No matter how lousy your day is, there are few days that an Old Fashioned can't make better. Listen up boys and girls. What I am about to say, you will read and believe that I'm completely out of my gourd. But please know, you are absolutely and galactically incorrect. Here is what I am about to say: You don't know shit. Trust me, I don't like saying it any more than you like hearing it. But, it's true. You really don't. Remember the first time you ever tried beer and you made the face like, "How can anybody actually enjoy this?" When I was in my 20s, I thought drinks like the Old Fashioned were exactly that -- only for squares and old people. I didn't drink prune juice and I didn't know every Matlock episode by heart, so why would I drink an Old Fashioned? You know why? Because I didn't know shit!
At 43 years of age, I pretty much have things figured out. I imagine there is an 85-year-old laughing his head off thinking I'm just a wee baby at 43 and I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about. And, you know what? He's probably right. At least I am finally of the age where I can admit that. Because 22-year-old Derek would tell you that he knows just as much as 43-year-old Derek, and that mate, is just about the most galactically delusional statement you can think of. Admitting you're wrong is not a habit commonly found in young people. And I guess that's a good thing, because it allows you whippersnappers to have the courage to try things that us old farts tell you can't be done. And while we may be right the majority of the time, there are enough exceptions to the rule that progress is made and society advances. Or, at least that is what 22-year-old me would tell myself.
A good Old Fashioned makes you want to tip your hat to a dame. It makes you want to say to a stranger, "Well, whaddya know, Ace?" It's a complex, yet basic drink that is everything that is great about America and none of the bad. A hefty square ice cube should be the nucleus that the bourbon and bitters blend around. Some of you enjoy an Old Fashioned because of Mad Men. I have to admit something here. I have never seen an episode of Mad Men. My love of an Old Fashioned arrived well after the advent of Don Draper. It arrived when I was at a bar and I realized, "Why do I make fun of shit that I've never even tried before?" So, I decided I owed it to myself to at least try one. This is also the exact same time I realized I didn't know shit. Almost everything I loved as a youth I now dislike as an adult. And what I thought only insane people did, I now find myself enjoying with gusto. Going to a party at my age horrifies me. I would much rather have an intimate gathering with a few select group of people and discuss why cabbage is the greatest vegetable of all time.
If life were perfect, I'd have the stamina of an 18-year-old, the looks of a 30-year-old, and the liquor preferences of a 43-year-old. I don't need to drink copious quantities of malt liquor to have a great time. I need the company of interesting people I care about, a good drink in my hand, and absolutely no selfies, tweets, or any of that other silly nonsense around. I'm officially entering middle age to old man status, and I couldn't be more content doing so. My advice to you Millennials is to stop pretending that you have life figured out. Because you don't. I'm now at an age where it becomes glaringly obvious how badly I was bluffing it beforehand. It's ok to not know what the hell you are doing. What's not okay is trying to say you have figured out the answers that literally billions of people who came before you, who have been on this planet much longer than you, haven't figured out.
In a nutshell, what my drunk ass is trying to tell you right now is this... Things are going to change. The existence you are in right now is going to last exactly as long as it takes me to write this next sentence. Live in the moment, but please understand the moment is a fluid concept. Please do what I foolheartedly chose not to do. Listen. Try the things that old timers enjoy and appreciate. They've done all the hard work for you! There is a damn good reason why a single malt scotch is much more enjoyable than a Zima. You just haven't experienced enough to understand why. That is not your fault. What is your fault is to argue why a Zima is a better drink than a scotch. You may one day rue the mistakes you made as a jackass adolescent drinking spoiled Sprite. But, I will tell you that if you sit down with a proper drink, like an Old Fashioned, you'll start to have conversations and thoughts that would have helped you decades ago. In the immortal words of Humphrey Bogart, I'm raising my glass and I'm winking at you saying, "Here's looking at you, kid." Now get me some prune juice, I have some Golden Girls to watch.
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