Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Begging For Free Bourbon

by | Jun 9, 2023 | Humor | 0 comments

Having fun with writing outside of writing

“Write every day, even if it’s just an email.” The published author told the eager group of wannabe novelists and essayists at the Southern California Writers’ Conference.

“Fuck emails. Where is my advancement?” It was probably what someone less sophisticated than me thought. Okay, fine, it was me. It wasn’t as crass as that but a version of it. Then I brought the back of my hand to my forehead and, as a damsel in distress, thought, “I don’t want to exist in the world anymore. I just want to write in a dark corner.”

As I continued my journey as a writer, I realized that not every single act of art or writing is destined for glory, fame, or clicks. Art should also be mundane and help us fill all the moments we have in a long life with beauty, wonder, and awe, and if not with that, at least with some chuckles.

So she was right. It is fun to see what else you can do with your writing, even if it doesn’t end up being something you can use as material you publish later — which is, of course, not the case here since I’m clearly using something I wrote to show it to you.

Before the pandemic, I decided that every year I would celebrate my birthday by throwing a party for myself that included three things I love and that start with the letter B: Barbecue, Bourbon, and Blues. But I only did it once in 2018, and I couldn’t make it happen the next year, and then the pandemic happened, and the world as we know… zzz… snore.

This past winter had been brutal. My wife read somewhere that toddlers going to daycare catch between eight and ten viruses a year. I did not believe her and thought somehow that my family would be the exception because of genetic superiority due to being what some genealogist call “a mutt.”

I am often wrong, but holy shit, was I wrong. So when I got a break from the viruses, and the sun was finally peaking from the despair-inducing darkness and void of winter, I decided to throw a party for my birthday. I did not have the energy. I did not have the time. I did not have my wife’s initial support. All I had was a desire to break free from the cycle of disease and celebrate the beginning of spring. So I was going to bring Barbecue, Blues and Bourbon Back, Baby!

Here is where I had fun with my writing. First, I had to invite people. So here is the invite:

If the winter kicked you in the ass the way it did to us, then you owe it to yourself to come out to our cozy backyard and celebrate St. Patty’s, Spring Forward, late-stage capitalism, leprechauns, the end of winter, the end of the world, Spring Equinox, the patriarchy, the matriarchy, the proboscis monkey and its ugly nose finally going extinct, #metoo, YouTube and iTunes, and of course, my birthday.

Barbecue, Bourbon, and Blues is Back, Baby!!! (or Barboublubaba — accent on the first Ba — or BBBBB, or 5Bs) and it is just what the doctor recommended, and by doctor, I mean me; I am your doctor. Excuse me, I’m sorry, where are my manners? I meant to say I am BETTER than your doctor!

So come for the meat, stay for the bourbon, sink into the blues.

Floral prints, Panama hats, green clothes, and/or jockstraps highly recommended.

“Don’t let ’em sumbitches hold you down!!! Vive la résistance!” -Ghandi.

That invitation was a total hit. How do I know? Nobody responded to it, which I typically credit to people being completely blown away by how amazing I am. It is easy to keep writing when you think that silence and lack of notoriety equals success.

Once that email was sent out, I thought, “That was fun. Where else can I have fun with this?” Then, I thought I’d approach local distilleries in my area and ask them for a free bottle of booze in exchange for social media influence.

Of course, the request was a parody of a real influencer’s request. I don’t know why I wanted to write this email. I thought that, at the very least, people would get a chuckle out of it. That is typically what happens when you are constantly scanning the world for things to laugh at, you also end up looking for people to laugh with.

So here is my request:

Good evening fine gentlemen and/or gentlewomen,

I am a big admirer of your whiskey and I wanted to reach out to you with a question.

Would you consider sponsoring my birthday with a bottle of your elixir? The name of this shindig, you ask? “Barbecue, bourbon and blues.” The bourbon is where you come in; you will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the purveyor of this fine patriotic liquid.

Everybody who is a who’s who (in my life) will be there. This will be a mega event hosted in my backyard attended by tens of low tens of my closest family — not all of my family but the ones I love enough to feed — and friends — not all of my friends since my wife’s family is Irish and fertile, and because, I don’t know if you’ve been following the news but, well, inflation.

This will be an opportunity to put your product in the hand of never before heard influencers who will be there.

For example, my mom may make an appearance. She is the biggest influencer in my life. To be clear, she might not bring her chancleta which was her preferred tool for influencing but she will be there for sure… maybe. The tools she uses now for influencing are more sophisticated like Hispanic mom guilt trips and those go with her wherever she goes. Like the wise Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “wherever you go, your mom’s voice is inside your head with you telling she is not upset, she is just disappointed in you.”

Now, you will not be alone in sponsoring this event. You will be in great company with other local distilleries. Granted, they have not responded yet and they don’t know it, but they are going to love sponsoring this event.

What is in it for you?

Well, first and foremost, at a time of unimaginable entitlement, you will have the satisfaction of giving without expecting anything in return.

You are welcome!

However, I’m very generous a man to let you walk away with only indulgent feelings of superior philanthropy and piousness.

No, no, no.

I will take pictures of your bottle by itself and post them on my Instagram, which is filled with important people like scammers, phishers, people I once walked by and waved at while in college, my distant cousins and women from exotic lands sliding into my DM telling me how handsome I am — which is not only true but also technically and objectively accurate.

Don’t worry. The pictures won’t have my knobby and twisted fingers blocking your name. I’ve learned my lessons from my 2019 cider-gate.

I will also write a small description of your whiskey.

My fans say my writing is all the rage. Well, my aunt says that, but she doesn’t speak English, which is the language I write in. The rest of my audience, all 8,000 of them across platforms, won’t say anything since they don’t like, share or comment on my content.

For the description, I will use the technique of comparing the liquor to a person. But only the nice attributes of that person as if in the honeymoon period, and I will refrain from using negative words like bitter, overbearing, or intransigent — even if true.

Also, given your knowledge of the whiskeys, please let me know if you know of one that mirrors my personality, “attention-seeking man-child with undertones of using humor as a maladaptive defense mechanism and peaty hints of Napoleonic complex tendencies and delusions of grandeur. Pairs well with berries, Emmenthal cheese, and awkward banter.”

If this proposal meets with your approval, I will gladly pick up my bottle at your fine establishment at a time that is convenient for you.

Awaiting your kind reply.

Always a fan,


I emailed seven local distilleries. How many people responded, you may wonder? Only one. They didn’t give me a bottle, but they gave me a tasting for two at their tasting room. This was a win for me since I wasn’t expecting anything.

The entire week before the event, I spent the entire time regretting sending that invite because after sending it, we got sick again. I kept asking myself, “Why do I do this to myself?”

In the end, my wife, my mom, my mother-in-law, and I rallied to get everything done, and we did. I was very happy it all came together.

So buy Spirit Works whiskey, visit them at the Barlow in Sebastopol if you are ever in the San Francisco Bay Area, and more importantly, read my shit. I’m always having fun with it. I hope you do, too.

No sigma: (almost daily) ((always short)) (((NEVER long))) Reflections on art, risk, and creative recovery.

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