Days, give or take. If it all comes to pass as I foresee, it means I’m going to be a real player in Christmas Days to come.
What will this mean for you? Like, no more presents? No more presents is not my style! Instead I’m going to quietly and subtly affect broader themes around Christmas, poking holes in various theories around the birth of Deities and so forth. But nothing about exchanging presents or serving excellent cocktails will be changed.
If I don’t live another 100 years, well, I suppose I’ll have to affect Christmas themes in the afterlife. (But don’t bank on that).
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