“If it saves just one life, it’s worth it.”
Snotty Killjoys Everywhere
Many moons ago I had a keg fridge. I installed a nifty external tap and mounted a CO2 canister on the side. I stocked pony kegs and kept ice cold mugs in the freezer. Food was not allowed in my fridge. It was for pleasure only.
I loved it. I had hijacked the technology of frat house douchebags and planted it in the home of a
respectable employed adult family man. I had broken the code!
I recommend keg fridges to everyone. It’s a little luxury that brings a smile to your face.
I bought kegs from my favorite tiny brewery (this was back when “micro” meant “small garage” and “craft brew” meant “damn good”). I respect a good brewmeister; on the scale of social importance I list them up there with brain surgeons and skilled mechanics.
There was always a bit of paperwork for the keg deposit. (Kegs were sometimes cannibalized by Neanderthals in search of scrap metal.)
One day I was shocked to find the keg I’d just selected had an ominous official metallic coded tag. It was numerically matched to a page of legalese blather I was told to sign. Of course, removing the tag was punishable by whatever was in the rest of the paragraphs that no sane person would bother to read.
The town that hosted my favorite brewery had the misfortune to be as far left as possible without actually being San Francisco. Local busybodies were concerned that underaged college students might drink beer. This might lead to all sorts of shenanagans like garage bands, illicit sex, and (gasp!) fun… taken to absurd extremes, property values could conceivably drop. This would cause the overbearing snobs that lorded over the peon students to weep all over their progressive bumper stickers and trendy hemp handbags.
A law/regulation/order was promulgated which led to the tracking number on my keg. Should the local constabulary break up a raucous party of underage hoodlums who’d been fueled by double expensive high end porter the tag would point back to me. Reasonable in theory but the tag lit my fuse. That keg was my beer that I bought for my consumption. My keg fridge was a personal backstop against the miserable sameness that haunts the suburbs and some cube dwelling minion was noodling with my beer supply!
I got angry. The idea of my special personal beer being equated with gallons of industrial yak piss was a bridge too far! My beer was not destined to be slobbered out of plastic cups by degenerate underaged trust funders at a tailgate party My beer would play no part in vomiting teenagers, date rapes, or morons wrapping a car around a lightpole. One does not choke to death by overeating caviar and youthful miscreants would not wreck daddy’s SUV on the contents of my precious keg fridge!
The brewmeister understood my pain but shrugged with a sort of “who is John Galt” look of helplessness. What else could he do?
“If it saves just one life it’s worth it.” He said.
You know how you’re supposed to replay all the scenes of your life when you die? Standing there looking at a big official bar coded police tag on my beer I replayed all the scenes when some jackoff had stuck their nose in my business. Every time some weepy gutless yahoo told me I should fill out some form or pay some tax or keep off the grass or stand behind the line or whatever…it was always to save just one life. They reapeat it like a mantra. A phrase without form or meaning; a group of unrelated sylables which exist only to shut me up. I’m too Curmudgeonly to go easily into that dark night…
“No.“ I responded.
The proprietor wasn’t expecting this. His place was an oasis to me and I was usually lightness and smiles there.
“Sorry?” He stuttered.
“It’s not worth it. This is my beer. I paid for it. Fuck them! If some kid drinks his ass into the morgue it’s none of my concern. Instead of hassling honest people they can do what cops are paid to do. They can put down their damn doughnut, heave their bulk out of their chair, and investigate.” I was really steamed by now. “As for tracking me and my little keg fridge, I suggest they record the moment when I shove this tag up someone’s ass!”
Frankly I had wildly overreacted but he wasn’t as surprised as you’d expect. Maybe he’d heard it before? If anything he looked a little defeated. He’d been at war with red tape for a long time. They’d already gone after the simple little beer garden he’d set up for his customers. It was a lush lawn under towering trees. His kids had a sandbox off to the side. You could sit on comfortable cheap plastic furniture in the cool shade and watch the kids drive plastic dozers. It was a peaceful little heaven. There was no sports paraphernalia on the wall because there was no wall. No oversized televisions blaring in your ear because there were no televisions. Pierced morons weren’t pushing deep fried garbage because there was no food to purchase. Just shady trees and good beer. It had been perfect.
Predictably, chowderheads with a need to boss people around got the vapors. He had to install a corral like fence around the yard. As if we were hordes of raving soccer hooligans instead of a half dozen mellow drinkers placidly watching the kids play in the sandbox. I don’t like to be fenced in. The fence is what had caused me to buy the keg fridge and hunker down in my own yard.
Killjoys cannot abide simple individual pleasures; a good brew and a shady place to sit. They actively herd us into a corporate shitholes like Applebees. Thus empowering themselves to tut tut the conformity of the masses while they drive their Prius like lemmings to the nearest Whole Foods. How better to signal their moral superiority than strangle a quaint little brewery? I suspect their digestion is as weak as their tolerance. Perhaps that’s why they’ll emote over tepid herbal teas and scoff at a stout? One is downy fluff and the other is an oak beam.
I regained composure soon. You have to choose your battles. There’s always an asshole with a regulation and I wasn’t about to downgrade to lesser beer. I smiled as disarmingly as possible (which wasn’t particularly convincing) and left with my tagged keg. The killjoys won that round…
But they didn’t win the war! A few years later I relocated. I moved to the middle of nowhere where the very idea of tagging a keg would get you smacked upside the head. As it should.
They tagged my keg but I blew town and set up a rural homestead. They’ve got underwater mortgages and I’ve got a porch from which I can fire a rifle. Suck it yuppies!