pixies

Which Whiskey to Drink After Your Favorite Punk Hit Plays in the Produce Aisle

I mean, all you want is a fucking cantaloupe, am I right? You walk into the grocery store looking for a decent melon to have with your morning oatmeal because your GP says you need more fiber and you’re standing there knocking your knuckle on the rind of a good looking honeydew when you realize the insipid muzak glurge washing over everything is the Pixies, and you crush the melon with one hand because oh my serious Jesus.

Get used to it, ancient one.

Cause you have reached an age where the soundtrack of your savage, sexy 20s is serenading the heirloom tomatoes. It’s cool. 58 is the new 57. You’re fine. Except, shit. No. Everything is not fine. You just got off the phone with a life-long friend who called you from his hospital bed because he’s got pneumonia and there’s a mass in his heart and he’s waiting on a biopsy and he’s scared. You can tell he’s scared because you’re eight minutes into the conversation and he hasn’t made a single joke.

Which reminds you of when your dad had cancer

And holy seriously please God no Batman, is your friend the same age your dad was when your dad went into Orange County Memorial for the Big C? Yes. You know all those moments in your 30s and 40s when you shrugged off some nagging vaguery of maybe going to the doctor more or working out a little? You said, yeah, whatever, I’ll do that when I’m old. Like it’s bravado. Like it’s punk. But it’s not. It’s stupid.

You’re an idiot.

Look at that melon. Look at it. It’s in its prime. Its skin is elementary-school green. It smells amazing. Tap it and the sound is rich, mellifluous, and clean. Crack it open and the smell of honey and green grass fills your kitchen. You’ll take a beautiful snow-white bowl from your frosted-glass-fronted cabinet and place it with a satisfying, muted thunk on your granite counter with the little flecks of salmon in it, then you’ll grab a cup of your perfect pour-over you weighed and timed, grinding your own beans which you roasted yourself and sourced from a single acre family farm at 1400 feet elevation in the Philippines and you’ll think

Who have I become?

Because this isn’t him. When you were learning the chords to “Debaser” back in ’89—Jesus Horocrux Christ that was 33 years ago—when you were learning those chords and Carolyn was draped over your garbage-picked Barcalounger reading Proust and you owned a pack of cigarettes, the Barcalounger, an expensive coffee maker, and this guitar, you thought this is perfect, the band’s gonna chart, I’ll make music forever; when you were that guy you were gonna be him now. But you’re not. You manage the IT department at a company that makes prefab window frames. Carolyn married an architect from Big Sur. Now she designs restaurant interiors, hogs the mike at town council meetings, and posts memes about it being Wine o’Clock and look

You were always going to be here staring at this melon

The Pixies were destined to play through grocery store ceiling speakers. Carolyn was always going to marry an architect named Todd. It is the way of all things. We all creep daily toward the edges of that ultimate nap. This honeydew in your hand, if not eaten, will rot and mold and collapse in on itself until it’s just gloop. Fodder for compost. Just like the Pixies.

What whiskey should you drink when your favorite Pixies song plays in the produce aisle?

Hell, kid. I got no idea. Maybe you should give your goodbyes and drive your car into the ocean. As for me, I’m white-knuckling a generous slab of C.B. Fisher’s Single Malt from Fainting Goat Distillery in North Carolina because I’m an elegant elder punk and I have class.

Author: Bull Garlington
Bull Garlington is an author and columnist in Chicago who writes about the madness of travel, analog tools, food, wine, and whiskey. Garlington lives with [his attorney], smokes black cavendish, hikes the easy trails, and makes a mean gumbo yaya.

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