Decisions, Decisions

Since I’m freaked out by recently being instructed to do something I disagree with, on day nine of my self-imposed isolation and drinking literary cocktails, I’m going rogue and blazing my own drink trail today. I’m choosing something that isn’t a cocktail. I have a variety of beer left over from last year that has expired. I bought it for when my millennial-aged children came to visit. They didn’t drink much of it, so I have a bunch of beer going to waste that I’ve never tried before. A pandemic seems like a good time to try something new.

What is freaking me out is yesterday’s coronavirus press conference in America. Yesterday the president told Americans to go back to work soon and fill churches on Easter Sunday. Even the Pope doesn’t want Catholics to go to church this Easter.  In the absence of a national executive order to shelter in, governors of each state are the ones who have the power to order their residents to stay home or get back to work. I’m praying that science will be the compelling force guiding the decisions America’s governors make concerning working and Protestant church attendance this Easter.

I’ve been thinking about what a burden it must be to be a governor holding the fate of their residents in their hands—literally, in some cases. When I was a kid, I found it interesting that the same crime could be committed in two different states, and the result could be a life sentence in prison in one state, and a death sentence in another state. I wondered if criminals did research on the death penalty in the state they were in before giving in to their darkest impulses. It appears that the fate of those who are physically vulnerable to coronavirus may also be dependent upon the state they live in and whether their governor studies the data and encourages people to stay home and not spread the coronavirus. To ignore scientific data and send people to work and church smacks of execution.

At first glance, my trilogy, When Life Was Still, has nothing in common with Norman Mailer’s novel The Executioner’s Song. But going beyond the characters, plot, and setting of the novels, reveals common themes involving making decisions that can have life and death consequences. None of us living in America today really have much control over what happens to us if we’re prematurely ordered to go out in public to boost the economy. So today’s literary drinking experience is called The Executioner’s  Pong, which is a game of chance.

These are the game pieces:

  • 1 ping pong ball
  • 10 disposable shot glasses (I happen to have them on hand because I have a tendency to imagine all the fun things my adult children will do with me when they come to visit, and I buy a lot of “fun” supplies that never actually get used. This is because I have a habit of confusing my kids with my high school friends from the 1980s.)
  • Leftover beer that you bought for your adult children to make them think you were hip when it comes to the latest brews
  • 1 hard surface—like a counter top or a table
  • 1 giant shot glass (I think that’s what it’s called; that’s what it looks like)

These are the instructions for the solo version of the game (where you will always be the winner–or loser—depending on what your opinion is on drinking trendy beer):

  • Disinfect the ping pong ball and hard surface so that you don’t subject yourself to COVID-19 (If you don’t bother to disinfect the ball and surface, then please change the name of this game to Russian Roulette.)
  • Arrange all ten shot glasses in a triangle at one end of the counter or table
  • Put ½ ounce of beer in each shot glass

These are the beers I used, but you can use any beer you bought that you thought would make your kids think you were cool:

  1. Dogfish Head The Perfect Disguise Double IPA
  2. Paulaner Hefe-Weizen
  3. Coronita Extra (insert your own pandemic joke here)
  4. Guinness Extra Stout
  5. Not Your Father’s Root Beer
  6. Jose Cuervo Margarita (I just realized I could have had this for my margarita on day one of this drinking adventure instead of that horrible thing I made from scratch)
  7. North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
  8. Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen
  9. Blue Moon Belgian White Wheat Ale
  10. Great Lakes Brewing Co. Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
  • Stand at the end of the hard surface opposite the shot glasses and bounce the ping pong ball once on the surface, with the goal of having the ball land in one of the shot glasses.
  • Pour into the giant shot glass what is in the cup where the ball lands
  • For each game, bounce the ball until it successfully lands into a shot glass three times and pour each shot into the giant shot glass. (Go again if it lands in a shot glass you already emptied.)
  • After three shots are poured in the giant shot glass, this is your new “cool brew” and you have to drink up (I will apologize in advance if the combination of cool beer shots is so awful that it practically kills you—but that’s what makes this game fun.)

To play again, refill the empty cups with ½ ounce of beer, rinse your giant shot glass, and repeat.

Side Note: If you and your adult children don’t die from coronavirus, you can show them how cool you are the next time you get together by sharing your vast beer knowledge that will result from this game. And if you really want to impress your kids, you can teach them how to play The Executioner’s Pong.

The most interesting combination from my game-playing is:

  • ½ ounce Not Your Father’s Root Beer
  • ½ ounce Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen
  • ½ ounce Jose Cuervo Margarita

Consumed in large enough quantities, I’m pretty sure it would be just as effective as lethal injection or the electric chair.

My review of The Executioner’s Pong:

Five out of five stars. This game was a good distraction from reality and momentarily allowed me to take a break from screaming in my head: “Someone f***ing make Trump do something to help slow down this pandemic!”  Maybe someone should distract him with a really long game of The Executioner’s Pong until this pandemic is over so he can’t provide anymore “guidance.” That would definitely help slow down the spread of coronavirus in America.


© 2020 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Julie Ryan

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