Excerpt from upcoming book: That Internship I Didn't Take Is One of My Few Regrets

As my guitar player got progressively ill, I tried to find ways to take care of myself, to keep alive what we’d built together on my own, on his behalf. One of the things we’d done together was learn to make  homebrew and engage with that community. Bell’s Brewery's head brewmeister Mike had founded our homebrew club. Also, my hotel coworkers held “staff meetings” at Bell’s sort of monthly, so that venue was considered safe territory. A guy could let his girlfriend go there alone and not be worried that she’d meet weirdos or healthy musicians. 

I was seated at the bar next to a couple of clowns I didn’t know and we were passing a magazine back and forth, laughing at some article. I don’t remember what it was about. But I yelled at one of them: 

“YOU’RE TOO PARSIMONIOUS TO BUY ME A STOUT!” 

A guy behind me turned and said, “Excuse me?!”  I half-apologized, because I was sorry for nothing, and told him I was yelling at the blokes on my other side. Clowns, blokes. Whatever.

“I never thought I’d hear someone use the word ‘parsimonious’ correctly in conversation. You want an internship?” 

We laughed, and he explained he was at the pub with his partner at law, who was losing at darts. This guy was not too parsimonious to buy me a stout; he wanted me to stay and talk some more. He was married; neither of us was interested in romance, just truly enjoying the conversation. As I got up to leave, he said he was serious about the internship and gave me  his card. 

I did follow up, and I made an appointment to come into the law office. I also cancelled it. Tim was distraught at the idea of me driving my ugly little beater across town in the Michigan winter for this internship, and he had a couple other weak excuses. And a couple seizures. He didn’t want me to be away for too long, and I didn’t want to be. It was years later that I realized he was actually jealous. At heart he knew another musician couldn’t woo me, but he worried I might fall for somebody smarter than him.

*

The photo here is me, ca. 1998, holding up a stout I made myself. I can see the beginnings of that face I make, which my mom makes when she's smarting off to somebody. I was probably smarting off to my mom. Actually, I think I know what it is - I think she was trying to take a picture of my Stout Mustache. 

I called it UK Stout, because I used ingredients from every country in the United Kingdom, hops to yeast. I even bought a bottle of water from Wales to make sure that country was represented. Our friends - mostly Tim's bandmates - called it Girl Stout: They said it was too light to be a true stout but too heavy to be a porter. And damned if every time someone came over they'd ask me.

"You got any of that Girl Stout left?"

Yes, motherfucker. My vanity requires I give you one more bottle. It was a really good beer.

Comments

  1. Fantastic story... and I love the Girl Stout addendum!!

    ReplyDelete

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