Beer: The Real Reason Why Civilization Exists.Edit Post
Contributed by on Feb 26, 2017
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“Run, Marty! Run! Save yourself!”
“Doc, it's just a rubber chicken. What’s the deal?”
“That glare, that intensity…”
Arms shrugging, cogitating on the inductive idea that frenzied exposure to Plutonium had finally done the old man in, Marty - of that fabled clan McFly - tried to get a handle on the volatile situation. “Let’s just calm... Ahhh! Ahhh!”
“I told you. Leave it. That chicken…”
“The rubber ducky of dominant duress and devilish disorder,” went he of the agitated avian arsenal, “holds more in its backdoor belly…”
“My God, Marty, it's got a bar of soup! The cruelty! The excess inhumanity!” The batty scientist dove for his teenage companion and flew off the page in an effluvium of noxious fumes; pants taking the brunt of the assault.
And that, in a rather bizarre nutshell, is how I became the proud owner of a time machine. All aboard! Down the darkened corner, a renowned Time-Lord halted his step and did an 180º, whistling Dixie, minding his own business and searching for a new looker waylay into his blue box.
Now, let’s see. Pedal to the metal. Down the space-time continuum, sanity tied up in our trunk with a nasty gash on its forehead. Tires screeching, flames billowing from below the rims, full orchestra in the background; the stuff of epics. Is that Huey Lewis trying to hitchhike? Never mind. Windows up, past the psychedelic sixties. Barreling across No-Man’s Land, a soccer ball bouncing off the rearview. A mad dash through a few drab and dreary centuries. Bye-bye. Sanity banging on the trunk, calling out for his mother. Italy during the Renascence; the vogue awareness that “Al Fresco” was simply code for “let’s get our freak on.” Genitals as far as the eyes can see. Pit-stop along the way for some Lysol and a healthy dose of Aspirins; the Black Plague a right bastard. Sidestep that controversial period with the giant Ts. Selfie with Cleo. An orgy or two with my buddy Caligula… and, look, a Velociraptor just crossed my path. Shift reverse, gone a bit too far. backtrack…
“I’m sick and tired of eating everything raw. I’m telling you this will be THE invention that will revolutionize it all.”
“You’re a git. The drapes are starting to smell like smoke. Mom was right, I should have married a Pebble or that nice mister Twig down the block. You and your damn contraption. You’ll never amount to anything.”
“I will, destiny beckons me! You’ll see. And, I’ll call it after myself. I call it Jim!” Shouted the misunderstood Jim Fire.
Yup, close enough. Hit the brakes.
The dawn of civilization. A slightly grittier and dirtier episode of the Flintstones. That majestic period in our chronological time-stream where Vegans and Hipsters didn’t exist. The promised land. That peculiar point in our societal makeup, where due, to the influx of thaumaturgical energy, the finger of God, or, perhaps, the alignment of the stars, we slapped our lone wolf with a ratty newspaper and started to congregate. To pull our strengths together and become a unit. What lead us to design and build empires, what drove us from hunger/gatherers into the titans of our planet, what fueled and galvanized us into the top of the evolutionary tilt-a-world?….Happenstance. A serendipitous fluke.
A disorderly dimwit with a bone-weary thirst, zero compunctions, and faulty agricultural experience. A few fermenting grains and, at the drop of a hat, everyone started to get along. Beer, humanity’s less than dazzling justification, and ulterior motive, for putting up with Spaceship Earth’s wacky temper-tantrums; and its oftentimes harebrained denizens.
Yes, beer, cervezas, happy hops, ale, barely pop, amber brew, lager, suds, nectar of the Gods, Bud’s lifeblood, why ballet is almost bearable, a cold one, chill ambrosia our spearhead argument for shoring up our backpacks, fireballing our walking stick, and settling in; throwback suburbia, and contemporary existence, rapidly available Prozac.
This frothy mixture of heavenly perfection - no matter what your alcoholic inclination may be, a good ale is never taken out back and shot - had a pivotal role in shaping mankind’s destiny.
There’s little argument, nowadays, that grain was paramount to stopping our nomadic ways in their happy-go-lucky tracks and urging us not only to settle down but to spring those proverbial roots our nagging girlfriends are so adamant to bring up. Grain curve-stumped our Neanderthal hippy ways and gifted us with the yuppie mentality of stone-age Wall-Street go-getters.
Naturally, back when the theory was first introduced, savvy scientists and those antsy anthropologists made a logical and highly unimaginative leap. Grain equaled bread. Bread equaled nourishment. Nourishment equaled a staple diet. Made perfect sense… Then, one of those uptight eggheads, no doubt springing forth like a mauled lotus from a bewildering divorce, invited all his fellow colleagues to Octoberfest. One “Oh God please make me forget the weekend” later and suddenly a new path was brewed into existence. In a flash of buxom wench inspiration and pints of carefully selected honey, bread no longer became the linchpin on which Egypt and those other empires were built. Evidence amassed and, like that, Mesopotamia was erected one Pub at a time.
Their logic? Aside from an mythical heroic trip, the sort that inspire epic poems; 6 boarded the plane, and only two returned home, one with a rabbit in his carryon.
Fermentation, unlike baked goods, happens naturally - that congress of shame-ridden October Fest savants concluded. That magical process, in which sugar turns into alcohol, and alcohol turns into saintly stardust, takes place without the need of humanity's bumbling intervention.
The earliest chemical evidence, that our ancestors had more in common with Homer J. Simpson than we dare suppose, dates back to 3500 BC. Nonetheless, those learned sauced scholars, have concluded that Moe’s epic merchandise has existed in one way or another long before that archaic milestone. Indiana Jones wannabes are constantly tripping on ancient beer-brewing tools.
Brian Hayden, from Simon Fraser University in Canada, provided new support for this theory in an article published in the Journal of Archeological Method and Theory.
“Brewing beer was an important aspect of feasting and society in the late Epipaleolithic era," the conclave of smarty-pants concluded.
Alcohol, forensic psychologists suggest, was fundamental to our drive to socialize. That buzz, sparked into existence by psychopharmacological brew, was the likely culprit in quelling our angst of defying herd instincts; of lulling the need to go against the norm. Chit-chats around the campfire took on a new dimension. Our forefathers started shooting their mouth off with little to no restraint. The painfully shy could now speak their mind and, after a couple of brewskies, even the village hag had a sexy swagger; beer became a determining factor to skyrocketing birth rates. Over time, this capacity - that went beyond telling naughty jokes to the knuckle-dragger on the next log - allowed us to be more expansive in our creative thinking and far more receptive to collaborative efforts.
Jeffrey Khan, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital, argues, that beer, in essence, “gave us time to relax, and awakened the desire to experiment, to invent, and to create art— all characteristics of a flourishing civilization.”
Beer, it became quickly evident asserted itself into the Iron Throne with amazing ease, and a whole lot less incest and decapitations. It metamorphosed into the proverbial Golden Calf almost overnight. Its amber piquancy took the limelight, becoming the centerpiece of religious rituals, political celebrations, city planning (“do I look like I care where the church goes? Where are you planning on putting the bar?!”), last rite ceremonies and, in some collectives, a form of currency.
And, that’s not all, Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania, attests to our instinctual understanding of the world, and defends the idea that beer is more nutritious than bread, and, given the unsanitary Petri dish our ancestors frolicked in, safer to drink than water; good-old fermentation killing of every nasty pathogen.
To add a little spice to this already bizarre explanation as to why beer is ultimately responsible for the uprise of Apple - thank you beer for my iPhone - let’s jump back into our tricked-out DeLorean and zoom into Corona land, otherwise known as Mexico. The ancestral grass of modern maize, teosinte, was the perfect ingredient for making strong ale; not corn flour or tortillas. Teosinte being the backbone of those ancient masked wrestler's economy. It took generations for Mexican farmers to domesticate this grass into maize. Meanwhile, they were having the time of their life making moonshine tequila.
So, once more, that rascal Ben Franklin managed to find some hidden insight behind the veil:
“Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”