"Tsk!" One of my girlfriends huffed the other day. "I swear, sometimes! All guys want to talk about is beer and football!"
I swear sometimes, too, though it's a habit I'm rapidly outgrowing as my preschooler has finally hit the stage where she repeats everything Mommy says. ("Bleep bleep bleep your boat, gently down the stwe-ee-eam! ... ") But despite my fondness for girly stuff like color-coordinated, ruffly underthings and Desperate Housewives reruns, I have to give the guys props on those two particular topics.
Football is better than soaps. Anyone hear about Raider Jerry Porter griping about training camp? "I don't play two games in one day. Why should I practice twice a day?" Dude! You need to practice twice a day because this is two years in a row that your team's been lucky to win two games in a row!
The drama doesn't stop there. A scheming agent (Drew Rosenhaus) was threatening to keep all his players out of training camp! Veterans and rookies alike are holding out for more money! More folk won't be coming back after concussions, cracked vertebrae, strokes and other dreadful ailments! Worse still, a stomach flu has swept the Miami Dolphins. (The only thing more annoying than being trapped two steps from the toilet is knowing that the entire world is waiting to ask you, "Did everything 'come out' okay?" When millions of people want to know the consistency of your last bowel movement, you know you're a star. I'm sure the Dolphins have been passing the Imodium AD around and asking each other, "How do you think Britney Spears handles situations like this?")
But as interesting as football is, beer is even better. Not so much to drink, but as a surprisingly good conversation piece.
Next time the "Tastes great! Less filling!" argument erupts, clear your throat and announce, "Ask not what you can do for your beer, but what your beer has done for you lately!" Over the blank looks, you can launch into a discussion of why there should never be a separation of Church and Stout.
Religion and beer? Yep. The Catholic Trappist monks of Belgium make beers that even Michael Jackson agrees are some of the world's finest. (Not the gloved music superstar. The hairy hefty brewery superstar. They're easy to tell apart if you put em side by side.) Anyway, given the monks' religious vows to lead simple lives, the proceeds from the beer go toward "social and charitable aids". Beer responsible for good deeds? Strange but true!
Since the late 1990's, the Schmaltz Brewing Company has been marketing He'brew beers. They're a secular company, but they're Kosher. And with slogans like, "This Chanuka, candles won't be the only thing getting lit!" they're a lot of fun. They offer two beers right now: their Genesis ale ("Our first creation") and Messiah Bold ("It's the beer you've been waiting for!").
"Funny!" exclaim some of your beer buddies. "Offensive!" decide others. Don't worry, there's still plenty more avenues of beer discussion to wander down. How about the Hindu man who pointed out that Steelhead Brewing Co.'s use of the god Ganesh on its India Pale Ale t-shirts was tasteless? Or the Wiccans who took offense to Black Sheep Brewery's Holy Grail Ale ("tempered over burning witches")?
Sure, beer profits have been used for good, and beer has sparked social debate, but has a beer ever done something constructive for its community? How about Taybeh beer out of Palestine? The label is controversial -- it reads "made in Palestine," even though Palestine doesn't officially have its own state, but also proudly advertises kosher status -- reflecting owner Nadim Khoury's optimistic dedication to helping his homeland achieve a state of normalcy and peace between clashing cultures.
Anyway, I'm not saying guys have it all right and girls got it all wrong. One trip into a public restroom will enforce forever in your mind which gender is superior. (My daughter announced within the first week of potty training that "boys' bathrooms are icky!" and refuses to let Daddy take her to the restroom.) But I have to give the guys their due on the beer and football combo. Even their commercials are better. I say we ladies should take over the topics and steal them from the boys. After all, the more beer you drink, the more trips to the restroom you need, and we've definitely got the home field advantage there.
Comments about (what else?) beer or football to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.
This article first appeared in the July 31, 2005 issue of the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.