It’s not you, it’s me. I know. That’s hardly original. Sorry. But it’s true. It is me. This is difficult enough without having to be creative on top of it. I’ve just … changed. And you … haven’t. Not that that’s a bad thing. Hell I wish I was still the same guy I was when we first met. Well mostly, anyway. But I’m not. Life’s a bitch that way. Some of us just don’t age well.
Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been, what, almost thirty years now since I chose you to be my beer? God! That was such a huge decision in my life. A rite of passage in a young man’s quest for manhood, every boy must eventually choose a beer that will become his beer. And it’s gotta be a beer that’s fully distinguishable from his Dad’s beer. Dad’s beer is inevitably the first we ever try. You sure as hell know what that meant for me! There’s a good reason nobody calls it Old Vienna anymore, except my Dad, of course. And probably a handful of grizzled ranchers in Brooks, Alberta, four Veterans at a Legion in Wawa, Ontario and a retired copywriter from a now defunct ad agency in Montreal.
How we first hooked up
I know your friends warned you about me back when we first hooked up. Actually my friends weren’t terribly supportive of my choosing you either. LOL. I suppose I shouldn’t laugh. I imagine they’ll now look at you with “I told you so” eyes as they reach out to embrace you after hearing about this letter. It looks like they were right, I guess.
I know the way, err the reason, we got together wasn’t the best. Not the stuff of romance, as they say. I picked you because I knew nobody else would steal you. I’m not proud of that fact, but it’s the truth and I needed to say it. All my buddies were strutting around with their Canadians or Coors Lights. Sure they were hot, but they all looked the same and by the end of the night nobody knew whose was whose so they just grabbed whichever was left and pounded it. And don’t get me started on that whole Ice beer phase when they suddenly dropped their old beer for a trampy new one that’d obviously had work done. That 6.5% ain’t natural!
As for me, I just wanted something different. Something real. Something the popularity cravers and fad chasers wouldn’t dare pilfer. Not too different, mind you. Nothing super cheap or skanky. And certainly nothing foreign with those weird names and pretentious green bottles. God, that sounds so un-PC now. It was … different back then.
But it wasn’t all bad, was it? We had some great years together. Really great ones. So what if maybe it didn’t start under the best circumstances, it got real good, real fast. I didn’t just like you, I loved you. I loved the smooth, sensual curves of your font. I loved the piercing blue and pouty red hues of your label. I loved the cool, clear taste of you on my lips, around my tongue, and down my eager throat. Hell I even bought a hat with your likeness on it and wore it around so proudly. And sure nobody ever stole you at a party but I didn’t care about that anymore. I was the Crystal guy. We were sure … something back then, babe.
That time with the boilermakers
High school relationships never last, though. We both knew that even if we never spoke about it. Pretty soon I was going to university and meeting all kinds of new beers from all over. I still remember frosh week and my first encounter with that dirty ole cougar, 50, thanks to a boilermaker at Fed Hall. Then there was the classy Amber Dry at the Grad House. But I suppose you don’t want to hear about all that again. Sorry. We grew apart and saw each other less and less. We still had the odd fling when the old gang got together but those moments happened less often until eventually I moved out of Ontario and that was it. You couldn’t leave and I wouldn’t stay.
My Dad always liked you. He thought we’d be together forever. He still thinks that. Why else would he go to such lengths to get us together every time I come home to visit? Sure it’s awkward. And hard. His heart is in the right place. He just wants me to have what he has with OV. But that will never happen.
This empty charade we play each time I return needs to stop. It’s not fair to me and it’s certainly not fair to you. For almost 20 years we’ve played this fool’s game for a week, maybe two and for what? Reliving forgotten affairs from yesteryear? Keeping an old man’s hopes alive? No, it needs to stop for all our sakes. The fact is I just don’t … I don’t … dammit this is so hard … I don’t … I don’t like you anymore. There! I said it. I. Don’t. Like. You. Anymore. And I no longer want to drink you, okay? I don’t think you want me drinking you anymore either, to be honest. It’s time to end this. Time to finally close the fridge door on the you and me part of our life.
I’ll tell my Dad. It’s only fair that I do it. He wouldn’t want to cry in front of you. I’ll tell him it is all my fault, which I suppose it is. At least our friends will be happy.
Goodbye Crystal. Thanks for everything. We’ll always have those memories of a great love that was but no longer is. You really deserved better than me.
I still have that hat.