I studied the almost limerick as I walked. I guessed it was intended to be both funny and educational, but neither the joke nor the lesson were penetrating my foggy head (I think I am coming down with something). Who worries about drinking in the afterlife? Must be more to it.
Since I didn’t unravel the mystery until I was home and the mug washed, and with undo charity to myself acknowledged, I’ll elevate the almost limerick to the status of almost koan. If you are as dull as I (or in a hurry), allow me to share. The first line prepares the reader for the pro-beer message in the second line. Warns is better–turn back now lest you be carried along a path you’d rather not travel. Then the argument. As you read the first half of the second line, imagine a man on a doctor’s exam table. The patient is asked to consider abstinence from drink to preserve or improve his health. The second half of the second line finds the patient uncovering the error in the folds of the doctor’s logic–the dead don’t drink. It’s a crafty retelling of the slipcovered couch conundrum. When is the slipcover to be removed? Too often the slipcoverer dies with slipcover in place. The second owner deslipcovers the couch and plants his greasy backside on sparkling fabric the tactile qualities of which the slipcoverer never enjoyed. So my mug reminds me to drink while I can (all puns welcome here). I suppose I could generalize the lesson to recommend a life lived fully, but isn’t a beer today, or at the end of today, enough?
This has been for me a season of coincidences. Finding the mug today is just one more convergence struggling without hope of gaining freedom from a corner of an ever growing web. My neighbor died last night. Probably sometime during a phone call with my mother that felt more like a mortality and morbidity report than a casual conversation. The local death, together with telephonic retellings of remote illnesses and uniformly gloomy stories in a newspaper which sporadically shows up uninvited on my porch, put me in a mood. At one point I heard myself saying to my mother that the rewards for a long life are that many more medical procedures. Repeat until death. A morose outlook that only a mother would endure.
Something a shade lighter, perhaps? I just got back from Los Angles. Downtown has historically been a place where vegans go to lose weight (as in there is nothing to eat), but this time I was well cared for. Happy Cow led me to a great new to me breakfast and lunch joint, Localita and the Badasserie. There I enjoyed a Sir Nasty (a seitan sausage patty on a english muffin with Daiya chedder, red onion and Sriracha). Brief aside. I have had a life-long aversion to dishes with names. Considered them embarrassing. For me and the person hearing them recited. As a kid at a truck stop, I wouldn’t order the Eighteen Wheeler. I’d order pancakes, eggs, hashbrowns and sausage. The waitress would ask if I meant the Eighteen Wheeler (bless her–the code name must be uttered or the bill would reflect inflated prices for each item as a side). I’d nod and get what I wanted without having to join their juvenile chorus. The Sir Nasty changed that. The name felt right. I was proud to order a Sir Nasty. I probably won’t order anything else, lest I miss a chance to say Sir Nasty. Say it with me. SIR NASTY! Better still, say it to the sweet boys manning the counter at the Badasserie and a delicious sandwich shall be your reward.
Also enjoyed a dinner at The Gorbals. Not a vegan joint (check out the video on their home page–yikers), but the items I enjoyed I enjoyed very much. Lightly tempura fried broccoli in vinegar. Hearts of palm salad with baked chickpeas. Fries with dill. Two pints of Stone IPA didn’t hurt either. Also didn’t hurt that the place is hip as shit. The entrance, through a single wooden door painted over thirty times too many, is at the back of the lobby of the Alexandria Hotel (the rehab of which into low income apartments I may have helped finance–I just can’t remember and am too lazy to check–but if I did I wonder where the money went because the lobby looks untouched, as in threadbare, in a good way to my eye but maybe not to some people who call it home). So you feel kind of proud that you even found the place. I will be back and you should go too.
Now I am home, nursing a head cold. Still must attend to the plants. Always giving. This morning they provided a basket overflowing with with eight cucumbers, ten romas, forty cherry tomatoes, a bundle of kale, four beets and a single, but enormous, daikon radish. I have some eating to do.
This afternoon I have to meet at my neighbor’s house the folks delivering tables and chairs and then the caterer. Happy to help. I will be remembering the teachings of my new mug. It holds twelve ounces. Lessons and libations. How convenient.