Bill here. All this recent talk about money and wars has gotten me to thinking, How cheap is suicide? I mean, I know there some expensive ways, like with lasers, but what about the cheapest ways? And are there any ways you can actually make money?
Questions for an attorney, I know. But as for suicide being cheap, Jumping Joe went ahead and did one that was altogether free last week when he went face first off the Salt-&-Pepper. Yeah, that was sad. I was broken up about it right until I learned at a homeless board meeting that the old clown had left a working van somewhere north of the river.
All of us fetched our maps, and a grim bum-on-bum test of mettle ensued to see who could locate it first. The competition was fierce as we fanned out toward Cambridge. We sneered at each other on the sidewalk. We preached to academic types about tapioca pudding. We beat each other to pulps outside liquor stores out of crazy delight. We brimmed with enthusiasm for the cause. A wave of unity swept over us and then a repeated pattern of violence.
I ended up finding the van in a back alley by the little gas station at the beginning of Route 2. I’m sleeping like a baby now. Only problem with the van is the sudden jolts between 5th and 2nd gear and some kind of large bird that lives in the back seat. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to sleep in a tent like some barnyard animal anymore.
Plus I found a good book amongst all the bird droppings and little bones: Wines and Beers of Old New England. This one’s for all you cooks on the go. It’s about what New Englanders used to drink and eat in the olden days, and it comes with little recipes you can try yourself. It’s fantastic if you’re a guy like me with a van, meaning plenty of room for a little on-the-go home brewing.
Just last week I made a little spruce beer on the side of the road in Revere. I was back there in the van, and things were foaming and bubbling, and everything smelled kind of acrid, like at a brewery I guess, just chemical smoke everywhere. “That’s how they did it in ye olden days!” I screamed through the smoke at the small crowd of supporters which had gathered.
As I unrolled all the windows so they could hear me better, a sea gust lifted the smoke out of my van and deposited it directly into a nearby apartment complex. I could hear shrieking and then sirens in the distance. I know those Haz-Mat boys don’t waste any time, so I hurried out of there.
That spruce beer turned out pretty heavy — me and the bird must have been drunk for ten days straight. For those old New England farmers, that was nothing. Beer was for dinner. Every night. They’d slap a piece of toast on it and call it a meal. Seriously. And it was hearty, because of the yeast, and healthy, because the alcohol killed all the STDs the Indians were putting in the water.
I’ll say it again — the bedrock of this country was beer farts and halitosis.
Bill Benson is the former manager of Galaxy Bowling Lanes in Decatur, Illinois. He likes to read.