Disconnect and self-destruct one Bulleit at a time
What’s your rush now? Everyone will have their day to die…
~MJK, APC, 13th Step “The Outsider”
A normal fall day. Hand-pressing apple cider with my dad. It starts to rain. We put up the portable gazebo (a fancy name for an open-sided tarp tent).
Dad, working on connecting the perimeter poles: “See, I think there’s a design flaw in the locking mechanisms. They lock the sides, but not the center.” The center falls apart as he says this. I say something like, “Gaa, the center came apart!” He lets out a cuss.
I put it back together. The sides fall out. He says, “Gaa!” I get the center in. Something cracks. I cuss.
“Dad, this isn’t going to hold together. The center piece already cracked again. I think we need to chuck it and make a more sturdy replacement out of wood.”
“Probably. Let’s just try it for now. I just glued it up, it should hold together.”
I think to myself, “Hear me baby? Hold together…” but I’d like to get back to pressing cider. I hear another crack.
“It’s not holding!” Another side comes apart.
“Will you just humor me?!” he snaps (I make note of his word choice, but say nothing). “Help me put the tarp over it, that’ll help hold it all together.”
The wind picks up. Dad: “This thing’s going to go sailing if the wind gets any stronger. We’d better guy it out.”
“It stopped raining.”
“I know. That’s why we put the tent up. If we hadn’t put the tent up, it’d still be raining.”
“I don’t really think it’s necessary at thi–”
“Will you just humor me? Please? I want to see if this’ll work.”
I think, this is what happens when you spend more time than you want fixing something that refuses to stay fixed, and then I took his repeat request at face value.
“Ok…So three nuns walk into a bar.” Dad looks up at me from the guy line he’s cinching to the picnic table with a mischeivious smile on his face. So far so good.
The bartender looks up from the glass he’s drying. He’s heavily tatooed, has lots of piercings, and doesn’t seem surprised at all at the sight of the nuns as they saddle up to the bar. “What can I getcha?” he says to the leftmost nun only.
She takes a look at the wall of bottles behind the bartender, makes her decision and says, “A shot of Holy Water, please.”
“Right,” says the bartender as he disappears without hesitation into the kitchen storeroom behind the counter. The other two nuns look at her like she’s crazy, but don’t say anything.
He returns holding a shot glass filled with a clear, odorless liquid and slams it down on the bar. “One shot, Holy Water.” He wipes his hands on his bar rag and turns to the middle nun, who’s in a state of shock.
Thoughts fly through her head. Where did he get the holy water? Is it really holy water? We’ll, I’m a person of Faith, and I see no reason not to trust him, she reasons. She meets his glance and says, “Another shot of Holy Water, thank you.” Again, the bartender disappears and returns with the shot glass full.
The first sister raises her glass to cheer while the bartender leans on the bar and looks at the third sister. “Well, what’ll it be?”
Without hesitating, she says, “House whiskey for me, thanks!” The other sisters stare at her like she’s insane while the bartender fills a shot glass with amber liquid and slides it her way. She grabs it, downs it in one gulp and looks back at them dismissively saying, “Baah, it all tastes the same after the third one, anyway.”
I don’t mean to imply that it’s a good joke. I made it up on the spot, and I’m no good at telling jokes, especially the good ones. I was hoping he’d get the reference I made, but I don’t think he remembers the original conversation. It started over a year ago, winter 2012 in Bend with my girlfriend at the time. We were there for a friend’s wedding. At a liquor store. I don’t remember why the liquor store was so important at the time. But there we were, staring at a shelf wall filled with an overwhelming array of choices. So with some hesitation I call my resident alcohol consumption expert.
“Dad, I need your advice. I’m standing in front of a wall of whiskey. Which one do I buy?” We talk for five minutes. Yes, that one’s pretty good. That’s a solid brand. No, stay away from them. Well, how much do they want for it? Sounds like a good deal. I wouldn’t pay that much for a whiskey, even if it is that old.
The discussion started to get circular and repetitive. In short, we’re not getting anywhere. He probably senses the frustration in my voice. Or maybe the fact that I said something like, “I don’t think we’re getting anywhere.” I knew he was tickled — I heard the twinkle in his eye, even through the shoddy cellphone speaker.
He offered an authoritative, if conservative, conclusion in his response: “Look, go with one of the solid brands. After the third shot it all starts tasting the same, anyway.” And that was that. My girlfriend and I bought the Bulleit. Rye. It lasted through most of the rest of our breakup.