As a bartender for the last five or so years, I’ve had a lot of relationship talks. Generally speaking, if you are one of these people who seeks out bars for shoulders to cry on, it’s a fair bet that both you and your beloved are people who shouldn’t be together. There’s something toxic in a bad relationship, a kind of smell that spoils the soil around you, and you end up only having people paid to be in front of you available for an audience. Again, gross generalization - not all people in bars are bad. And not every good person has people to talk to.
But, the idea that some complete stranger to the both of you could possess some key to unlock the very real and intimate dramas in your love life is a bit silly. I can make you laugh. I can make you cry. I can give general platitudes and life lessons. I can recommend the proper dosage of whiskey to make you forget things for a night. I can create moods and make you feel better while you’re around me, but I cannot solve the very crisis of your existence with another person.
What does this have to do with Purdue football? Well, I find myself looking at other fan bases. I find myself walking around people with Ohio State shirts, with Michigan hats, and Spartan loafers and I covet their security. I find myself wanting to ask them how? How do we get there? How do I get there? I find myself being that person so desolate and alone, so miserable without an identity, that I am looking for strangers to give me sage advice, to listen when everyone around me is tired of hearing it.
The truth is, they can’t fix it, no more than I can fix anyone’s heart break at a bar. This Purdue football team under Coach Hazell has hurt us. They have continuously hurt us to the point none of our closest friends and family members have sympathy for us. They don’t want to hear our sad stories anymore or wipe up our tears. We’re doing this to ourselves.
If a psychologist were to ask, “Where did Hazell hurt you?” and then presented you with a doll, you’d be obliged to pick up the doll by the neck. You’d hoist it in the air like you were preparing your finishing move for Wrestlemania, you would then slam that doll hard into the ground. Then, you’d pee on it. And I mean, pee on it after a week’s binge of asparagus, and then you would try to light it on fire, but it wouldn’t catch. So you’d light a fire next to it and hang it over it, slowly drying it as the stench filled the room and then, finally, when you were almost ready to believe in the doll again, you’d throw it to the coals and watch it burn away into ash. That’s being a Purdue football fan right now.
I mean, it’s not. That’s the real advice I give people when they’re at their worst. It’s not that bad. It never is. It’s never unmanageable. Sure, you’re dating a dick or a bitch or whatever, they hurt you. But you control your response. That’s the saddest thing, I think, about all this losing and what not. It’s taken the fun out of what used to be a spectacle on Saturday mornings. Tail gating used to be full and awesome, and it didn’t really matter what happened in the game, just that there was one. So let this be the last thing I say about the state of football this year.
The season, the team, it might get better or it might get worst. But you, you have all the power in the world to be better independent of that.
So, this column, posted once a week - God Willing - will be about the fun around football and the fun we should be having instead of worrying about what’s happening on the field. Sure, that stuff matters and will make our days better if we do get good, but let’s be fun, independent of results. Let’s make Saturday’s a party again.
So for our first drink of the week, I’m gonna hit you heavy and I’m gonna hit you good. Consider this not a finishing drink, but a signature drink. One without class but full of taste that literally everyone will like. I created it myself a few months ago during a summer love that taught me to let go of the things I can’t control.
Root Beer Float Bomb
Fill a glass a 1⁄3 of the way up with your hard root beer of choice - Coney Island is less sweet and Not Your Father’s makes it like candy.
And in that glass, drop a shot glass full of half Fireball and half Orchata - a cinnamon cream rum.
Then you chug. It’s delicious and pretty simple and my go to shot when making shots for multiple people with inconsistent tastes. It has never failed me.
So here’s to controlling what you can control, and saying fuck it to everything else. And here’s to another year of drinking.