Well, things are certainly bouncing along merrily here in the pleasure dome (my office). In fact, I just took part in a jolly interesting email exchange…
As you may recall, some time ago I became aware of the existence of a society called The Ancient Order of Froth Blowers
to see my original blog). This was a charitable organization whose mission (in addition to raising charitable contributions) was "To meet regularly in pubs or clubs to enjoy 'beer, beef, and baccy'"
(where "pubs" means public houses or bars, and "baccy" means tobacco).
At its height, the club had more than 700,000 members around the world. Sad to relate, however, the original organization folded in 1931 with the passing of its founders. So I decided to form my own club called The Worshipful Ancient Order of Froth Blowers
(I added "Worshipful" because I didn’t want anyone to confuse the two organizations). Since this was my idea, I thought it only fair that I should henceforth be referred to as Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Froth Blowers Worldwide
(which reminds me that I need to get some new business cards printed).
As I said in my original column:
Maybe this will take off and become a worldwide organization (stranger things have happened), in which case we will, at some stage, need a committee in charge of perfecting a secret handshake, another in charge of designing the official T-Shirt, and yet another tasked with creating our official club song (things like tattoos and official undergarments can wait until our membership passes some predefined number … say three people).
I did, however, take it upon myself to select the official club hat, because some decisions are simply too important to be left to others. After much soul-searching I opted for the Propeller Beanie
because I felt this struck the appropriate tone for the club (I'm wearing mine as I pen these words).
Well, it wasn't long before the emails started to flood in, such as one from Jon Fuge in the UK. Jon spake as follows:
Hi Max, I love reading your articles and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. I prefer real ales more than the wider accepted interpretation of what “Beer” is, but I appreciate that real ales are typically better known in the UK, although I have been satisfied by some of the microbrewery offerings during visits to the US. Anyway, please accept me as a member to The Worshipful Ancient Order of Froth Blowers.
Of course I immediately responded welcoming Jon to the fold. Sad, to relate, however, I was forced to add a qualification with regard to the official club headgear as follows:
Hi Jon – you are the first to respond so you are right at the top of the list. Note that you have to buy your own Beanie hat (unless we start charging $1000 a month membership fee, in which case you get the hat for free :-) Welcome aboard – now there are two of us – and it’s your turn to buy the next round :-)
And Jon's response soon came winging its way back to me over the Internet:
Hi Max, Wow, it’s great to get on board so early. My task for the weekend is to search for my Beanie hat. Also, I’ve persuaded a few colleagues to request membership too, so I’ll encourage them to do the same. Every Thursday is pub lunch day for us, so we’ll raise the flag to the Froth Blowers. I’d certainly get the next round. In fact as founder of WAOFB, you’d not have to put your hands in your pockets all evening!
As you can imagine, the final sentence certainly caught my eye – it's a shame that 3,000 miles separates us. The thing is that, after several months of silence, I just received a follow-up email from Jon, who said:
We have finally got all of us together and taken a photo at our work’s local “The Star” in Wotton under Edge enjoying a pint of the clear frothy stuff. Three of us could be bothered to modify our propeller hats to have motors which have been salvaged from scrap equipment (video recorders make great donors), whereas one of our number claimed he was far too busy working to achieve such a feat of engineering…
From left to right: Jon Fuge, Ceri Brown, Rob Lindley,
and – last but definitely most – Dan ("Dark Matter") Kasht.
Well, a finer body of men you could not hope to meet. I look forward to one day visiting the Star Inn and raising a glass or three of the landlord's finest foaming ale with this noble company. I also have to say that the Star Inn is a beautiful 17th Century Coaching Inn that's located in the charming country town of Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, tucked away under the Southern edge of the Cotswolds. The Star Inn is known far and wide for its magnificent selection of cask ales and its tremendous atmosphere. The reason I have to say this (in addition to the fact it's true) is that Jon casually dropped into our conversation the following words of hope: "If you could mention “The Star” in a blog, they might stretch to a free pint for us."
These are indeed words worthy of a true-blooded member of The Worshipful Ancient Order of Froth Blowers (the thought that I am setting my mark on the world in this way makes me proud and brings a little tear to my eye). All I can say is that if any truth and justice remain in the world, the landlord of the Star Inn should shower our friends with a cornucopia of beer. If not, well "Le stylo (de ma tante) est plus puissante que l'épée!"
as the French would say … at least this is what they would say if – like me – they were using Google to translate "The pen (of my aunt) is mightier than the sword!"
(I look forward to reporting a happy outcome from Jon and his companions in a future blog.)
But we digress… I mentioned Jon and his friends (and showed their picture) to my chum Adam Taylor
, who also hails from England and whom I promised stewardship of the English branch of The Worshipful Ancient Order of Froth Blowers. As quick as a whippet (and twice as good looking), Adam responded as follows:
They have not paid the subscription fee to me as the head of the UK chapter; kindly send them the invoice.
Ah Ha! I thought, and replied thusly:
You haven’t even gotten around to purchasing your official hat yet – they've motorized theirs!
This sparked a flurry of new emails in which suggestions were made that – in order to satisfy the dictates of 21st century fashion – our club hats should really embody some level of wireless capability such that the propellers would speed up and lights would flash when in close proximity to other members.
And that’s when things started to get silly…
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