Over the weekend, in a gesture to say thank you and almost certainly goodbye to Cubs fans, Jon Lester offered to buy everyone a Miller Lite at four bars on the Northside of Chicago. Apparently, a good portion of people took him up on the offer, as Lester’s tab ran to $31K, and thankfully Lester put up a 34 percent tip on top of that, taking his tab total to $47K. As bars and restaurants were shut down from indoor dining as well this past weekend to combat the pandemic spiking in the city, it’s a warm gesture and brought a smile to some patrons and servers and staff who probably needed it.
But Jon, as much as I love you for being the best free-agent signing in Cubs history (I know, I can’t believe anyone beat out Eric Karros either) and being an absolute pillar for the 2016 world champs, I just have to ask… if you were going to blow tens of thousands of dollars on suds, couldn’t you buy everyone a decent brew?
Even if you’re not from Chicago, if I told you that all four of these bars were on Division St., you’d know exactly what types of bars these are. And you know that the patrons there are probably already drinking Miller Lite, as they’re not far removed at all from buying 30-racks of them for their Big Ten frat house. Lesson for anyone moving to Chicago anytime soon, or having just done so: Any bar that has a Michigan State flag outside of it is a secret level of hell and no less than 75 percent of the male patrons in there have Rohypnol on their person. Science fact.
These bars are basically the nexus of everything that’s wrong in this country today, filled with young, white, affluent, aloof dickbags who know all the words to no more than two Lizzo songs and also think every societal problem is just an obstacle to their fantasy football team’s performance. It’s at these bars that Travis will meet Karen, and they’ll get engaged eight months later because they can’t figure out what else to do, and their wedding pictures will be their Facebook profile picture until the day they can replace that with pictures of their boring and surprisingly weird-looking kids Cavan and Imogen. And after those two mouths are born, that’s when they get protective of their property values and schools, that is if they don’t fuck off to Winnetka for “safety” because a Black guy happened to walk down the street once, and support all the policies that keep this city, and many like it, segregated and catering to them only.
So I understand that these people don’t care whether it’s a free Miller Lite or a decent beer from a local brewery that could use the boost much more. They don’t see the difference. Jon Lester hasn’t put much more thought into beer than I have into The Masked Singer, and he hangs out in places where that’s true of everyone there.
But still, any one of the plethora of wonderful local breweries here could have used the publicity, and maybe, more importantly, getting a free Apex Predator from Off Color, or a Dynamo from Metropolitan, or a Blonde from Begyle might have opened just one of the beautiful people’s eyes and world. Maybe they could have seen there’s more to the world than the beer you can drink most of before pissing on your girlfriend’s curtains, or SNL hosted by John Mulaney, or simply taking a job at dad’s friend’s brokerage. And in there, in that awakening, real change is possible. Nothing will change in this place if we don’t start demanding better than mass-produced bilge that just happens to be cheapest and available and the most marketed. We can be more. We have to be more.
Fuck, you could have made it a decent cheap beer, Jon! A Coors Banquet or High Life or even local treasure like goddamn Old Style! You don’t have to rock the designer shit! But Miller Lite? Saying Miller Lite is your favorite beer is saying your favorite food is Burger King or your favorite band is Bon Jovi. Not only is it a lost opportunity, but there are superior low-level options within reach. You’re settling for dung and calling it a gift.
I recognize that Jon comes from a place where they don’t really care about the beer past it being open and cold. And I’m sure there’s a long treatise about how Southerners could find an accord with the yuppies from the North they mock and hate so much in that they both drink the same swill and deride those who actually care about their beer. But that’s for someone else to do.
And let’s face it, you can get a free Miller Lite anytime you want. Just run a ladle into your toilet. This was a lost opportunity.