Beer On My Shirt: Curmudgeon, Not Curmudgeon

J. R. Shirt, May 20, 2015

Sometimes I'm outside mowing the grass, listening to Nirvana, because I'm 37 and have the haircut of a Marine and the belly of a zoo animal, but for some reason Nirvana still does it for me, and I can't help but stop and look around and be simultaneously amazed and crushed by so much of it: The beauty of a freshly cut lawn, the early flowers just blooming their pants off, the tiny house, the cool lady I call Wife laying down inside with her feet up, immensely pregnant, and the sweet little girl laying next to her, talking Scooby-Doo, consistently finding a way to make me forget about the heavy stuff.

And then sometimes the mower doesn't start back up so easy and you want to scream, absolutely. But you don't, because in the small yards and tiny spaces of your town it would not go unnoticed – specifically, it would not go unnoticed by the group of six or so junk collectors, ages 18 to 60, currently renting the house a few doors down, all sporting ponytails, constantly looking over new pieces of old furniture on their back porch. Also, you worry that the scream, the one kept in, is really maybe the only thing keeping anybody from being completely empty.

I am tentative about pulling the tablecloth out from beneath dishes that have sat on a table in these same places for as long as I can remember.

Turns out it was just the spark plug, with the mower I mean, and so sometimes your first troubleshooting thought is the actually the right one. Man, if you could have seen this old spark plug next to the new one – if ever there was a symbol for the loathing versus arrogance that I, and maybe everybody else, but definitely somebody else somewhere, experience on a back and forth from day to day, or week to week, mirror to mirror, or upper to downer, damn it, these two spark plugs were it.

Today, I spent the first portion of my post-work, afternoon life at a gas station with my daughter. Buying snacks. From there, I sat at a chiropractor's office and allowed electromagnetic pulses to be shot into the affected area of my back. For a moment, actually for around 30 moments if moments are minutes, I was Las Vegas in Ocean's Eleven. But by the end of this heist, everyone was richer.

From there, I drove an hour to a furniture superstore, where I lifted marginally heavy things and undid any progress that had been made in my spinal region. It was then, as I stood among the tall racks of the self serve portion of said furniture superstore and looked around for someone else that was also thinking what the fuck, that I realized most things, maybe all things, that I do from this point forward, or at least for the next 20 years, are pure maintenance.

I have reached the Toyota Camry portion of my life. Just keep the fucker running. And hope like hell that your teeth don't fall out.

But my life is, overall, pretty darn wonderful, so I feel like a bit of a curmudgeon when I say things like “I have reached the Toyota Camry portion of my life” because right now is definitely as good as it has ever been. I guess this speaks to the true economics, design, and luxury that is the Toyota Camry.

I suppose I am, or have been known to be, ever since I was young boy, a rather curmudgeonly old man – one that looks like a cross between old Robert De Niro and Janet from Three's Company. If I had a bottle of Founder's Curmudgeon Old Ale, I would review it – but I don't, so instead I will eventually discuss Founder's Backwoods Bastard.

My Mother, more as a comment on my young curmudgeon-ness and not necessarily on my old-Italian-man/late-70s-androgynous-lady appearance, had a nickname for me during my more unbearable moments. I will not reveal what that name was, as it would be at best considered vaguely anti-Semitic, which my Mother, as far as I can tell, is not.

That's not to say she isn't filled with hate – because she most certainly is. “We are not a happy people,” she recently told me. But she doesn't paint her hate with a broad brush based on race or religion. It's a very particular variety, a pen and ink hate. A very specific, stippling hatred. Mostly of people she used to work with. Avoid it if you can. Which is to say do not work with her, and if you do, do not call in sick.

Backwoods Bastard, Founder's Brewing Co.

Appearance = 4/5

Dark, reddish brown. Thin rim of off-white head around the rim.

Smell = 4.75/5

Sweet vanilla, bourbon or booze – I'm not really sure of the particulars of these aspects just yet, wood, and hints of cherry and chocolate.

Taste = 4.5/5

Big malt, less sweet than the nose, great complexity on the back end – a smooth, rich vanilla, oak, and a touch of smoke. The booze comes next with some bourbon heat and notes of cherry. Leaves some chocolate and maybe peet in the after taste.

Feel = 4.5/5

Slick? Chewy? Not sure how wrap my head around this one. I like the carbonation – fine, with some fizz.

Overall = 4.5/5

Very good. Really enjoyed it. Nice amount of booze for someone that is just dipping his toe into the bourbon barrel thing.


This post was written the day before the arrival of my beautiful baby boy, which has greatly reduced the Toyota Camry feeling in my mind and body, or perhaps I am just too tired to notice. Follow JR Shirt on Twitter and Untappd @beeronmyshirt.