Beer On My Shirt: I Felt Emotion; The Beer Didn't Matter

J. R. Shirt, August 16, 2013

Tom plays the drums. Tom plays the drums well. Really, really well.

I know Tom from high school. And college. For a very brief time, we were in a band together. We were friends but grew apart for whatever reason, as friends tend to do.

Tom plays the drums in band called Slingshot Dakota. A two piece. Keyboards. Drums. I went to see them a few weeks ago.

Watching him smash and destroy, I started to think about all sorts of things. I thought about life. I thought about his drumming. I thought about the expressions on Tom's face - a true madman for a moment. “He hates these drums,” I thought. For an instant, I thought of myself in other scenes from The Jerk, like the day the new phone book arrived and I was somebody and things were going to start to happen.

A few pulls from my beer and I thought of failed inventions. Poorly researched charitable donations. And the extra special thermos I was going to pick out for Wife as soon as this set was over.

Then, for whatever reason, I thought about my wedding day. My wife walking toward me. Our first dance. And then the dance with my Mom. And I thought about all the things that led up to those two dances. Then I thought about my daughter. I thought about my family, my brothers. I thought about friends' faces. I thought about moments. Great moments. Terrible moments. Reunions. Funerals.

Watching Tom connect with everything in reach, I knew I was experiencing something extraordinary. He drummed – loud - with everything he had. And I thought about different moments in my life and I felt emotions. It was just me, the sound of the drums, and feelings. And I drank beer to celebrate. And it didn't matter what kind.

Tonight was about a moment, and all the moments that this moment brought to mind. And beer happened to be there. So I drank it. 

Tonight was about my decision to buy their record in the hope that I could drop the needle on it any time and recreate this instance in which I felt the emotions of all those moments -- like a dream where you remember all of your dreams, and they are crisp and clear and seamless. And if it doesn't quite work out that way the first time I tried, maybe I would try again, but with a few beers. And it won't really matter what kind.

Maybe if I bought the record I could play it for my daughter. And maybe she would instantly know about all those times and she would feel it and know that these are the moments that made her Dad and these are some of the people you'll never meet that I wish you could. Maybe we'll listen to it together so much that it will be like she was there with me for all those moments and somehow, because of her influence on versions of me from years ago, I instantly become a better person. 

Maybe we will listen to this record and she will suddenly understand all my silly references to The Jerk.

Maybe we'll listen to it and nothing will happen. Maybe ten years from now, when she starts to dig through my records, she'll find it and she'll be into it because of the female vocals. And she'll come to me and ask about it. And I'll tell her about Tom and his drumming. I'll tell her about seeing Slingshot Dakota and the friends I was with. I'll give her an abridged account of the things I couldn't help but think about that night, and how it all made me feel. And then I'll play her the Muffs' first album (the self-titled one), instantly changing both of our lives, for the better, forever.

So, I bought the record. And beer was there. And I drank it. I'm not sure what kind because it didn't matter.

But I believe it was Pabst Blue Ribbon (0.39 wOBAR, 3.58 BAR). Or Yuengling Premium (0.16 wOBAR, 1.0 BAR).

You can follow J.R. Shirt on Twitter @beeronmyshirt if you feel like it.