Beer is an ale or lager made from a grain (usually barley), hops, yeast and water. It's the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world. Globally, beer drinkers consume 40 billion gallons per year, including spillage.
The oldest known recipe for beer was inscribed on a clay tablet in about 1800 B.C., making it the greatest invention in the history of mankind. Subsequently (theoretically), the wheel was invented to haul grain and hops to the breweries, and haul barrels of beer on to the taverns. Without beer, we'd all still be living in caves.
In America, Beer Season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This is the peak period when Joe Six-Pack and Bubba Red-Neck have a can of beer in one hand at all times. It helps them to keep their balance.
It takes a lot of practice to become a proficient beer guzzler. Some tips for beginners include:
Tip #1: If your beer is unusually tasteless, your can (or bottle or glass) is empty -- get another beer.
Tip #2: If your feet feel cold and wet, your beer can is probably being held at the incorrect angle -- rotate the can so the open end points toward the ceiling (indoors) or the sky (outdoors).
Tip #3: If your feet feel warm and wet, you have a bladder control problem -- stand next to the nearest dog and complain about the lack of training.
Tip #4: If your beer is tasteless and the front of your shirt is wet, you applied the can (or bottle or glass) to the wrong part of face -- get another beer and practice in front of a mirror.
Tip #5: If you're in a drinking establishment and the opposite wall is covered with fluorescent lights, you have fallen backward -- get someone to tether you to the bar.
Tip #6: If the wall seems extremely close and you have a crushed cigarette in your mouth, you have fallen forward -- see Tip #5 for solution.
Tip #7: If your singing sounds like someone stepped on a cat, drink more beer until your voice improves.
Tip #8: If everyone looks up to you and laughs, it probably means you're dancing on a table -- fall on someone large and soft, preferably of the opposite sex if you're able to tell the difference from that altitude.
Tip #9: If the floor is moving, you're probably being carried out -- find out if you are being transported to another location where you can drink more beer.
Tip #10: If your beer is hot and darker than normal and tastes a bit odd, someone may be trying to sober you up and you're drinking coffee -- dump it out immediately and growl at whoever gave it to you.
Tip #11: If your hand hurts and your nose feels slightly ajar, you've been in a fight -- apologize to everyone you see, just in case it was them.
TIP #12: If a friend calls the next day to check if you returned the goat, go see if your car is in the driveway.
Tip #13: If your bedroom is painted gray, has a concrete floor and a steel door, and there's a toilet located in the far corner next to a bench where several nasty-looking dudes with facial tattoos are staring at you, you are in jail -- keep your mouth shut and your eyes open and begin revising your financial plans for the immediate future.
Tip #14: If you wake up the next day and your head feels like someone surgically implanted a bowling ball between your ears, you have a hangover -- take a long nap and vow to never drink another beer again.
Beer Season is a wonderful time of the year. Regular people refer to it as "summer." It's when the weather is nice, the kids are out of school, the fish are biting, outdoor grills are blazing and young yahoos are partying.
Just don't overdo it and drive carefully. There are enough maniacs in this world without adding to the chaos.
And stop tossing your beer cans in the roadside ditch. It's very irritating to those of us who live along your path of litter. Instead of trashing the environment, perhaps you could crush the empty beer cans on your empty head and stack them into a giant pyramid in your den as a proud display of your guzzle capacity.
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Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels, which are available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at email@example.com.