The t-shirt showed my face on the King of Hops. You’ve never heard of the hop suit? This was a playing card, one of two such paraded on the front of these t-shirts. The other card? Ace of the Dixie Cup suit. King-ace: twenty-one. It was the Dixie Cup’s twenty-first birthday, another flagrant example of the T-shirtery nonsense these people have pursued every year now for nearly as long as I can remember.
If there’s an Eccentrics Anonymous Society, homebrewers across the country are definitely candidates for membership.
O.K., I do have memory going back before 1989, but sometimes I think they have t-shirted me past the point of no return. Some of the high points (low points?) include my head floating, amongst those of several other Foam Ranger renegade homebrewers, with the legend: “They won’t stay sober—Night of the Living Fred.”
Another has a WWI German-helmeted me, accoutered in a disgustingly scant leather garment, encrusted with various rings, some of which are obviously not visible and inserted god only knows where, and making demands of the viewer: “You Will Submit.” That’s the back of the shirt. On the front is a slightly leather-clad young lady with really high heels, telling the world that she had submitted. It turns out she had submitted her homebrew, but that’s another story.
My favorite in this line of silliness is the seventeen-dollar bill with the legend “In Fred we trust, all others pay cash.” Or maybe it’s the one with me and Pancho Villa. I’m the good-looking guy with the hopped sombrero, the beer can bandoleer and the goofy smile. Did I mention the shirt where I wear an almost magnificent codpiece? Maybe we shouldn’t go there.
The culprits in this scenario? The mighty Foam Rangers, and their partners-in-crime, the KGB; both Houston homebrew clubs. They, like most homebrew clubs, are groups of really eccentric people. We’re talking serious crazy, here. If there’s an Eccentrics Anonymous Society, they, and homebrewers across the country, are definitely candidates for membership.
The reader might very well tell me, “If it’s such a problem, why do you keep going back down there?” The answer is that I’ve been doing it ever since I was 12-years old. I can’t help myself. Besides, someday they might very well make a t-shirt I can’t resist.
Oh, and every year they let me do a beer-and-who-knows-what tasting. I get to force some really insidious beer-food combinations down their throats. Combinations that make beer and ice cream seem totally logical and sane. Of course, anything seems sane at one a.m., especially if you’ve been drinking all day. This year it was beer and junk food snacks! Who would be crazy enough to drink their beer accompanied by junk food?