The Ballad of the Beer Keg
Last Saturday, I held a BBQ to celebrate five years’ remission from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Overall, it was a wonderful day – except for one thing. The beer keg.
In hindsight, the weekend before Labor Day was probably not the best one to schedule a party – a bunch of my friends and family couldn’t come because of prior engagements. Everyone seemed to schedule a summer’s-last-hurrah on Saturday. When I ordered and paid for the beer keg a week earlier, I’d been expecting a certain amount of people – many of them beer drinkers. As the week progressed, I did receive some RSVP cancellations – and mostly from the beer drinkers. (Maybe it was the Miller Lite that scared them away. I don’t drink beer, so I asked my brother what I should buy.)
I decided to go along with the keg anyways, convinced my party would drink my money’s worth had I purchased bottles. As people trickled in and out, I suggested they drink some beer. As the night progressed, “suggested” slightly turned into “ordered.” I began posting (rather, begging) on Facebook, offering free beer and food. I just wanted the keg to go away – I knew that keeping it cold over the next few days was going to be a big chore. No one grabbed at the ice-cold opportunity. Seriously, was it the Miller Lite? By the end of the party, the keg was still about 75% full, despite the 60 or so attendees. I dumped the last of my freezer’s ice tray in the big bucket, filled it with water, and called it a night.
Sunday, my sister told me her boyfriend’s brother was having a BBQ later that day. Perfect! I could dump the keg on him! He gladly accepted, and the beer keg made the quarter-mile trip down the road to his house. I could forget about icing the 75%-full beer keg for an entire day. Life was grand.
I woke up bright and early, with visions of an empty beer keg in my dreams. I dialed my sister’s number. She picked up on the seventh ring.
“So, how’s the beer keg?” I asked.
“No one really drank the beer,” she replied.
%$#@! I knew it. The responsibility was back on me. I drove to his house to pick up the still-heavy keg, and we heaved the metal canister into the back of Mom’s Toyota Sienna. Now what to do? Quite a few friends on Facebook had already been asking what happened to the keg.
I thought for a minute. Beer bread. Beer-battered shrimp. Beer and cheese soup. Yes, I can cook with it! But storing the keg would be a problem. I then decided it would be easier to keep the beer cool in the empty soda bottles from the party (yes, the drink that everyone drained instead of the keg. We had to make three 7-Eleven soda runs).
But I’d be damned if I had to drag that keg out of the car again. No worries. I carried nine empty soda bottles to the end of the driveway, unhatched the back door, and tapped the keg right in the back of the minivan.
Or, attempted to tap.
As I was tapping the keg, my hand slipped, and I accidentally pushed the lever down. Which sent a stream of foamy Miller Lite straight into my eyes, temporarily blinding me. I began flailing and screaming, further sending a geyser straight towards the car ceiling, distributing the beer to every last square inch of the back of the car. Drip, drip, drip. Not only was the car’s interior covered in beer, but I was drenched from head to toe. Even my socks.
Creak. Creak. Creak. A older man slowly peddled to the end of my driveway and asked if I needed help finishing that keg. I wanted to knock him off his bike. By then, two hornets started swarming around me. I was covered in beer and was wearing a brightly-colored flowered shirt. I might as well have been wearing a giant bullseye on my back with the words STING ME. Did I mention that I have a severe allergy to hornets?
Mom, who’d been watering plants in the back yard, heard my screams and came to the front yard.
Did I also mention that Mom had just gotten the car detailed at the Toyota dealership last week?
The meticulous polishing gave way to puddling, golden liquid. Boy, was I in trouble. But just one look at my pathetic, dripping body holding an unattached tap, she erupted in laughter. She grabbed some towels and began to clean the inside of the car as I finally tapped the keg. Luckily, the Toyota dealership did a bad job of rinsing the shampoo out of the carpets, so we even had some nice soap to work with.
After I filled the nine bottles, I took a long shower, changed into fresh clothes, and returned the keg to Islip Beer Distributor. I never wanted to see that keg again. Didn’t even give it a goodbye – just grabbed my $100 deposit and ran.
Next time I’ll just stick to good ol’ Sam Adams in a bottle. On the bright side, I now have shiny, manageable hair. Who needs Body On Tap?