I don’t understand Labor Day.  I’m supposed to celebrate employment with a forced and unpaid day off?  Hmm.  Okay.

I decided to celebrate Labor Day anyway, despite my confusion on the subject, so I splurged and bought myself a half-liter bottle of Lindeman’s Kriek Lambic (which, at $6.99, definitely qualifies as a splurge).

“Splurge” is an awfully strange word.

Anyway, a lambic, in case you’re curious, is a sort of Belgian doubly and spontaneously fermented wheat beer dolled up with some fruit (which is responsible for the second fermentation).  You can get apple lambics, peach, black currant–all sorts of lambics.  I went with the kriek, which, apparently, is what people in Belgium call a black cherry.

The guy behind me in line at the liquor store said something to the effect of, “Gol’ dang, is you spendin’ seven damn dollars on one bottle o’ beer?  Holy sheep sh*t.”  And then I reminded myself that I am in Indiana–a nightmare from which I never seem to awaken–and went on with my plans.  Went home and peeled the red foil off the top of the bottle.  Mmmm.

Well, drat–there’s an old-school bottle cap on the cursed thing, and of course I don’t have an old-scho0l bottle opener lying around handy, so it’s back to the store, where I buy an old-school bottle opener for some absurdly inflated price (do not ever buy kitchen gadgetry at a grocery store).  Why twist-top technology continues to elude the Belgians is beyond me, but I hope someone brings it up at the next U.N. conference.

All right, the red foil is off, the old-school bottle cap is off, God’s in His heaven and all’s right with the world.

Now there’s a cork.

What is this, plutonium-in-a-bottle?  Do the Belgians treat everything like a high-security installation?

Back to the store, this time to buy a ridiculously overpriced corkscrew.

Now, finally.  The bottle’s still icy cold, and when I manage to wrestle the cork out of it, some very promising mist rises and wraiths its way out of the neck.  Things are starting to appear ripe with promise.

I was pretty highly desirous of some kriek lambic at this point, so I just indulged in a prolonged guzzle, which hit me exactly like a poleaxe between the eyes.

William S. Burroughs–the high priest of decadent indulgence–once pointed out that if you take a hit of something and right away think “Hm, nothing’s happening; I need more,” that’s a sure sign that you’ve already done too much.

Here are my exact thoughts at the time.  It’s a good thing that I still have them, because it wasn’t very long after that that everything began to get wonky and impossible to remember.

“Dang, that’s tasty!  Like a lollipop.  And I don’t even like lollipops.  Ship in a bottle.  I should write a song.  Sting sucks.”

Then I stared off into space for a minute or two, looked back at the bottle and thought “You’re still here?” and went in for more, after which I declared–for the first time in my life, I’m pretty sure–“Yumpin’ yiminy!” and then went to go look in a mirror to see how closely I resembled Yosemite Sam.

And then I mumbled something about Labor Day being okay after all and fell into a very satisfying slumber.