Daily Archives: September 16, 2022

blue beer

Well , a friend of mine published a poem on-line recently and I noticed the phrase “blue beer” towards the end . Beer gets my attention every time , I have to admit . The rest of the rather short poem conjured up residual memories of that old Irish writer , James Joyce . In both cases , I couldn’t understand a word of it .

You may have heard of him , James Joyce . Not too many people I know actually read much of what he wrote though , or maybe any of what he wrote . I tried to read Ulysses three or four times , I think , and abandoned the effort each time . Ah , I know a couple of people who managed a read , but I won’t reveal their names . You never know these days : harassing phone calls — death threats ! I’ll just let them go on with their lives with no more interference than what naturally occurs in their lives .

John Huston made a film which I like called The Dead . The setting is a dinner party in Dublin in the early part of the 20th Century . Theoretically it’s based on a James Joyce short story of the same name , but I haven’t recognized too much similarity between the film and the story . I read the story a few times and have seen the film a few times . You know , just to be sure . Not being a literary genius myself , I have to weigh these things a few times before I make any conclusions or declarations .

My university English professors , in all fairness I have to reveal , were generally not thrilled to have me as one of their undergraduate students . I don’t blame them . One of them conferred with each of her students before each grading time and I remember sitting in her little office amazed at how tightly she had fastened her hair back behind her head . It pulled at her forehead and it looked painful . After I sat down , as her opening comment she said , ” Well , it’s too late to drop my class ! ” I told her that I had no intention of dropping her class . She looked disappointed . I was watching her forehead stretching between strands of her hair and wondered if she were in pain .

Later I figured that indeed she was in some pain , but not due to her tightly pulled hair . We had been studying the old tale Beowulf . The assignment had been to write about ” the good and bad in Beowulf “, and we were admonished to reference specific examples of the good and bad in Beowulf . If you don’t know Beowulf , it’s an old tale of Norse people . There was something about Beowulf’s mother ………….. I don’t know any more about Beowulf , but it is apparently important to know about Beowulf . And , I think , his mother . At least it was important to Professor Tight-hair when I was an undergraduate . Maybe she’d done her thesis on Beowulf .

I read the damn story three times trying to find specific moments when good and/or bad was mentioned . I may have found one . Maybe two . So , what was I to do ? Not being the literary genius I maybe should have been striving to be , I decided to write a satirical tale involving Richard Nixon . I think Haldeman was in there , too , and Ehrlichman , and that old Attorney General of his whose name now escapes me . I don’t remember my story at all , but I got a kick out of it , I remember , at the time .

Professor Tight-hair , however , didn’t . She would have kicked me out of her class if she could have , or insisted that I drop the class . What was I trying to do , after all , make fun of her chosen profession ? Unfortunately , the conference was three or four days past the deadline to drop classes , so she was stuck with me .

So I’m buying beer today at the Grocery Outlet , and there are a couple of guys in the beer and wine area , too . One of them is hunting for peanut butter stout . With no luck . I made a suggestion about where the peanut butter stout might be . I also offered my opinion about peanut butter stout . The guy’s friend said , ” It’s his favorite beer .” Peanut butter stout ?

If I were James Joyce I might be able to make a story about this ; but I’m not .

I began watching an Irish film called Bloom . Bloom —– you know —- one of Joyce’s characters . I’m not completely giving up on James Joyce quite yet . And if Beowulf , by chance , happens to come in to the Grocery Outlet or Trader Joe’s , and is perusing the beer shelves , I’d talk to him . I’d ask him about his mother . I’d ask carefully , because there was something with the mother that wasn’t so good , as I remember , although I can’t pinpoint just what that was .

Did he kill his mother ? Well , maybe I shouldn’t ask him about her after all .

I should read that poem again involving blue beer . Must have some special meaning , ” blue beer “. If I were a literary genius then I’d know , I think , but I blew my chances of that way back with the Beowulf vs. Nixon case , I guess . And , by the way , apropos of nothing , if I spot James Joyce in the beer aisle some day and he’s looking for peanut butter stout , I’d finally give up on him once and for all . I don’t understand too much of his particular genius anyway , I admit , but I know non compos mentis when I see it .

He might , on the other hand , ask me if I know where they keep the blue beer . That’d be something for me to consider .

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