Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Knitting quilts for homeless vets

I always feel like a failure when I resort to sarcasm in response to any question from the family innocents who should by now know everything about me and my recreations.

But that’s what happened this spring when I was departing for a weekend with some cheerful reprobates I’ve known for decades.

She wanted to know what we’d be doing the weekend, and she asked it in a business-like way that indicated to me she expected us to have an itinerary, goals, profit margins and ultimately some tangible results for my time.

So I blurted out: “Oh, we’re going to spend the weekend knitting quilts for homeless vets.”

Not my finest moment.

But how would it have sounded if I’d have said, “Well, we’re going to find a dark, divey bar with a really good jukebox, a friendly bartender and then we’re going to spend the next 10 hours drinking beer and laughing at stories we’ve all told or heard about 200 times. The result of all this wanton sloth is we’ll probably produce eight skull-pounding hangovers that lead to a spike in our communal need for hour-long naps in quiet places where we hope loved ones like you can’t find us and make us feel ashamed for acting like the boys we’ve always been.”

So now “Knitting quilts for homeless vets” has become code for spending multiple hours getting all tipsy in a local tavern.

I mention this because my friend Quinn is visiting tonight and we plan on knitting quilts for homeless vets.

And I’m not ruling that out. When you think about it, there’s really nothing to prevent us from learning to knit. 

Drinking beer hour after hour doesn’t occupy the hands all that much. I pick up the beer glass, take a sip and then set the glass back on the bar coaster. The whole process takes maybe four seconds. The rest of the time my hands are basically unemployed.

Just like the rest of me!

I can’t imagine knitting is all that difficult. I mean it’s something even grannies do and I can kick granny’s ass — unless maybe my reflexes are so slowed by decades of inebriation that granny disables me by jabbing a knitting needle in my eye.

 When you think about it, bar knitting is something that might really catch on.

Quinn, in fact, owns a great bar in Columbus. It’s Little Rock. Why Little Rock? ‘cause every great bar needs at least a Little Rock. 

Quinn is an old college roommate and one of my most relentlessly entertaining friends. Here’s a 1:33 YouTuber of him literally singing my praises and me reciprocating with a snippet of his song “Die Trying” from the Los Gravediggers album, “Get a New Ghost.”

He’s adept at corrupting names of popular businesses or programs so they sound vaguely dirty — Holiday Quinn! The Quinnocence Project! Quinntoxication!

His goal, of course, is to cajole women of loose morals to consider his worthiness. It works more than you might think, which to me hints that the women of Columbus are less virtuous than the women from, say, Latrobe.

And if my family ever declares they’ve had enough of my quilt-knitting ways, my plan is to head straight to Columbus and become Little Rock’s premier blogger.

Maybe this evening I’ll suggest initiating a bar knitting night to him.  Or maybe not.

We’ll have bigger things on our minds.

The Saturday NYTimes op-ed page featured an Arthur Brooks essay headlined: “Loneliness is Tearing America Apart.” His lead: “America is suffering from an epidemic of loneliness.”

He says half of all Americans admit to feelings of loneliness or being “left out.” It says the result of so much statistical loneliness is an America prone to depression, opioid dependency, and things like angry politics.

It makes me sad, especially when supportive camaraderie can be found in so many neighborhood churches, rec centers, gyms and other places where your neighbors go to defeat the scourge of loneliness. 

It’ll be happening tonight, for sure, at at least one small town bar near Latrobe.

The Quinn Lizzy!

I may say we’ll be out knitting quilts for homeless vets, but you know better. This is bigger than that.

We’re saving America.

One beer at a time.

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Anonymous said...

Bar knitting is already a thing. See for example the Drunken Knitwits, who have chapters in Oxford, Cambridge, Boston, Philadelphia, Manchester, Melbourne, Brisbane, off the top of my head. And are by no means the only knitting groups that regularly meet in bars!

Anonymous said...

Knitting in bars is a great thing, many grannies do so. If I am ever near a Latrobe bar I will teach you and your mates how to knit. There are hero sized knitting needles and yarn that would make quilts suitable for a homeless vet. Tell Quinn that knitting is a good way of impressing interesting women.

Chris Rodell said...

Thank you for your comments, my anonymous friends. I don't think I have the motivational initiative to start the bar knitting, but who knows! Grateful to you both for pointing it out!