The other night I saw into the future. It happened as I was enjoying a nice cold Heineken. Normal night. I kept flicking the glass with my finger, as I usually do that when having a beer. Typically, I keep doing it until my fingernail starts to ring with pain, at which point I’d either stop or switch to a different finger. But the other night? I kept going with my pointer finger, and was soon rewarded with a bit of an epiphany.
The self-inflicted finger-pain got me thinking more and more about the glass-quality of the bottle. I realized I was minutes away from dropping a perfectly not-broken glass bottle into the recycling bucket. For empty beer bottles, the recycling bucket is like the Mortal Kombat spike pit—you’re finished, pal! Fatality. Yes, a bottle condemned to the bucket will some day be reincarnated as a new kind of glass product—possibly even another beer bottle, I have no idea how the recycling process works—but no matter what happened it would never again be the proud bottle it once was.
Why even throw it out?, I started to wonder. It’s such a nice polished glass receptacle. Not like its been partially melted or something. Not like there’s a crack in it. The thing clearly has plenty of good solid workin’ years left in it. If it’s not in the prime of its life—which would be before it was ever opened in the first place, I suppose—it’s not far off from those glory days. It’s still got beer in it, for crying out loud!
I started to think about all the drinking glasses in my kitchen cabinet. Whole sets of Ikea-type standard drinking glasses, some big, some small. Some that you want to fill up with milk and just marvel at the solid column of whiteness, some that you want to pour a little rum in and pretend you’re one of the Mad Men. All of these glasses paid for with real money. When one of them breaks? An identical-ish replacement must be bought.
“…the practice of buying 12-packs of beer, drinking them one by one and then throwing them out one by one, is just completely asinine.”
Are these magic glasses in my cabinet? Do they somehow clean themselves or something? Do they show you weird blurry images of the future? No. They do nothing but dumbly contain liquids! They must be washed and scrubbed and dried and all that. Nothing special about any of those glasses when you compare them to my soon-to-be-put-to-pasture bottle of Heineken. Well, okay, drinking glasses are wide-mouthed; they’re far easier to refill than a bottle would be. But I’m talking about a future world where everybody has some kind of tube machine that can easily get your orange juice into an empty beer bottle. Let’s pretend the refilling problem is handled, please.
I flicked my bottle again. I could almost see the buzzing ripples of pain oscillate up my finger. Like the building in the Matrix when Trinity smashed into it. I continued on with my train of thought: Is beer bottle glass the same exact type of glass that’s used in drinking glasses? Is it lower quality somehow? Would it turn into a deadly bacteria factory if you used it more than once? Screwing the nice cool tread of the bottle’s base into my palm, I really didn’t think so.
What I concluded that night, and still kinda believe, is that the practice of buying 12-packs of beer, drinking them one by one and then throwing them out one by one, is just completely asinine. You just threw out twelve perfectly good potential drinking glasses! And you’re going to buy more soon enough—and then throw them out too!
“The bottleneck’s not the problem—it’s the solution!”
When you go to a bar, what would you rather have, a bottle or a glass? If you’re smart, you’d always pick the bottle. When some drunk dude bumps into you, the beer in the bottle doesn’t go anywhere. It just splashes around in the safety of the bottle. Not so with the drinking glass. The beer in the drinkin’ glass goes all over your shirt and you smell like a frat house for the rest of the night. When you’re out there on the dance floor making a complete ass of yourself? If you’re a bottle drinker, you can dance and drink at the same time. Glass drinkers have to put their glass down somewhere, and when they come back for it later there’s freaking gum in it.
Man, that bottle was one hell of a wing man, wasn’t it? Yet what did you do with it at the end of the night? Did you put it in your pocket and bring it home for drinking orange juice later? No. You flung it drunkenly at a parked police patrol car and ran away cackling like a witch. Nice one.
Could it be that glass bottles are an underrated, underappreciated receptacle from which to drink your liquids? Not just beer. Any liquids (provided you have some kind of tube machine with which to easily refill and/or clean the bottle, as mentioned earlier). You can run around the house while drinking your fruit punch. You can drink vitamin water while you’re wrestling the dog.
That empty beer bottle you’re about to toss in the recycle bin is, quite possibly, a masterpiece of glass receptacle technology. Why not let’s stop being to wasteful, Readers! Let’s take the idea of “recycling” our glass bottles to a whole new level. Perhaps the day will come when children frolic about in fields of hay w/ beer bottles of orange juice in their hands. Can you hear their laughter and glee? I can. It’s right over there, just over the horizon—the future.