We are quickly approaching Jay’s annual wine tasting party known as Symposium. This event always lies on the 2nd Saturday in January. Interestingly enough, this also happens to be the same way that Patterson Dental picks the date for their holiday party. This puts Willy in a bit of a boggle, but he usually selects the side that will give him the most free booze.

Although I officially gave up the bottle over a year ago, I decided to bring a bottle of wine to the shindig. I sent an e-mail to Mr. Janson alerting him to the coming bottle so that he would know not to stock his bar with another bottle of the same ilk.

Jay wrote me back:

You know you needn’t bring anything to Symposium; your presence is gift enough. With the condition that you eat and drink to your desire and endeavor to make merry, leaving all burdens of strife and ill-feeling on the street below.

I told him that I couldn’t be held to such strict standards and was offended that my presence which was allegedly a “gift”, was only welcome based on certain conditions. I told him that I didn’t want to be held to any such standards and therefore my bringing this bottle of wine would make up for any shortcomings I had when compared to his arbitrary set of standards. After all, I really hate drunk people and certainly can’t be the best me when I’m around people that aren’t fun to be around.

He said, that I couldn’t buy my way into Symposium if I had a bad attitude. Furthermore, if I chose to bring a guest, they would only be welcome if he “approved” of them.

I still have chosen to try to buy my way into Symposium. I picked up a bottle of Country Road Red from the White Oak Winery near Elkhart.


You see, I can’t eat and drink to my desire. That is called gluttony.

I can’t endeavor to make merry. There are two definitions for the term “make merry”. One is to be happy or festive. The other definition is to make fun of or ridicule. These seem to be contrary concepts and being a man, I can’t balance this dichotomy in my head without making it explode. Does Jay want me to try and be happy? Well that is ridiculous. Happiness is not something that you can try to be. You can pursue happiness, but you can’t make yourself happy. Not when the dude next to you is drinking out of the spit bucket. Then he must want me to pursue the second definition. He wants me to make fun of and ridicule his other guests. What kind of a host invites one guy to belittle his other guests? I’m more than capable of doing this activity, but it isn’t something I want to do. Unless that dude is drinking out of the spit bucket again.

Then finally, he wants me to leave all burdens of strife and ill-feeling on the street below. Why does it matter? For starters, I can’t leave my burdens behind. They are part of who I am and if Jay doesn’t want the real me there, why did I get an invitation in the first place? As for the ill-feelings, I’m going to need those ill-feelings when I’m making merry on McAlpine for wearing a watch that doesn’t work because he thinks it looks cool. Why do they have to be left on the street? Is this even physically possible? Is there a ceremony that you perform to do such a thing any way?

Since I can’t live up to Jay’s conditions, (who makes conditions on their friends any way, whatever happened to unconditional love?) I am using my bottle of wine as my “License to be a Dick”. Isn’t that what most people consider alcohol to be any way?