I was at a baseball game last week. Nationls versus Mets. Citi Field. I like to get there a little early so the crowd was still thin. I’m not sure why I find watching baseball players do mindless stretching so peaceful, but I enjoy it.
My row is empty until a guy gripping a 25 oz. can of Bud Light enters and sits about five seats away from me.
A few minutes pass. I eat some popcorn. He drinks his beer. On the field, Bryce Harper pretends to care about preparing for a game he probably cares even less about.
It’s a peaceful coexistence.
Bud Light Guy finally breaks the silence. He stands up, looks at me, and utters a sentence I’v enever heard from a stranger before.
“Will you watch my beer?”
Of course I say yes. Why not? Not like I’ve got anything else going on. “Oh man. I totally would but I uh…I’ve actually got plans for the next ten minutes. Supposed to get drinks with that hot dog vendor walking by. I’d bail but I’ve already bailed on him like, three times.”
It made me stop and think. Has anyone ever asked me to watch their beer before? A friend? Probably. Girlfriend? Maybe not in so many words, but it was probably implied. But never before has a person I didn’t previously know trust me with beverage protection.
Is it possible this could go wrong?
I started running through the possible scenarios in my head. Here’s what I came up with:
He leaves for a few minutes then returns without incident, thanking me for my service
The most likely outcome.
He never returns
Much like the ill-prepared parent leaving their baby in a basket on the front step of a fire station, it was also possible I had just adopted myself a Bud Light.
Someone comes by and drinks his Bud Light
Unlikely. Who’s going to trust a random beer, just sitting there? I know beers at sporting events are expensive. But if you can afford a ticket for a seat, you can afford a beer that contains zero percent of someone else’s backwash. This scenario does raise the possibility of another one:
Someone mugs me then drinks his Bud Light
This is my first trip to Citi Field. Who knows if there are roving gangs of hooligans, patrolling Section 123 right behind the visitor’s dugout?
I drink his Bud Light
If he’s only gone for 5-10 minutes? This one isn’t happening. But a half hour? Hour? I’m going to assume something’s gone horribly wrong then toast in your honor.
I pick up his Bud Light to drink it, decide not to, and am then rewarded for my integrity by the Budweiser Corporation’s version of Willy Wonka
Maybe the whole thing is a morality test, organized by an eccentric benefactor? Let’s call him Buddy Budweiser. He pops up behind me wearing a red suit with a red top hat. The words KING OF BEERS sewn into the back of his jacket. After giving me the keys to the factory and saying I’ll inherit it when he dies, we then leave the stadium in a glass elevator ship. That was how Willy Wonka ended, right? It’s been years.
The actual ending of this story was a scenario I hadn’t even considered:
He came back without incident about ten minutes later, sat down, and didn’t thank me
Hey man. I was responsible for the safety of your beverage. Anything happens to that thing? You’re down $11.50 with nothing to show for it. Not even a buzz.
I almost leaned over and said to him, “You’re welcome. And if Buddy Budweiser is listening, I want it noted for the record no attempt to drink the beer was made” just to see him get confused.