You know how when you’re drinking tequila, people dare you to eat the worm? It’s a stupid thing to do, but chances are, if you’re surrounded by people who have been drinking tequila, “stupid” is no longer considered a criticism.
Well, I can do tequila drinkers one better. When you’re drinking beer, swallow the bee.
Ah, you say, how can I do that? Beer doesn’t come with bees.
Yes, but you can always add a bee. I did. Let me explain.
Ralph Anderson, Rose, Nguyen, and I had just finished the perfect photo shoot at John and Marsha Warren’s home in Cashiers, North Carolina. Fall colors were peaking. Mountain music from John’s band filled the crisp air. Friends of the Warrens had dropped by to enjoy good times, good food, and and some very good adult beverages. I, being a naturally agreeable sort, opted to join them.
Fortunately, I was prepared. Ralph and I had purchased some excellent microbrews earlier in the day and were cooling them in the mountain creek that runs past John’s house. I popped one open, then left it on a rock for a few moments while I assisted Ralph with something. Not wanting to miss the party, I went back, grabbed the beer, walked into the Warrens’ house, took a deep, long swig, and discovered…
…..there was a big yellow jacket in my beer.
Or, to be more precise, there had been. Now it was in my mouth.
Turns out yellow jackets don’t much like being in people’s mouths. Makes ’em kinda ornery and spiteful. I discovered this when out of deep compassion for every living thing, I spat out the bee, and the savage little creep stung me anyway. Right on my lower lip.
My lip starts inflating like a tire at Pep Boys. Marsha somehow feels responsible (and she should — after all, it was her bee), so she immediately gets some ice to put on it. Great — now I’m sitting in the middle of a party with an ice-cold tire growing on my face.
I basked in group sympathy for 10 minutes or so, which ordinarily would have given me a swollen head, but that train had already left the station. Then I told everybody good-bye. My wife was expecting me at home that night, so if I hoped to get there before midnight, I had to leave now.
About an hour later, my cell phone rings in the car. Marsha is calling. I can hear lots of laughter in the background. Obviously, people are still having a good time. Marsha asks me where I am.
“I’m just now crossing the Georgia state line,” I tell her. “My lower lip crossed two minutes earlier.”