I don’t know anything about alcohol, but that hasn’t stopped me from becoming a snob about it. Using a complicated system, I’ve been slowly infiltrating the network of people that will see a stranger’s Bud Light and consider them a social pariah.
Whenever someone starts making their case for the superiority of Kentucky or Tennessee bourbon, I rush ahead and agree blindly. I make it clear that the origin of the alcohol matters greatly to me, and then I curse the other state for its lackluster skills.
You’d think that I was drinking melted table from the way that I constantly use words like “oak” and “oak-ey” when describing how my alcohol tastes. It seems that the more wooden I can make it sound, the better. I could say “This bourbon tastes like my porch,” and I’d receive subtle nods of approval. “You’re right, Daniel. And do I taste the faint hint of my late grandmother’s creaky rocking chair?”
I become uptight whenever someone mixes anything. “You’re ruining it when you pour Coke in it,” I’ll obstinately state, before crinkling my face as I take a sip.
I always ask what the bar special is, and then I promptly order something else, because I need my buddies to know that if it’s great, they wouldn’t be giving it away for cheap. My bar tabs are enormous, but at least I know that I’m charmingly unlikable.
If I’m buying a twenty-four pack of beer, I always let the grocery store cashier know that I’m going to a party. I wouldn’t be buying this crap if I wasn’t in a rush, or if I was going to a place that was somewhat organized. It lets them know that I know how to have fun, but that if I was really going to have fun, I’d be getting something a little nicer.
When I have to contact the bartender, I use hand motions. I’m not going to call him over like I would if I was ordering house tequila. I do this weird thing with my fingers and wrist that I saw in a movie once. And when I get the drink in my hand, I always pause to swish the glass around gently and stare into the liquid in it, because I’m thinkin’ about something. Sometimes, I think about a novel. And sometimes, I think about a relationship that I once ruined, even though I thought that I was doing the right thing at the time. But mainly, I’m thinkin’ that I look a lot like Robert Mitchum when I start thinkin’.
I throw my tip down like it doesn’t mean anything. I want to look like I’m sweating dollar bills out of my palm. I want it to look like I had money in my hand, and it slipped out as I was waving my arm over the bar. Sure, you can have that, bartender. It doesn’t mean anything. If it did, I would’ve laid it down like I had some sense. But I know what I’m doing when it comes to alcohol, so I don’t.