Nothing sparked my dad’s interest more than a drinking handicap. If you told him you don’t – or couldn’t – drink alcohol, he’d render that a challenge. It would become his mission to transform every Shirley Temple sipping virgin into an emblazoned dipsomaniac with the perfect elixir. Well, everyone excluding the Muslim busboy who came to propose to my sister wielding a 6 pack of Budweiser like it was a bomb.
The busboy, whose name might’ve been Mohamed but we’ll call him Barry, staged his proposal thusly: he took the day off of work because he never had a day off (never), came over to our house when he knew my dad would be home, then he pulled the six pack of beer out of the brown paper bag he had clutched in his hand and threatened, “If you don’t let me marry your daughter, I will drink this!”
My dad looked a little stung. He coolly asked,”By yourself?”
I stared at my sister for being such a loser magnet. Who the fuck uses a six pack as a dowry and threatens not to share? I hardly knew Mohamed-Barry but all I could think was how sorry I felt for the little bugger. He was either clueless to the point of absolution or just another idiot stuck on my sister, but he was not going to leave a happy man, that was for sure.
My dad assessed the situation and spoke to me and my sister through pursed lips in Japanese, “He’ll condemn himself to Hell if he drinks that beer, right?”
“Yeah, or he might just puke,” I said.
I was going to suggest that if Mohamed-Barry was willing to go to Hell for drinking a Budweiser, he might as well have a bacon-cheese-hamburger to go with it and make it Armageddon. But of course, we had no hamburger meat. Or bacon. Plus, my sister seemed to be enjoying the sacrifices this boob was willing to lay out for her and I didn’t want to be an accomplice to Satan. Or France, or whatever the Muslim adversary is.
Just when I was wondering whether my dad’s intention was to get Mohamed-Barry to leave my sister alone or to get him to leave the beer and get out, the busboy broke down in tears. My dad put up a hand of solace and said, “Okay – let’s talk about the beer.”
After a brief lecture, my dad said something along the lines of love and an ice cold beer having this in common: it’s enjoyable when you earn it. Then he shoved him out the door with the same three words he always gave me: do more research.
My dad was a hero for a day. He spared the beer from consumption by an amateur and my sister was free of another fanatic. She eventually married a moron anyway, but one who could drink without condemning us all to Hell.
My dad’s Happy Hours came to an end after he suffered a stroke. It was sad seeing him sit in front of the TV with a banana instead of his edamame and beer. When reality set in, he took to sweets to take the edge off. According to him, cake and booze DNA were one and the same – if you could eat an eclair, you could down a White Russian. That sounds good to me, especially now that I have to be dry.
Currently, my happy hour consists of a cinnamon roll from Nita’s European Bakery. I have to say, it’s the shit, yo! They usually sell out by 8:30 am, so if I manage to get one, I will literally rip the hands off the person who tries to infringe upon it. Sometimes, very rarely, I’ll share it with my boys, and unlike Mohamed-Barry, they do not have to enslave themselves to me for some. Well, technically they’re already enslaved to me, so I just make them promise not to fart at the table during the sacred cinnamon roll break. Otherwise, it’s a regular toot-and-chew.
With chemo, there are very few things that remain palatable – everything tastes like you’re sucking on a metal spoon. Yet, the cinnamon roll stays true – that’s love right there. I start singing Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl and replace girl with roll, “I wanna live with the cinnamon roll…” If I were in middle school, the kids would tease me with, “if you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?” – which I would seriously consider, but then what would my husband do?
He’d probably search for beer-bomb-wielding-Mohamed-Barry.