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On The Beer

mark wood

by Mark Wood

Fast Times, Fast Friends and Fast Food

It’s too easy to do a story about Smokin’ Joe, there’s no grey area with this guy. Everything is either perfect or not worth damn. After all these years I can look at almost any situation and know exactly how he’d handle it and what he’d say. Either take it home and dust it off or burn it right where it is. Simple as that. He’s been running a Stress Reduction Clinic in his shed every fryday nite which has only increased in popularity since the rest of the world has banned smoking in drinking establishments. Sounds kinda counter-consumptive, don’t it? This only adds to the mythtique of his social club where on any given evening, himself and any number of regulars can be found puffing away on a variety of pipe, cigar and the lesser version, cigarette. All of it accompanied by copious quantities of home brew and punctuated by scoffs of wild game. One of the highlights though, is the art of conversation which is practiced and mangled with great enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, last weekend I heard one of the greatest Freudean slips of all time. One of the b’ys was under doctors orders not to consume alcohol to avoid conflicting with his medication. When offered a beverage, he declined, sanctimoniously citing, “I’ve got to obtain from alcohol.” This was one of those knee-slapping, uproarious, weepyeyed, haw-haw moments. Beer spraying out of nostrils and general falling off your chair situation. The top three retorts: Don’t we all. Works for me, and watch for that one in the next episode of On The Beer.

As promised in the last issue, I’m going to let Smokin’ Joe have a stab at journalism. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to present Smokin’ Joe, live on Fryday Nite. (Thunderous applause.)

“T’anks. “Bout time I said something. Mark, or Woody as he’s known these days, is a wild ticket, tame by our standards but enough to be entertaining. He used to share a house with three other guys a long time ago. It was an open-concept shack, big enough to have bicycle races indoors in the winter. A velodrome he called it, and every now and then they’d ride a motorcycle around in there too. It was a mad house with it’s own brewery, naturally, with shareholders and everything. Really organized and hardly civilized.

Anyway, one of the guys in the house, his brother I think, used to order up food late at night when he was full of home brew and fall asleep watching tv. One night there was a knock on the door, Woody comes out of his room to find his brother asleep with the tv on, a couple of dollars on the coffee table in front of him and someone at the door with a food delivery. He scoops up the money, pays for the food and sets it on the table in front of his brother. He starts watching tv and catches the aroma of food. He shakes his brother again who won’t wake up so he opens up the food. Mmmmaybe just a bite, oh yeah, some kinda chicken feast and he starts eating it. So far, he had expected to get caught and was ready to explain himself, even pay for it. Until the last bite. He had sauce on his hands and instead of wiping it off he was struck with divine inspiration. Woody leaned over and smeared the sauce on his brothers face, left the wrappers on the table with the tv on and tip-toed away from the crime scene. He didn’t mention it to him until about ten years later after his brother moved away to Alberta, and would you believe he remembered it. He woke up, saw the food was gone, cleaned himself off, turned off the tv, went to bed and wondered why he wasn’t full. Yes sir, Woody’s a wild ticket.”

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