Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)
We’ve gone over what beers to get for the beer geek in your life, and we’ve taken a look at some of the standout holiday beers available this season. At this point I don’t know what other ground there is to cover where holiday beers are concerned, and in light of the horrific events in Connecticut last week I’m pretty sure I’d be uncomfortable writing about it even if there were.
I considered writing about what I would want for Christmas; not only specific beers but what I’d like to do in my capacity as the beer buyer at Arrowine, but that seemed particularly selfish and navel-gazey even for me. While writing to a friend this week I touched on something that if you’ll indulge me I’d like to explore a bit, as I think in its own little way it means something.
When a tragedy strikes with the magnitude of what happened last week, our screwed-up priorities and concerns always have some sense slapped into them and we see them for their true pettiness and insignificance, as we take a moment to consider our own pettiness and insignificance. Any of us with a hobby — be it beer, wine, books, cars, sports, all of the above (guilty party here) — push our interests to the back burner because in the face of such suffering and pure evil they have no relevance.
But life moves along. Day by day, we take small steps back into our normal routines and time salves our wounds as it always does. We go back to our lives and back to those things that we love. All too often that’s that; we do what we do and then wait for the next awful occurrence to shake us from our little worlds, because what can we do?
As the debate and politics of that question swirl about, my wish is that we take the most basic steps we can. This being a column ostensibly about beer, I wish all of us as beer fans simply appreciated that connection a little bit more. There are many of you out there reading this, as there are many customers of mine, with whom the only thing I have in common is a love of beer. Why can’t we just focus on that one thing a little more, rather than all of the other things? Why can’t we raise our glasses of Dogfish Head, or Port City, and nod a toast to the guy at the end of the bar with a Bud? In the end, we’re all just having a beer, and that commonality should be an anchor to a better relationship with each other as fellow passengers on this insanely fast-spinning ball of water and rock.
That’s my wish. Not even that we be nicer to each other — I can’t speak for you, but that is certainly not my nature — but that we simply appreciate what we have in common just a little bit more, leaving us open to the possibility of something greater. I don’t want us to join hands and sing the old spirituals (I’m not saying I’m not open, though); simply to strive a little bit more to attain the quiet love for each other that comes with the unconscious recognition that we all exist here, and we all have to be aware of each other at the very least to the extent that we can all share this space — for the pitifully small fraction of all that is-and-ever-will-be that we are privileged to — and attain whatever happiness we can while we’re here.
That is far too many words for a simple idea, but that is my way. Forgive me. I only wish we would all reach out just a little bit more when we discover something in common with each other, no matter what that is. We can’t eliminate violence or mental illness from existence by sharing a beer or chatting about the last book you read with the guy you see on the Metro nose-deep in his Kindle, but we might just make a friend. At the very least, we may just be able to make the world a little smaller in the ways that really matter, and there’s no telling how many lives we can turn around doing that. Maybe even our own.