A Suburban Dad's Guest Blog: How do you know when beer is too much a part of your life?

By Rick Kaempfer

But I have to admit, I also thought: Oooh, you know who would really love that? My son.
My eight year old son.
Let me explain.
Sean collects bottle caps.
Beer bottle caps.
My wife was horrified immediately after this collection began, but I must admit, I thought it was funny at first. Plus, it was actually kind of nice to have an occasional beer brought to me without asking for it. It was even good for a few laughs when we had friends over.
"Oh, you've really got him trained, don't you?"
"He's collecting bottle caps," I would explain.
My wife gave me a disapproving look each time, but I wasn't concerned. It's not like anyone believed he was drinking the beer himself. I collected beer cans when I was a kid, which was a rather popular trend in the 70s. I considered his bottle cap collection the same sort of thing. As far as I was concerned, it was totally innocuous.
On the other hand, I hadn't anticipated that his collection would accumulate at such an alarming rate. Soon, whenever he brought out his huge collection to proudly display for friends and relatives, I felt compelled to add: "He didn't get all of those from me."
Unfortunately, the way he got the rest of them has become a bit of a problem. Upon entering a new home, his first destination is often the refrigerator. One day we went to visit my mother, and he not only went into her refrigerator, he said these words as he did so...
"Hey, what kind of beer you got?"
The look on my mother's face that day, in addition to the look on my wife's face the following day when we found him rifling through the garbage for bottle caps at my sister's house, has convinced me that maybe beer has become too much a part of our lives.
That, and his behavior at Binny's. He loves coming in the store with me and cruising the microbrew section. We had a typically embarrassing exchange the other day.
"Dad, looks like they're importing a new one from Oregon!"
I wouldn't make eye contact with the other customers, but I felt their disapproving glares.
"What kind of a beer is it?" I asked quietly.
"It's a long word," he answered. "I can't read it. But it's an IPA."
That's normal, right? All eight year olds can identify types of beer before they can read the labels, right? 
Don't look at me that way. I can feel your disapproving glare too.

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