It was senior year of college, and I was mildly stressing out about who I was going to ask to our Mountain Weekend that year. Should I play it safe and take the solid 7 I had been hooking up with for the past few weeks, or should I risk it and try to land the vivacious little biscuit I had been making eyes with in my communications class? The latter had an incredible set of Ashley Chesters as well as a great, bubbly disposition making her a prime choice. However, the former meant a locked in chance for sexual escapades, which always gives a lady 2 extra points in my book. I soon realized the matter contained too many variables for just one guy to work out, so I decided to seek advice from a buddy of mine, Will. His answer ended up being of the most sage pieces of wisdom I have ever received, though I did not fully grasp this at first.
“Drink a beer about it, man.”
Of course, it being my senior year I posed no argument and grabbed a Keystone from my mini fridge, but I still didn’t understand how this would help me in my plight. “By the time you finish that beer, you’ll either know the answer, or you’ll realize it isn’t a big deal and stop feeling so anxious about it,” he continued casually. I was skeptical at first, but I had already opened the beer so I figured it couldn’t hurt. And I’ll be damned- he was right. By the time I finished that Stone I had come to the conclusion that my date problem really was not as big of a deal as I was making it out to be, so I just picked a broad. It was that easy.
Now, I find myself living and working in rural Tanzania where my problems deal more with trying to distinguish local gin from rubbing alcohol and figuring out what foods can fill my stomach without making my bowel movements resemble used Pennzoil. While there are vast differences between these types of issues, Will’s advice still holds true. Sometimes when facing confusing predicaments, the best thing one can do is to have a beer about it. No problem has ever been fixed by somebody getting all worked up and discombobulated about the issue. Sitting back and taking a moment to think clearly can usually help put things into perspective and enable one to make tough decisions. It doesn’t take long, usually once one has relaxed and let their emotions subside they can make a rational choice in 15 minutes or less. That’s plenty of time finish a beer, even two if you’re ambitious.
I was faced with another manifestation of this brilliance here just a few weeks ago. I got back to our home-office one Monday to discover our security guard had lost a bet with a friend of his over the weekend. He bet his buddy that he knew how to drive a car, which led to him breaking into our office and stealing the keys to one of our company vehicles. Unfortunately, the man, in fact, could not drive a car and proceeded to drive our Rav 4 through the wall of our office.
This then left me carless, meaning I would have to walk to dinner and anywhere else I had to go. Later that evening, I was walking back from the local bar with my regular bag of to-go beers and was almost back to my house. As I’m mid-swig of a Safari Lager, something massive and gray jumping out of the ditch caught my eye. Lowering my beer, I tried to focus in the dark on what I assumed to be a large cow. Once my eyes adjusted, I quickly noticed this wasn’t a cow, but a fucking hippo. This was no small, adolescent hippopotamus either. This was a full grown, roll your goddamn Tahoe like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park-type behemoth.
Luckily, I kept a tight grip on my puckering string or I would have peed my pants right there. Homeboy didn’t keep running, though. Instead, he decided to stop directly between me and my house, turn, and stare me down. Suddenly, my mind began to race with vicious images of Animal Planet, Nat Geo, and whatever Dr. Evil would want to strap to a hippo’s head. I was at an impasse. On the one hand, I did not want to turn my back to the animal because that may be seen as an invitation to charge, mount, or any number of things (I have absolutely no clue when it comes to hippo social cues). On the other hand, I figured walking closer was equally as bad of a decision since that may be considered a threat. As I stood there frozen, staring down this tank of a critter, Will’s voice echoed in my ears. “Drink a beer about it, man,” I heard him say. And I did just that.
Right then and there, I decided the best thing I could do was to finish my beer. Hell, this hippo hadn’t attacked yet and it wasn’t like I could go anywhere since I was frozen in fear. Perhaps by the time my bottle was empty, dude-buddy would get bored with our staring contest and roll back to the lake.
After I had finished just over half of my bronson, it did not appear either of us were planning on moving, although we both seemed a tad more relaxed. Suddenly, I remembered a scene from the childhood staple film Crocodile Dundee where Mick appears to hypnotize a large water buffalo through eye contact and hand motions. This sounded like a terrible idea in my head, but it was the only idea rattling around up there. I did not have any interest in sleeping on the ground outside of my house that night, so I decided to give it the ol’ postgrad try. I slowly made the classic “hang loose” fist with the pinky and thumb out, and made eye contact with the monster in front of me.
Deliberately, I stepped around the hippo, both of us turning to maintain eye contact until I reached my gate. I quickly opened the steel doors and ran inside, where the first thing I did was check the backside of my britches. Upon realizing I had entirely evaded what was sure to be a gruesome evening, I realized how truly lucky I was. It also occurred to me just how brilliant Will’s advice turned out to be. Had I panicked and ran, I may not have lived to be here in my boxers typing this.
Now, I in no way believe my pretending to be Mick Dundee had any effect on the outcome of this evening, nor do I recommend trying it if you are ever in a similar situation. However, if life ever puts you between a rock and a hard place, try to sit and drink a beer about it before rushing towards a rash decision. Some issues in life may just need a deep breath and that first sip to be resolved. Others may take a full beer or twelve. Regardless, don’t argue, and enjoy the much-needed relaxation. You earned it.
So whether you are contemplating a career change, curious as to whether or not your SO is the one, or just trying to stay alive until tomorrow, sit down, take a breather, and crack a cold one. It couldn’t hurt. .
Image via Shutterstock