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On The Beer

mark wood

by Mark Wood

FAHD California Chapter

“It gives me great pleasure,” says Smokin’ Joe, “to announce we have established a chapter of the First Airborne Homebrew Division in California.”

(Polite applause. Golf Clap, I believe it’s called.)

“Our Foreign Affairs Correspondent in California will carry on the rich tradition of drinking and writing so others less fortunate may read about drinking.”

(Thunderous applause.)

“The cause was made popular by the likes of Charles Dickens…”

“I thought Dickens only cranked out verbose misery,” interjects a surprisingly well-read Jimmy Two Fires.

“Check out Pickwick Papers,” offers SJ. “Five hundred pages of falling into buckets of beer. Another perfect example is Hunter S. Thompson who recently had a titanium spine installed and is still drinking/writing at his Owl Farm in Colorado.”

“I heard he’s a trigger-happy, pyromaniacal, liquored-up cyborg,” gossips JTF.

“Kind words, indeed,” admits SJ. “He’s a tough act to follow. His buddy P.J. O’Rourke is pretty handy with a shotgun too, loves a Cuban cigar and possesses the uncanny ability to find beer at the bottom of a rainforest.”

(Murmurs of approval.)

Smokin’ Joe pauses for effect before delivering his sockdolager: “Ernest Hemmingway,” he roars, “tore the urinal out of Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West! He figured he paid for it over the years and decided to take it home.”

(Knee-slapping haw-haws and general consensus to perform immediate bathroom renovations, or at least cut down a tree or two.)

SJ’s lecture has a profound effect on JTF:

“We’re a lot like those guys, you know,” he says softly.

“Hardly,” said SJ, thoughtfully stoking the fire. “We’re only part-time pyros!”

Mark is also a regular columnist with The Independent (.ca) newspaper.