I looked down. The ground was about a mile away. My best friend Bernie was perched on the branch next to me. We were both twelve years old and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, or bright-tailed and bushy-eyed.
“Betcha you don’t have the guts,” he said, and his fingers tightened fearfully on the trunk.
So much for being my best friend.
Still, though, he was right, I didn’t have the guts. I did have the stupidity, though, so I retorted, “Oh, yeah?” And jumped.
The nice thing about being young and stupid is that you are young and stupid. Young enough to heal quickly. And stupid enough not to realize that a twenty-foot jump out of an oak tree into a three foot pile of hastily assembled leaves could maim you for life, or worse, fill your tidy-whities with grubs, spiders and other nasty beasties who make their homes in leaf piles.
As a guy gets older, he loses the bravery that comes from cluelessness, so he begins to search out other sources of bravado. Or better, ways to reclaim the cluelessness that generally disappears with age and experience.
That’s where beer comes in. It gives you guts. And a gut.
Because if you accumulate enough beer, you accumulate something else called a belly. This belly demonstrates to the world that you possess the guts to do mind-numbingly stupid things like jumping off bridges, bungie jumping, seeing how many cookies you can stuff in your mouth at once, or telling your wife that her new pants make her butt look big.
It also helps turn your body from a lean, mean athletic machine to a bouncy, round mound, a cushioned shape far more suited to protecting vital innards from the results of “ISA,” or Incredible Stupid Acts.
I think that’s where the phrase “intestinal fortitude” comes from. After all, bravery doesn’t come from the act of eating, which is what the intestines are primarily in charge of. Rather, it comes from the beer that travels through six miles of intestines, never stopping for directions, because no self-respecting guy or beer would, then leaping bravely into the blood stream, to travel up to the brain and smother the frontal lobes with an anesthetic alcoholic phog that renders them incapable of protesting or preventing gallant acts of stupidity.
If you see a guy waddling around proudly with a tee-shirt that boasts “I’m with stupid” (with an arrow pointing up at his own face) stretched tightly over a huge taut belly, you know that you’re looking at a guy who’s willing to do anything on a dare, a whim or sheer capriciousness. Especially once prompted with enough ale to numb the senses and diminish brain activity, particularly in that part of the brain concerned with keeping the body alert and healthy.
So if you see a guy like this, hand him a beer and point at a nearby lake, tree, pool balcony, or hill, and say, “Betcha you don’t have the guts…”
The Adventures of Guy ... written by a guy (probably)
coming soon The Next Adventures of Guy ... more wackiness