I didn’t write that title. Singer and songwriter Tom T. Hall wrote those words – indeed a whole song – about beer in 1975. Over forty years have gone by, and nothing much has changed: I still like beer! It has never defined who I am (although there were a couple of years when it came close) but it does tend to define my outlook on life and the people to whom I most easily relate, including key characters in my novels.
To understand this, I invite you to join me on a trip to the airport to pick up a VIP I haven’t previously met. When I suggest lunch – or supper – before a long drive home and they suggest a beer and a burger, I instantly learn everything I need to know about them: they are not trying to impress me, they care about their spouse and kids and neighbours , and in our shared context they feel their job and colleagues are more important than they are. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Such people are the ones who feature prominently in my stories. Such people intuitively understand that no matter how big and strong or attractive or brilliant they are, at least 55% of their body weight is just water (notwithstanding, of course, the effect of having a couple of pints!) Such people tend to live straightforward lives, rising to extraordinary heights of intelligence, endurance and bravery when called upon by their families and community, and accepting strangers as friends they haven’t met.
Such people form the vast majority of humanity, even if they don’t all drink beer and eat burgers (coffee anyone?) Every now and then, unfortunately, a singular black-hearted soul comes along who wants to suck the life out of everybody and everything in his path. The formula these black souls use is division: they focus on building their own strength by creating divisions between others. Such souls are pathetic, and happily are rare. Sadly, less rare are the enablers who support them out of greed and a lust for reflected power in the shadow of their master. And they pretend to be just like you and I, but claim to be wiser.
Those are the people I would like to see destroyed. My stories – and a computer keyboard – provide me with a safe alternative to an assault rifle.
I must be getting old.