I truly hope everybody out there had a fun Memorial Day weekend, or any other holiday weekend that they thought they were observing. Just as Ron Artest (aka Metta World Peace):
Talk about an outstanding member of our society.
Anyway, back to Memorial Day. I don’t think there’s any question that veterans are greatly underappreciated in our country. Perhaps those who only truly understand their sacrifice are those who obviously have done it themselves, or those who have family members or close friends who are or have been deployed overseas.
But for the rest of us, who don’t directly know anyone who has served, we don’t really do much to show our appreciation. Besides the generic Facebook post on the morning of Memorial Day, of course.
I take my cap off during the national anthem, but that’s really it. And it’s not because I don’t care — quite the opposite, actually. I care a lot — but it’s just because I don’t get it.
Living in the generation we’re in, not being forced to volunteer, and a generation where most people can go their entire lives and never come within a thousand miles of a war — it’s impossible for us to fathom what it is like to go to war and sacrifice your life for your country. Does it make me feel a little cowardly? Perhaps. But thinking about it also makes me feel a lot of respect for those who choose to do so.
However, that all being said, I can’t think of a better way to honor our veterans than by giving the rest of our country a 3-day weekend right at the start of the summer. Having three days to bask in beautiful weather while eating cheeseburgers, drinking beers and throwing around a frisbee is exactly what our veterans would have wanted. I truly believe that. The fact that we’re able to skip a day of work and drink irresponsibly is a sacrifice that veterans fight to uphold, and I applaud them for that. A barbecue is something that can be universally appreciated by everybody.
Although that wasn’t always the case.
As young teens, we preferred to spend our free time doing pretty immature things. Perhaps we went around town causing harmless mischief, like knocking down trash cans or toilet papering somebody’s house. That was our idea of fun.
When our parents threw a barbecue when we were 14, 15 and even 16 years old, we thought it was lame. We’d still invite our friends to it, but we’d detach ourselves from the rest of the barbecue. You’d hang out with your friends inside, or in a different part of your property, and only go near your parents when the food was ready. In essence, barbecues were hassles.
But as we aged a little more, and turned 19, 20 and 21, barbecues became a little bit more fun. Most of us drink at that age, and we’re at a socially acceptable age where we can drink safely in somebody’s backyard with parental supervision. So we’d just sit on a bench and act like drinking was no big deal. This was also the age where we were older and mature enough to hold conversations with adults. And finally it was the age where you’d see your friend’s younger brother for the first time in years and say, “Holy shit. When the hell did you get so freaking tall?!”
And now, as we hit our mid-to-late-20s, its come to the point where we practically live for barbecues.
At our ripe age, we fully understand the importance of savoring a beautiful summer day, along with the limited times we have when all of our friends are together in one setting. Also, we run the barbecues ourselves now. Perhaps if you still live at home, then your parents may contribute with the cooking, but otherwise they will make sure to stay out of the way and let you be the host.
Also, it’s pretty funny how, as we age, we create more opportunities for ourselves to partake in all-day drinking. At a barbecue, you’ll sit down at about 3 p.m., crack open a cold beer, and then seven hours later, find yourself doing the same exact thing.
I’d say that I first started truly appreciating barbecues during my first summer out of college. Mainly just because it gave me an opportunity to drink all day.
But with each passing year, you come to look forward to barbecues, and for different reasons. Obviously the drinking aspect always remains important, but it’s also a great opportunity to catch up with old friends. Additionally, with our sporting “careers” long over, it’s always fun to toss around a football or play some wiffle ball, since the opportunities to do so otherwise have become scarce. Also, how can you not love eating burgers and hot dogs all day?
I definitely did not feel this way about barbecues when I was 16.
I fully expect this trend to continue, and that barbecues will become more and more exhilarating with each passing year. Obviously it has a lot to do with maturity, and becoming more boring as you age. But that’s life. In fact, when I’m 40, I expect barbecues to be as thrilling as engaging in sexual intercourse.
And finally, let me officially note that beer pong is never going away. Older folk may claim it is a “generational” thing, and maybe they’re right. Perhaps 18 and 19-year-olds don’t play beer pong anymore. I wouldn’t know. But I do know that beer pong was at the height of its popularity when I was in college, and as a result, it is part of me. I can’t drink without thinking of playing beer pong. And I hope I’m still playing it when I am 60. I had originally wrote 70, but let’s face it, the way I’m going — I’m not living that long.
So, to bring it back full circle, thank you veterans. I know you risk your life every day, and that many of you have paid the sacrifice for doing so. But everybody thanks you for that.
I want to thank you from another perspective. I want to thank you for giving me a Monday off every year, and allowing it to parlay into an awesome weekend where all I get to do is sit in a lounge chair, rock a pair of sunglasses, drink some beer, listen to crappy pop music, and eventually play some beer pong.
Thank you, veterans, for never letting the college kid inside of me ever die.