Love it or hate it, it sucks. Rainy tent erection. Sucks. Boisterous drunken neighbours. Sucks. Mosquitoes. Every single one of them sucks.
What doesn’t suck are the shared lasting memories that are both measurable and immeasurable. The indelible ties that bind. The best of which involve firsts.
This year, in the shadow and under the stars of our glorious Rocky Mountains, we shared a beer. And not just any beer, the beer of my misspent youth, a Heineken. The fabled Dutch brew that marketed itself as the drink of the douchey eighties yuppie.
I should preface this tale by admitting that I hate beer. All beer. To me, beer smells like urine. But every year, about this time, I get a craving for a Guinness. I usually buy a can of the dark stuff, keep it frosty until the hottest of summer days, then ultimately drink about half before dumping the rest. This year, to my surprise, my craving was for a little Heiny. I haven’t had a Heineken in over thirty years. Why the heck now?
Suffice it to say, all beer tastes the same to me. Plus, it has that warm pee thing happening. These reasons are probably why I don’t appreciate this over-marketed beverage. This year, like every year, I expected something different. This year, like every year, I didn’t get it. But what I did receive was a bevy of new impressions.
I personally frown upon the illogical and ridiculous reasoning for age limitations. Under the proper circumstances, under the proper supervision, life can be explored. Under the watchful eye of a responsible parent, kids can experience life along with instead behind their parents’ back. There are obvious things my kids need to be of the appropriate age to partake like driving a motorized vehicle on city streets, sexual relationships, and true embarrassment felt by unexpectedly seeing dad’s bare ass in the shower. But sampling various foods and beverages is not on that list. Everything should be on the table. Especially if I know they are going to hate it.
My son’s reaction was expected. His face twisted and he kept sticking out his tongue and burping. “Who drinks this crap,” he’d belch every time his body rejected his tasting.
My daughter’s reaction was more concerning. After her first sip, she made the obligatory faces and noises, but then stated that Heineken tasted like the skunky smell of marijuana.
She quickly had a second sampling to confirm her observation. When she asked for a third, I cut her off.
“It’s science, dad,” she straight-faced told me after I defunded her further research.
I then had her third sip and damn, she was right. It was the skunkiest beer I’d ever had. I had another sip to confirm that what I had thought I had tasted, I actually did. I had. And for the last time. I took the half drunk bottle and poured its remaining contents down the campsite drain. Enough was enough.
Later that evening, under the amplification of falling rain while everyone else slept in the tent, I lay wide awake wrestling with my triumvirate of problems.
Did my daughter feign her dislike for beer or did she actually like it?
Why was she so familiar with the skunkiness of Mary Jane?
And most perplexing of all, did I just get played by my daughter? Was the science she referred to more inline with reverse psychology than zymology?
By the time my overthinking had summoned my rest, I needed a stiff drink. It definitely wasn’t going to be a beer. That would have to wait until next year.