Thursday, March 5, 2009

TMI Thursday: Free Beer Every 30 to 45 Minutes

It's TMI Thursday my friends. For more stories that will entertain and disgust you at the same time to to LiLu's place for this week's full list. And now, on to the fun!

As I looked back through my TMIs I realized many of them come from my time in the Marine Corps. There is a reason for this, and it’s not because Marines are stupid. I’d say we just had a healthy appetite to explore the unknown.

We also liked free stuff. People’d think when you live for free in the barracks – generally a two-man room perhaps a little larger than your average dorm room – and eat for free in the Mess Hall – again, about on par with your average college dining hall – you wouldn’t really need anything else. Not true, not true at all.

Most of us had to make payments on cars we couldn’t afford. And then there were the tattoos, just one of these little beauties could eat up a whole month’s disposable income (including some of what you needed for your car payment, but meh, you can make that up next month, right?)

So the truth is when the chance for something free comes along, especially free beer, if there’s Marines around you should probably watch out since there’s going to be a rush to the bar.

The setting for our little story is the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center at a place called Pickle Meadows in Bridgeport, Calif. At the end of a row of tents where the units live during their six-week mountain and winter warfare training rotations, is a Quonset hut housing what used to be called a slop chute.

The name of this slop chute was the Pickle Bunker – they even had a cute little logo with a pickle in a machine gun bunker. The fare proffered by this humble establishment was, well, humble. One tap with two heads poured the regular and light versions of an American brew, usually Bud or Miller, and if you were lucky the fridge might have a frozen burrito or pizza for sale.

But the really special part of the Pickle Bunker was the grey Rubbermaid tub located just below the beer taps. There was no drain system under the taps of the Pickle Bunker like in yer fancier joints, so the overflow and foam created while beers were poured was just spilled into the tub.

Kinda like this one:

Depending on the intensity level of training that day – ranging from the merely sadistic to things the Founding Fathers didn’t even dream of when they wrote about prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment for criminals, let alone training for servants of the government – the tub would fill up with a gallon or two of beer about every 30 to 45 minutes.

Being resourceful young Marines with few liquid assets available, the leap from “tub of piss-warm beer foam and spillover” to “free beer” was microscopic and virtually instantaneous.

When the free beer reached the rim, the tub was gently and carefully removed from beneath the taps – we didn’t want to spill any of the free beer – carried in front of the bar and anyone who wanted some free beer was welcome to partake.

Of course, since the tub was kinda wiggly, as Rubbermaid tubs tend to be when filled with a liquid, we decided it probably wasn’t a good idea to try to pour the free beer into mugs. You'd spill more than you'd drink.
And, seriously, who wants free beer from a tub everyone and their brother’s been dipping their dirty mugs into?

The simplest solution was, as usual, the most obvious: why even bother with mugs when you can just bend over, stick your face fully in the beer and drink to your heart’s content.

As long as you could hold your breath, you could drink to your fill and never have to pay a dime.


LiLu said...

What's a little oral herpes among friends?

Who am I kidding. I would have gone in there face-first. Or maybe with a crazy straw...

Hannah said...

Hmm, leftover beer runoff! Yum! Yes, I am being sarcastic! :P LOL. I guess the Marines have cast iron stomachs.

LBluca77 said...

Anything that involves free beer then sign this girl up.

FoggyDew said...

LiLu - We were all healthy, strapping young lads, no threat of disease there. Well, maybe that one guy...

Hannah - Abs of steel they were, one and all.

LBluca - Interesting historical note: The first Marine recruiting bonus in 1775? Free beer.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about the end of the night bar mat shot. A wonderful culmination of various liquors in one free shot!

FoggyDew said...

jp - OK, I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. There are very frew things on my list of things I wont' do. That, however, sounds very much like it would be on the list.

cavy said...

hi i'm new :) i stopped over from lemmonex. i second lilu with the crazy straw idea. as long as i get the squiggly red one, no one gets hurt.

Titania said...

First time here too... Like the straw idea and... are you sure this was not part of the training program? you know, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger

FoggyDew said...

Cavy - Welcome!! We'll reserve a squiggly red straw just for you...but do you really need it if you're face-down in a vat of beer? That just seems excessive.

Titania - Welcome as well! Two new visitors in one day, how special I feel. I'd call it more of a morale-building exercise. The more beer we had in that amazingly beautiful, but seriously so far from everything that makes the world a place worth living in, the better we felt. I was only there for two months, I really felt for the guys stationed up there permanently. But as Animal Mother said in Full Metal Jacket, "Better you than me."