Simon and Schuster
Soft cover, $9.99, 288 pp
We have a shelf full of silly books in the office on various beery topics: beer games rated by the risk of throwing up, implausible ways to open a beer bottle, beer cartoon books and the like. When Barguments arrived, I mentally slotted it into the same category: a book you would never purchase for yourself, but one you buy on impulse for a relative because it’s displayed in the bookstore check-out line.
However, I cracked the book open and lost an hour paging through it, chuckling. A bargument is defined by author Doug Hanks as “a debate with no right or wrong answer that must be uncomplicated enough to discuss after three beers.” (In my imagination, I wondered if Hanks, a reporter with the Miami Herald, had shared beers and barguments with fellow reporter at the paper, Dave Barry.)
Picture your favorite bar companions and ponder these debates:
If you could be free from one task for life, would it be shaving or laundry?
You’re in the water. Would you rather see an alligator or a shark?
List the top three guitar players in history.
Some of them are way too easy, at least for this audience:
In your dream kitchen, would you rather have a beer tap or a slurpy machine?
Would you rather be deathly allergic to dogs or beer?
And some are a risk to mental health:
You suddenly have the ability to implant a song in your enemies’ heads. Which would you pick?
In the course of imagining the most annoying, tenacious songs in pop history, I am, of course, cursed to spend the next six hours humming “Knock Three Times on the Ceiling if You Want Me.” And now, so are you.
Barguments is good fun. If you do see it at the Barnes and Noble check out, be sure to buy it for a relative who will go to the bar with you.
Oh, and the obvious answer is “Eric Clapton, Jorma Kaukonen and Richard Thompson.”