fiction

Why Must Must It Be 5 O’clock Somewhere?

skateboardersThe boy’s dark hair sticks out every which way from his scalp, which I quickly determine is an intentional style, as opposed to an extreme case of bed head. But what really stands out is his t-shirt, which announces in very bold letters that, IT MUST BE 5 O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE!

What is the meaning of this shirt? Does it refer to the obvious elation that someone feels at the end of a workday, when it’s time to get a cold beer (or insert drug of choice here)? Is it a reference to the notion that life is short, so just pretend that it’s 5 o’clock somewhere (no matter that it’s really 11 a.m. where you are) and go ahead and have that martini (or bowlful of hash) right now. If that’s the case, it lady with drinkmight be more appropriate if this teenager wore a shirt that announced, I’M IRRESPONSIBLE AND I DON’T CARE.

I see the same shirt on a man of a certain age, sitting on a bench at the mall. I look at the white haired man with the deep lines on his leathery face, and I think he’s wishing that the EARLY BIRD SPECIAL (also known in Florida as the witching hour) should begin right now. I would put him in the shirt that says I RETIRED SO I COULD SPEND MY CHILDREN’S INHERITANCE. Or, SENIOR CITIZEN -- GIVE ME MY DAMN DISCOUNT.

I want to introduce the two of them so that they can begin to appreciate the two sides of the coin. Who knows, maybe the senior will buy junior dinner at Applebees’ early bird special, and junior will spring for a couple of beers. I can almost man in hathear that conversation.

“Listen, sonny, don’t be in such a hurry to drink that beer, or one day you’ll be lined up for early bird special, trying to keep your pants up. Though by the looks of things, you’re having troublekeeping your pants up now.”

“Funny pops, but let me tell you something. I don’t want any early bird specials, and I certainly don’t want to be sitting around when I’m retired, thinking about the times I could have been drinking myself stupid.”

“Well, sonny, if that’s your goal, you’re halfway there. And by the way, I’m not retired. I’m too old to work and too young to die. At the rate you’re going, you’ll probably beat me to the cemetery.”

“Okay, pops. Have it your way. You’ve been around the block 100 times more than me. Pass me the ketchup, will you. Wanna another beer?”

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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