It’s funny how beer and music come together to mark significant milestones in a life.
There’s a picture of my brother and I that hangs in my parent’s living room. It’s a black and white photo taken when I was about five or six and my brother three or four. Our hair is immaculately combed and we’re wearing matching crew neck t-shirts that look a lot like the shirts Captain Kirk wore in the original Star Trek series. In it, my brother is staring intensely, maybe a little expectantly, at a can of classic Coors Banquet beer I have pinned against my body with my right hand as I attempt to wrestle the pop top off with my left.
The year was 1969 and I remember when the photo was taken (a Sunday, right after church) because it was the first time my dad let me open one of his beers for him. I also remember that Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison was playing on the scratchy Sears phonograph in our living room.
Dad let me taste that beer once I’d wrestled off the pop top. It was sour and nasty. Something only adults would like. But the music, well, even a kid could love that. In fact, I still love that album to this very day.
Flash forward a dozen years and I’m 17 — almost 18 — in college, and away from my parents for the first time. The first week of school there’s a party in my dorm and I wind up with a big, clear plastic cup of whatever beer they’re pulling out of the keg. I’m not a beer drinker and the stuff tastes sour and nasty, but it gets me introduced to the blonde girl who lives two floors up in the same dorm.
We talked, laughed, we went to her room and she made a man out of me while Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon played in the background.
It’s still one of my favorite albums. Never did find out what the beer was.
Jump ahead to 1987 and I was out of school, in my mid twenties and back in Southern California. A couple of friends and I decided to head to Tijuana for a night of drinking and whatever. A cute blonde several years our junior tagged along.
We went to clubs and ordered Coronas, Carta Blancas, Dos Equis, Tecates, and Pacificos with lots of tequila chasers. We drank it all to Duran Duran, The Cure, White Snake, New Order, Ratt, and more –all played at 110 decibals and above.
We saw a cigarette show, a quarters show and a donkey show. Then we staggered back to America.
We sped home at 70 miles an hour listening to Depeche Mode on the tape deck. Somewhere north of San Diego the cute blonde rolled down her window and barfed, etching my car’s paint permanently and creating a giant vomit fan for those who followed us on I 5.
Two years later I married that cute blonde. You know her as Beer Molly. I still have the car and the Depeche Mode tape too. Sometimes as I’m driving I’ll listen to it and smile as I remember how I met my wife.
» to be continued…