Have you ever been asked to spend someone else’s money on beer, simply because you were the “educated” one? I have, and here’s the story about it…
We’re all good at something. Or at least that’s what we were told from the time that we were kids, encouraged along by our parents to find something that we enjoyed doing. Hours upon hours are poured into hobbies, sports, and seemingly any other thing that gives us pleasure, and our parents were usually right there beside us at the beginning, spending their time and money on what we deemed “fun.” As my brothers and I jumped from one thing to another, my parents came along for the ride, like it or not.
Early on, it was skateboarding. My cousins and I loved nothing more than to spend a day at the local skatepark, on the ramps in our driveways, at vacant church parking lots, or even just on the street in front of our houses, skating until our scraped knees and elbows were too much to bear. As early teens, we moved into skiing and snowboarding at the local ski resort. Spending every possible moment there during the winter became the new norm, and though my parents hadn’t skied before, they were soon beginning to see why we loved it so much as they began to do it themselves. As we entered our high school years, sports became a whole new obsession. For my older brother, track was his thing. For my younger brother and me, golf now consumed my every waking thought (and still does to this day) during the spring, summer, and fall. It seemed that no matter what form our new interests took, my supportive parents were there in way or another. But that all changed at some point, and I’m not sure I can pinpoint where or when. But I do know this: I don’t ever remember my parents uttering the words, “Good job loving beer, Mike! Let’s see where this will take you!”
Well, a couple years ago while my wife and I were at Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati for a weekend, it apparently brought me to the point where was I being asked to choose someone else’s beer for them. An empty six pack carrier in her hand and a bewildered look on her face at the thousands of choices in front of her, a complete stranger asked me to put together a six pack for her. She didn’t care which ones I picked nor what the prices were, but must have trusted the look in my eyes that I knew what I was doing. Or maybe it was just my own full basket of beers and my confident selection of them, coupled with the joy on my face of getting to spend another person’s money for a change, that tipped the scales of me appearing to be the smart one for the moment.
Years of loving and sampling beers had led me to that encounter, and I’d like to believe that I passed with flying colors. And since I never talked to her after that to see if the beer choices were to her liking, I’ll never know for sure. But that’s not what’s important here; what’s important is that you appear knowledgeable and trustworthy in crisis situations such as these, because you never know when you’ll be called upon as the expert in the room…