Good old-fashioned nonsense

I like anything better if it’s old-fashioned. Sometimes I’ll go to the grocery store to buy a soda. If I’m in the mood for root beer, I’ll always pick the bottle that says it’s the old-fashioned kind of root beer. The new-fashioned kind is, in my experience, disgusting. A while ago I bought a gallon of Turkey Hill iced tea because it proudly described itself on the bottle as “cold-fashioned.” At the time, I thought this was extremely clever. It had the term old-fashioned in it, which I like, and it also got the word cold in there, which, when dealing with iced tea, I also like. I also really enjoy wordplay, so as far as purchasing this particular brand of soft drink, this seemed like a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, by the time I got home from the grocery store, my plastic jug of iced tea wasn’t so cold anymore. I was a little disappointed, but also really thirsty, so I poured myself a glass. I figured, maybe it would taste cold even if it wasn’t actually cold. Maybe that’s what cold-fashioned meant. But it didn’t. It actually tasted pretty gross. I considered popping it in the fridge to cool off, but the room-temperature taste was really stuck in my mouth. It wasn’t agreeing with me at all, and I didn’t think that any amount of actual coldness would ever make me have a favorable opinion about this particular brand of iced tea.

I looked at the label and it was all warped and starting to peel off at the edges. I’m guessing the condensation that formed on the way home from the store had started to deactivate the glue that was keeping the label in place. Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest in the same cold-activated technology that Coors Light uses to make its mountains turn blue? Coors light doesn’t have to deal with any annoying paper labels. And you can be assured that when the can says cold, it’s actually cold, because it’s cold activated. If Turkey Hill doesn’t want to spend too much money on a whole cold-activated label, that’s understandable, but it really doesn’t have to break the bank. It only has to print just the letter C of cold-fashioned in cold-activated ink. That can’t cost too much, definitely a lot cheaper than printing a whole cold-activated label. This way if it’s left outside of the fridge, it will just say old-fashioned instead of cold-fashioned. But it’s too late. I’m never buying it ever again.

Whenever I go to a bar, I always order an old-fashioned. But I must go to some pretty underclass bars, because the bartenders never know how to make one. I keep meaning to look up how to make it, so the next time a bartender uses ignorance as an excuse, I can instruct him on how to mix one. But I keep forgetting to look it up. One time I asked for an old-fashioned and the bartender told me he could make me one, kind of, but he didn’t have any bitters. “Would that be OK?” he asked me. But honestly, I had no idea what he was talking about, so I ordered a Coors Light instead. As cold as the Rockies.

I always like anything that says old-fashioned, but with one exception: I hate anything that labels itself as old-fashioned family fun. In my experiences, this is just a somewhat clever way of tricking people into thinking something will be fun, but it’s actually going to be super, super boring. One time my family was vacationing up in Massachusetts, and we all decided that we’d like to go bowling. So we looked online for a bowling alley, and two results popped up. One of the results was a regular bowling alley, but the other place offered something called candlepin bowling.

“Candlepin Bowling: Good Old-Fashioned Family Fun!” it read on the search engine. Of course we picked what we thought would be the better experience, the old-fashioned experience. But we got there and, right away we should have known that this was going to be a terrible experience. The whole place smelled like one of those rinky-dink carnivals that travel through town every summer. But it didn’t smell like the carnival in general, which, while it smells all-around awful, every once in a while the badness is offset by a pleasant whiff of a fresh zeppole or popcorn, which makes it smell not as bad. No, this smelled like the inside of the Gravitron, the concentrated stink of you leaning back against the foam seat and it’s still sort of wet from the sweat of the countless people who got stuck to it before you.

Candlepin bowling is just like real bowling, except the ball is really small, the pins are really narrow and impossible to hit, and even though you get multiple turns within a frame, there is no machine that picks up the already knocked down pins, so you have to bowl around these unnecessary obstacles. There was also no arcade, no concessions, and no automatic scoring. Nobody knew how to score, so we all just kind of stood around, bored, taking turns not really knowing what we were supposed to be doing. (I wrote down 300 on the score pad after each of my turns. Nobody else looked amused, but I thought it was hilarious.) As far as old-fashioned things go, this was a rare miss.

Actually, I’m trying to think of something else that’s better when it’s old-fashioned, but I can’t really think of anything. Old-fashioned dentistry: terrible. Old-fashioned Internet: what, like AOL? That was the worst. Maybe I meant to start this out by writing, “I like everything better if it’s new-fashioned.” Yeah, that makes much more sense. Just start reading this whole thing over, and in your mind, replace old-fashioned with new-fashioned and vice versa. It might get a little confusing with that whole cold-fashioned part, but just keep going. And if you don’t think it’s funny or interesting, just force yourself to smile and laugh, because I really do believe that if you do it for long enough, part of you will start to think that you’re actually enjoying yourself. See? I’m sure you’re feeling better already.