THE SOPHISTICATION OF A TOAD

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When we were in California last year, my wife and I stopped at Napa Valley. When you’re in Napa Valley you visit a winery, because that’s really all there is. When you visit a winery, you sample wine. I don’t drink much, and Napa Valley makes very sophisticated, expensive wines. I’m not the kind of guy who should be sampling wine that can cost up to one hundred dollars a bottle. I’m not the kind of people who should be sampling wine that has a cork in the bottle or even comes in a bottle. It was like Jed Clampett going to a winetasting. (I kept asking, “Do you have an ’87 Bartles and Jaymes? Or maybe a ’75 Mad Dog 20/20? Our snooty little guide, “Bryan … with a y,” was not amused.)
They gave us score sheets to judge the wines. There were different categories for each wine and we were supposed to give a numeric score for each category: aroma, body, finish, miles per gallon, barometric pressure and best supporting actor. We were also told to look for the legs of the wine. (I never saw any legs, but I found one that tasted as if it might have had old tennis shoes soaking in it at one time.)
I simplified the scoring process by putting a happy face if I liked the wine, and a frowny face if I didn’t. Bryan with a Y looked at my score sheet, rolled his eyes and went off to find a more cultured and sophisticated crowd, such as the Duck Dynasty guys.
I can’t help it. I have the sophistication of a toad—and I’m not talking a high class toad in a top hat and tails, just your garden variety, give-a-guy-warts type of toad. When I was a kid I loved James Bond movies—the Sean Connery ones of course—but I didn’t care that his martinis were shaken, not stirred, or he could tell what wine a brandy had been made from just by tasting it. I liked the cool gadgets, his smart ass attitude and, when I was older, the beautiful women who flocked around him.
I’ve tried caviar; I don’t like it. The same with champagne. When I was younger, I knew couples who were slaves to whatever fashion was in vogue. If the IN thing was eating fermented monkey snot, they would have gobbled it down while raving about how great it tasted and its beneficial health value. If I’d said, with all the sophistication I could muster, “IT’S MONKEY SNOT! Grab a slice of reality people!” They would have shot me an arrogant, Bryan-with-a-Y look and gone right back to their slimy feast.
I have read everything Hemingway ever wrote, a lot of Updike, Joyce Carol Oats and Jon Steinbeck—I would give up certain body parts that I really, really like having to be able to turn a phrase the way Bill Faulkner could–but most of the time when I read it’s James Patterson, CJ Box or Stephen King. I guess I’m just a very uncouth kind of guy. In fact, I’m so uncouth I wasn’t even sure what it meant, so I looked it up. Webster defines uncouth as, “Not being couth.” That fits me to a tea. I’ve never done a couth thing in my life. You can ask any of my friends, although they’re so unrefined, I’m sure they don’t even know what couth means. Brian with a Y would know.

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About thewritingdeputy

Joel Jurrens was a deputy sheriff for 26 years until he retired in 2013. He has published three novels: In The Sticks, Graves of His Personal Liking and County Ops: The Vengeance of Gable Fitzgerald. He tries to keep his blog light and humorous and sometimes downright silly.
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