April 1 snuck up on me this year. In past years we’ve published a review of Cincinnati water, covered the announcement of a brewery sponsored by the Second Primitive Chuch of Satan (Reformed), and announced the secret collaboration between Dogfish Head and AB-InBev. This year? I got nothing.
I called up my old friend Anton Spargewater a couple of days ago talk the situation over.
“Dude. You know I’m an imaginary character, right? ” he said, “Don’t you have anything better to do?”
“How do you know you’re not the real one and I’m the imaginary one, huh?” I countered, “Bet you didn’t think of that, did you?”
“I’m glad you called because otherwise I’d be backing away from you slowly right now,” he said. “By the way, why are you calling? And why go to the added step of imagining a phone call rather than, I dunno just having me talk to you in person?”
“I’m not currently wearing pants.”
“Oh. Thanks for that image,” he said, “even imaginary characters can have nightmares. Look, what do you want?”
“Can’t come up with an idea for April Fool’s Day this year.”
“And that’s my problem how?”
“You’re always in them.”
“Painfully aware of that. Still waiting.”
“So I was wondering if you had any ideas?”
“Imaginary char …” Pause. “Oh, screw it. You’re not going to drop this, are you?”
“OK, fine.” He’s clearly exasperated now. “The whole idea of April Fool’s is to come up with a ridiculous premise and try to sell it as real, right?”
“And you write about the beer world, right?”
“Yes,” I say, “When I can think of something.”
“Fine,” he says, “What have you got that’s nuttier than reality right now?”
“What did you mean?”
“The holier-than-thou owner of Lagunitas sells out to Heineken for a billion dollars and does it with a straight face. Stone is about to open a brewery in Germany because what the hell do those people know about making beer? There are more breweries in operation now than at any time in the history of the United States and all you read in the popular press is how craft brewing is under siege.”
“But AB-InBev…” I begin.
“…will probably be jerks because that’s their business model,” he says without missing a beat, “Somehow ‘big is always bad,’ but as best I can tell Starbucks is having trouble finding locations for new stores because Oskar Blues is already building a brewery there. And nobody says a word.”
“I’m a fictional character,” he says, “and you asked for my opinion. Bite me.”
“Yeah, whatever,” he says without drawing a breath,”and let’s not even talk about the stunt beers. I used to think the ultimate would have been Dogfish Head and BrewDog doing a collab called “Publicity Stunt.” But now you have a arms race to find the most disgusting place to culture yeast.”
“You’re talking about that Polish brewery, aren’t you?” I ask.
“If you link to them, I will end you.” he says flatly.
“No worries,” I say, ” ’tain’t gonna happen.”
“I hate you,” he says, “Keep that up and I’ll come up with an actual corporeal existence so I can kick your ass.”
We were silent for a long time. It was really quiet. My imaginary cell phone service is really good. It only drops calls when I try to contact reality.
“We done?” he asks.
“Think so.” I say.
“Sorry you called?”
“Not as sorry as the people reading this.”
“Meh. Whadaya gonna do?”
“Hey, good talking to you,” I say, “give my best to the missus.”
“WHAT?” he screams, “I’m MARRIED? When were you planning to tell me that?”
“Gotta go,” I say quickly, “Toodles.”
And I hang up.
So that’s why there’s no April Fool’s Day post this year.
Maybe next year.