by Chuck Bell
I saw a most depressing sight in the liquor store a few years ago, and since it bothers me to this day I have decided to go public with it. A sign proclaimed that effective January 1, 1991, the venerable "stbby" beer bottle would no longer be valid with returns.
The news stunned me, and I spent some time staring at the sign. So much time in fact, that an old man with a strange gleam in his eye (and even stranger drool on his chin) seized the opportunity to claim my empties as his own and ensure himself another liquid lunch. Beer: it's not just for breakfast anymore....
That didn't upset me too much, though, as I knew where he lived, having spent many an inebriated afternoon debating the finer points of Aristotle with him in the dumpster. I was too concerned with the demise of the stubby to voice much protest.
Now granted, the stubby had been discontinued by the larger breweries for some time now, but I still harboured some secret hope that out there somewhere was a micro brewery determined to preserve a piece of Canadiana. For that is precisely what the stubby is: a part of Canada -- as much so as the Hockey Night in Canada theme, or sticking your tongue to a frozen door knob.
Who doesn't identify with the Roman empire the rows upon rows of amphoræ dredged up in shipwrecks so often featured in the pages of National Geographic? It is my firm belief that, centuries from now, the Canada of the twentieth century will come to be symbolized by the noble stubby.
Even the Yanks, the people we love to whine about (our second favorite national pasttime -- after electing incompetents to office) thought we were wise to keep one standard shape in an effort to improve recycling efforts. Certainly in this age of environmental awareness, it seems prudent.
And there is another reason I mourn the passing of my little brown friend: can there be a better symbol for a country that so prides itself on its non-aggressive nature than a beer bottle that is of absolutely no use in a bar fight ? (Pasttime #3, by the way.)
An artictic analysis wil further reveal the subtle strengths of the noble stubby. There are asymmetrical "twist-off" ridges to disfigure the lip of the bottle, and the curvaceous slope is almost Rubenesque in its lush roundness. Sadly, the current (and aberrant, in my view) taste for slim "wimmen" has flodded over into another area I hold dear, and John Barleycorn now comes packaged in a container unworthy of him and his followers.
I like to think of myself as an average Canadian, which means that I have seen so much happen to this countyr in the last few years that nothing surprises me anymore. Additional "bollps 'n' Blunders" on the part of our politicians only adds to the sinking sensation already in my stomach or the wet feeling in my trousers. There comes a time, however, when individuals have to stand up for the things they believe in. My time is now. It;s time to stand up and be counted. Time to be a man, a myth, a legume!!
Bring back the stubby.
Originally published by Under the Ozone Hole Number Six – November, 1993