We tried to anticipate just what would go down at last night’s intensely, desperately
ginned up anticipated meeting between the prime actors in America’s latest race agon. And we were wrong. Forthwith the absolutely true, non-speculative fiction transcript of America’s MOST IMPORTANT BEER SUMMIT EVER, featuring Barry, Skip, Joe and Jim. (Obviously, we had an inside man. Hi Joe!)
Barry: I just want to thank you fellas’ for agreeing to do this. Particularly you, James, because I know it can’t be easy to come out here in front of all these cameras and expose yourself to even more scrutiny.
Joe: Heh, expose yourself.
Barry: Isn’t that non-alcoholic beer?
Joe: I could’ve been president you know?
Skip: Mr. President…
Barry: Please, Skip, call me Barry, after all, we’re just three, now four, average Americans having a beer in the backyard.
Skip: Yes, ok, of course we are. Look, Barry, and Mr. Vice President…
Joe: I coulda’ been President you know…
Skip: Joe, Barry, Sergeant Crowley, I’m all for the idea of truth and reconciliation, but I confess I’m a little skeptical about this whole undertaking. It seems an awful lot like a stage-managed photo op; a pantomime, if you will, of the kind of conversation we really ought to be having…
Jim: Can I just jump in here for a sec? Honestly, I don’t want to be a racist Masshole for the rest of my life, so if coming out here and drinking a few beers is going to change that, I think this is a good thing.
Barry: Well, look. Yes, everything we’re doing is being pretty absurdly analyzed and scored and dissected. I mean hell fellas, I’m drinking Bud Light? What a shitty beer…
Jim: I’m so glad you said that. All the guys on the precinct soft ball team drink it and I think it tastes like soap.
Joe: Hey Skip, weren’t you supposed to be drinking Red Stripe? And then you switched to Sam Adams? Was that an olive-branch to our friends in the Commonwealth?
Skip: The Red Stripe wasn’t cold yet.
Barry: So guys, race in America… still not great right?
Joe: Did I ever tell you about the time me and Gary Hart went Dutch on a Dutch stewar-
Barry: Ok, ok. I’m not expecting a whole lot of revelation or confession from this little stunt, but I do think we ought to try to talk as three-
Barry: …men just trying to sort things out to a point where, you know — if we lived on the same street, and worked in the same part of town, and our kids went to the same schools — we could be civil and helpful to each other.
Skip: But I think that’s the point, isn’t it? Class and race in America are twisted up into this awful skein of resentment and fear and suspicion, and it’s like this giant rope hanging from the past that we’re clinging to because we’re afraid to just fall into the truth, and it’s shredding the skin on our hands and we’re in pain, we’re bleeding… we’re in agony as a society because we can’t just let go…
Jim: I think I know what Mr. Gates is getting at. I once tried to resuscitate an African American civilian.
Joe: Hey, is that Dick Cheney over there, by the rose garden?
Barry: Yeah, he keeps going off his meds and coming over telling me what to do. Basically, he just wants me to assassinate two thirds of the G20…
Skip: (Did he just insert a hyperlink into a spoken sentence? WTF?)
Jim: My favorite basketball player growing up was Dennis Johnson.
Barry: Ok, that’s cool, let’s talk about that.
Skip: (Why the hell does it always have to be about ballplayers and singers and dan-)
Barry: Now hold on, Skip, we’ve got to let James go with this. C’mon, we’re just having beers, this isn’t a symposium or seminar…
Skip: Actually, technically, it is a symposium. You know, drinking together… Greek? Weren’t you the editor of the Harvard Review?
Barry: It’s not a lecture. Go ahead James. I’ll tell you, one of my favorite ball players was Pistol Pete, so I appreciate how sports can transcend race…
Jim: Well. Yeah. I mean—
Joe: HUGE Refrigerator Perry fan right here. HUGE. Also loved that Jim McMahon. Real character that guy. Oh hey, Secret Service guy, can I get another Buckler?
Barry: Say Joe, isn’t that, like, your 14th one of those?
Jim: You know I once had an old desk sergeant who was a reformed alcoholic who ended up drinking about 20 near beers a day just to get that little buzz. Cuz you know they have about .7 percent alcohol in them, right?
Barry: James, you were saying you really liked Dennis Johnson?
Jim: Well yeah. He was really calm and disciplined, not flashy or show-offy, like… he was workmanlike and didn’t just rely on athleticism.
Skip: And he had freckles.
Jim: Err, yeah. I guess.
Skip: Can I get a Red Stripe over here?!
Joe: Say, Henry, why do they call you Skip, anyway? That’s like one WASP factor down from Scooter.
Barry: Joe. Please. Look, Henry, you really have nothing to gain from being here—
Joe: (Except the greatest book proposal in the history of the American Academy)
Skip: Oh. Did you just sober up from your fake drunk mien?
Jim: Wait, Blue Moon is a Coors beer? Oh, and “mean”?
Skip: Yes, mien. Like, habitus.
Joe: No wonder they call you the “Professor”!
Skip: I’m a professor.
Barry: What I think we’ve all learned tonight is that three, or four, Americans can still sit down and talk about their problems, without hiding behind angry talk-radio ideologies or cable news talking points or any of the other thousands of things that seek to divide us as a people. A people that actually — and you’ll excuse me — gives a shit about being honest and forthright and independent and, in the end, believes that if one man isn’t free in his own home, none of us is free.
Joe: G’night. I have a train to catch.