Drunker Than Cooter Brown: A Tale from a Wanton She-nebriate

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice...
~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez

No firing squad (yet) but I also have a memory of a distant afternoon when a parent took me to discover something magical and wonderful.

My revelation: beer.

But there was a rocky start.

It’s hard to imagine, but yes, Virginia, there was a time when I didn’t like beer.

(I should have probably suggested you sit down for that little tidbit.)

Picture it. The early '80s. I was 17. A young, dare I say comely, lass. Getting ready to venture off from the safe and more-than-slightly restrictive confines of my home and private school to the big, bad, bodacious university.

And while I had tasted the fruit of the vine, as it were, my palette was more tuned towards sweet and safe things like sangria and cheap-ass Lambrusco. The legal drinking age in those days was 19 (dinosaurs had just stopped walking the earth right about then), and as a result, this was not an unusual or, to be honest, taboo thing.

With my immediate future determined -- I would be attending the University of Florida -- my mother, of all people, decided that I needed to learn to drink beer before I went off to school.

She had this ah-ha moment while we were sitting in lawn chairs next to our car’s open trunk while tailgating outside the football stadium in Gainesville, in town to go to a game. My parents have season tickets to Gator games – have had them pretty much my entire life. About 40 rows up. With the 50-yard line stripe aligning right between my dad’s legs when he sits in his seat.

Yeah. They’re in the will. Don’t go to me, though. I get the silver instead.


There we are, sitting in our lawn chairs, eating chicken and drinking Tab (told you I was old) when Mama announces that it was time for me to develop a taste for beer. Obviously her personal experience as a UF co-ed 25 years earlier was influencing her big declaration.

She stood up, went over to the cooler that was on the ground and pulled out a beer.

Miller Lite.

In a can.

Ponder that if you will.

It was Daddy’s favorite. For some unknown, God-forsaken reason.

She handed it to me, along with a cocktail napkin, and said “cheers!”

Apropos of nothing, my mother has a “thing” about cocktail napkins. She loves them. Has them all over the house. Gives one to you with anything and everything you might be consuming when at her house. Gives them to me as presents. I have seriously 20 unopened packages of them in my storage closet. She will probably give the Good Lord himself a cocktail napkin if the occasion ever arises in heaven.

Back to the beer.

I popped that bad boy open and took a sip, being careful not to smear my Bonnie Bell Dr Pepper tinted Lip Smacker too much.

To say that that first swig was uninspiring would be an understatement.

Gross brand of beer. In a can. Not a good combination.

I think I might have gagged down about half of it, just to be polite. It got warm pretty quickly (pre-coozy days) which did not enhance its character one iota. I was less than impressed.

And so my relationship with beer got off to a less-than-spectacular beginning. Wouldn’t yours if you had what basically amounted to panther piss as your first drink? I’m still not sure what happened to my dad’s taste buds to make him tolerate that swill. Could it be that I’m too much of a drinking diva to appreciate it?

Don’t answer that. Kthx.

All of the bad memories and the yucky taste in my mouth disappeared, however, the first time an earnest fellow pumped me my first foam-a-licious, cold and delightful cup ‘o beer from a keg.

Hoppy, yeasty bliss.

Yes, there’s a story there involving ice picks and trailers and speeding tickets and drunk frat boys. But I’ll save that one for another day.

Cheers. And have a cocktail napkin.


Ruprecht said...

Damn ... these're great.

Rupe just might have to put on his sundress and heels and become she-nebriated his ownself .....

~Just Jen~ said...

Shuddering at the Miller lite but be VERY VERY thankful it wasn't Coor's lite.

To this day I can't get the image of my bro and cousin's taking a whiz into a mountain stream while they chanted Rocky Mountain piss water. I still get the shakes whenever I see a Coor's can.

My grandmother has a thing for those disposable guest towels and they are apparently hard to come by. Anytime she find them she will buy out the entire stock cause apparently the 45 packs she has in the closet aren't enough ;)

TexasRed said...

Guh - this is still my reaction to beer, no matter what kind a try. Makes my husband laugh. Oh well, he can have his beer and I'll take the bottle of wine -- it's bigger anyway.