Empty Bottle Blues

Happy Father’s Day, all! Love you, Dad.

I actually planned for Sundays to be Fiction Update days (or other regularly scheduled stuff) and Thursdays to be random, but darn if being all off schedule with my posting hasn’t screwed around with the order of stuff. My last entry was a FicUp, and since I’ve still made no progress, another one would be redundant and boring. I would talk about Father’s Day, but aside from the fact that this Father’s Day has been very low-key, I generally don’t have much to say about it this year. So instead I will talk about an obsession, because obsessing about things is what I do best.

Bottle caps.

Question: How do you collect beer bottle caps if you don’t drink alcohol?

I should clarify before I begin—I don’t drink because I haven’t ever been a regular consumer of alcohol, not because I have a problem with it. One of the biggest reasons I stay away is because I don’t want any kind of problem with it.

Have I had alcohol? Sure. Do I enjoy it? Not really.

Now, there are countless brands of beer out there, right? Some of them are from big companies, others from quirky, smaller ones. That means countless caps, common and quirky alike. A lot of them can be very easily accessed at your typical grocery store. So they’re right within reach, no? Sometimes, while moseying through the grocery store for my weekly sustenance, I stroll through the liquor aisle just to look at all of them. There are sooo many pretty colors. Ooh.

Ha, just a thought: imagine someone like me walking into Beverages and More. I’d practically skip through the aisles singing.

But… I have absolutely no interest in chugging down a six-pack of Fancy-Beer-of-the-Week-That-I-Purchased-Solely-For-The-Cap. My dad won’t have it, either—it’s really not that great for either of us, and he’s pretty much cut out all alcohol, what with all its empty calories. And ultimately, think of all the money going into a product I have no interest in. It’s funny, because I’m twenty-two. All anyone ever asks when you turn twenty-one is, “So did you drink?”

No, for the record, I didn’t. In fact, I’m heading towards twenty-three now, and I haven’t had a drink since I was twenty (yes, twenty). And though I joke with friends about the liquor-swilling tendencies of our peers—even to the extent to implying a swill or two myself—I really haven’t. I honestly just don’t really get the stuff.

It’s not like there I never grew up with any alcohol in the house, either—as I’ve mentioned, my father occasionally enjoys a fine wine or a unique microbrew. I grew up with this. Neither my sister (who’s long since moved out, gotten married, and started a family of her own) nor I consume alcohol.

Now here’s where things get even more complicated—I don’t drink soda anymore, either.

We all know that soda is pretty terrible for your health. It can wreak havoc on your bones and teeth, and most big name American companies’ concoctions all contain high fructose corn syrup. Not only does high fructose corn syrup do a frightening number on your blood glucose levels, but it’s also been reported to contain mercury. Fun.

On a personal level, I also discovered that I simply function better when all I’m drinking is water. I feel like a well-oiled machine. (Now if only I’d get a little more sleep and exercise.) So far, the only exception I’ve made is the occasional malt *cough*badassTigerMalt*cough*, and I’m really only drinking it because I purchased it on a whim, at this point.

So despite my longing for one of those adorable Henry Weinhard caps from their glass-bottled root beers or cream sodas—the packaging as a whole is so quaint—I don’t really want to sit there forcing myself through the entire four-pack of bubbly sugary stuff. I also wouldn’t want to force my parents to have any of it.

I know it’s not my job to go around policing other people, and I can’t tell anyone what to consume, but who can help but to worry about her or his loved ones? My dad turns sixty this year, and my mom will follow in a few. I think about high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes prevention, everything in the book. With Mom, I think about the possibility of osteoporosis.

I’ve also found myself a little shocked at both of my parents’ impulsive food buying habits these days. Mom’ll go to Lucky or Costco for basics like bread and soymilk and bulk bags of salad greens, and come home with extra things like 2 liter bottles of 7Up, Kirkland brand muffins, food court pizzas, or apple pastries (which happen to be incidentally vegan, so I do admit to stealing a couple of those. I rationalize it by telling myself that if I eat it, they won’t. It’s the flaky crust. Who can resist flaky crust?).

So here I am again, restating my inquiry: how do I collect beer and soda caps in a household where it’s not really in our best interest to keep extra beer and soda around? I ask again, because I still don’t know. I enjoy this hobby and I’m not giving it up. I’m just getting started again.

I guess I should remind myself that it’s not impossible to find interesting caps at random. In fact, here are two examples: See that Corona Extra cap and the Miller Genuine Draft one next to it? We’re talking about those.

I found that Miller Genuine Draft cap on October 30th, 2009, on a street corner. I remember specifically because I was walking around after having just seen Michael Jackson’s This Is It for the first time. I remember being a little reluctant to pick it up—it was nearly in the street and looking a little icky. My movie companion picked it up for me and convinced me to keep it.
The Corona cap is one of my favorite finds. I found it in the college library. A college library is the most surprising and yet somehow the most appropriate place to find a stray beer cap. I was so shocked… and then I wasn’t.

Well, I’ll do some more thinking about it, not to mention some more hunting.

P.S. Ordinarily I add my blog name to my pics, but for some reason I haven’t been able to open Photoshop. It’s like it doesn’t even exist anymore on my computer, and hey, maybe it doesn’t. Bottom line: I’m tired of this old ass dinosaur of a computer, and I can’t wait to buy a new Macbook Pro.

P.P.S. In my attempt to take my picture of that Fayrouz soda cap, I accidentally dropped it on the concrete and scratched it a little bit. Yes, I am devastated.

P.P.P.S. In my attempt to write the above P.P.S., I accidentally misspelled “accidentally”, by spelling it “accidently” without even thinking about it. I quickly corrected the problem, and then committed the infraction two more times in while typing this P.P.P.S. I don’t know if I honestly forgot how to spell it, or if my fast fingers got ahead of my mind. Either way, yes, I am even more devastated.


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