Issue number: 3
on: July 8th, 1998
Next issue on: July 21st
an on-line warning system for the benefit of readers who happen to be my mother
WARNING! This article has been found to contain the following:
Naked consenting adults:
If you are easily shocked or my eight-year-old niece, get out of here. Otherwise, read on
This Issue: A Letter from Jeb
My friend Jeb Watrow is a gentleman who likes his
drink. His preferred beverage to toast all occasions and accompany all
dishes, from picnics to state dinners, from hamburgers to filet of sole, is
yellow or brownish in color, effervescent, bitter, with a relatively low
alcohol content, and commonly consumed in quantity. You might say that he
has been known to crack a cool one from time to time.
I got this missive from him last week:
"In order to be fit and healthy everyone should consume at least one serving daily from each of the five main food groups: water, rice, yeast, barley and hops."
- Watrow's Nutrition, Vol. 1, p. 1
"Learn something new every day. Then get drunk."
- The Earl of Watrow, Letters to His Son, vol. 3, p. 1
Once in a while, someone
expresses concern about my beer drinking, usually on one of those Sunday
mornings when I wake up Monday afternoon and my first reflex is to strip naked
and check my ass for unfamiliar tattoos. To put it another way, I have
often been accused of drinking to commit great bodily harm. My accusers
will be glad to hear that I have made a solemn resolution: I now drink beer
only according to strict, time-tested economic principles. Let me
For instance, when I am at home, I drink beer according to the strict economic principle of "Supply Equals Demand": if I have two beers in the refrigerator, I drink two beers. If I have three beers, I drink three, and if I have five five, and so on.
When I am at parties I drink according to the time-tested economic principle of "The Law of Multiplying Returns": in the first ten minutes or so after I arrive at a party I drink a beer. Then I return to the drinks table, because drinking one beer makes me want to drink two. Then, because drinking two beers makes me want to drink four, I return to the bar again twice in rapid succession. Then 4 beers makes me want to drink 16, and so on until by the end of the evening (for me, usually shortly before 11:00) I have consumed 1,024 beers.
When I am drinking beer in a bar, I follow the economic principle of "What the Market Will Bear". In this economic principle, I represent the market. I don't think this principle needs any further explanation.
So far I have been giving examples of free enterprise in action, but I am no fanatic ideologue. In restaurants I drink according to the hardline communist principle of the "Labor Theory of Value". In Das Kapital, Karl Marx posits that the value of a product is a function of the labor that went into it. Note that getting served a glass of beer in a restaurant entails more labor than simply pulling a cool one out of the fridge. The bartender has to fill a glass, the waiter has to bring it to you and later the busboy has to bus it so the dishwasher can wash it. All this raises the price, and of course that is why beer (and everything else) costs more in restaurants. This does not bother me. In fact, I will cheerfully pay twice as much for one small glass of beer in a restaurant than I would ever dream of paying for a whole six-pack in a supermarket. "Workers of the world, unite!" is what I say. Or rather, it should be "workers of [the]world unite!" because what I actually say is more like, "[Food service] workers of [this restaurant, it would do me a whole] world [of good if you would bring over another uncapped 12-ouncer and] unite [it with the others on my tab]!" I have nothing to lose but my change.
Various other economic principles enter into my beer drinking as well. At all times when drinking beer I observe a rigorous code of protectionism. If anybody asks to have a sip of my brew, I might begrudgingly allow it if we are on very good terms, but generally I sit with my fingers clenched around the glass glaring at all intruders. Nor do I hesitate to engage in child labor. If a child of any age can be induced to bring me another beer, so be it. I am also an adamant defender of free trade. If someone offers to trade me a beer for free, I am all for it.
So you see, my beer drinking actually has a lofty meaning and purpose behind it. Remember this the next time you see some poor slob at a bar huddled over a mug with two inches of warm, flat lager in the bottom, nursing it like it was the fountain of youth. Don't scoff -- he's probably just doing research on John Maynard Keyne's "Liquidity Preference Theory".
This page is intended to be an unrestricted, open forum for me to shoot my mouth off. I think of it as a monument to freedom of speech: mine. All material is copyrighted by David Jaggard, in the sense that according to American copyright law, you own your intellectual property from the moment you make a "tangible copy" of it. On the other hand, in the immortal words of the great jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Go prove it". If you re-use any of this material, please give me credit. I'd also appreciate it if you'd let me know that you used it. While you're at it, give me a link.
new article will be posted every two weeks or when I get around to it,
whichever comes last.
Previous articles are available on request. Requests, complaints, compliments and crank commentary should be e-mailed to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
¨©1998 by David Jaggard. All rights reserved worldwide. Reproduction without permission prohibited. Now you tell one.