One fact of life here in Minnesota is the concept of the party. Wherever you live, you probably have something close to the same.
Not a real party, like, “Hot diggity, get you some booze and hot tunes, we’re gonna invite all our friends and rock this joint” party.
No, I’m talking about an organised function where someone has a product, and they invite all their friends and family over for a ‘party’, where the product gets shown around, free samples might get handed out, crafts are done, little snacks are shared… it doesn’t sound all THAT bad, does it?
The only real downsides to these damn things are that you’re inviting your friends and family, and most of them know the idea is that you come over and spend money on shit. The person hosting the party and gathering all these people generally get some kind of kickbacks, the more stuff people buy.
“Hey, come on over to my house this Friday, you can have snacks and buy a few things, and I’ll get free shit.”
If it were presented that way, you’d feel a lot less guilty about saying “No thanks, I have to wash my artificial turf. Big game is only 8 months away, and I want to be ready.”
But no. It’s always, “Hey, do you have anything planned this weekend? No? Well, I’m having a candle party, do you think you’ll be able to come?”
You know the deal. This is a friend or family member inviting you, and you just hit them up for pledges for your son’s Jumprope for Heart Disease marathon or something, and now they’re getting you back. It’s your turn in the barrel.
That’s fine. It’s okay. In fact, it’s nice to have an excuse sometimes.
But here’s my big gripe.
The stuff is rarely shit you actually WANT.
Guys, you know what I’m talking about. Candles. Macrame. Cookware. Tupperware. Dish Soap, for God’s sake.
Dish Soap? Really?
Now, the Girl Scouts have the right idea, but I don’t care WHAT you say, there IS an upper limit on how many Thin Mints and Samoas you can eat at one sitting. And no matter how tasty they are, we need more viable product alternatives than cookies. If all we get are cookies, at some point, you’re gonna look around yourself at the wreckage of empty packages, all sitting there mocking you with their emptiness, and say, “Damn, that was a lot of cookies. I need Jenny Craig.”
It occurred to me today, while discussing the candle party my darling wife will be going to this week, that I feel no draw to go to this thing whatsoever.
It’s a candle.
When I was a kid, one of my favorite stores in the mall was called Wicks & Sticks. They had candles and incense and stuff, but my favorite thing was they were the only store in the entire mall that had neat shit like dragons perched on castles and crystal balls and stuff. They had those massive sculptures of fantastic things, and oh yeah… you could stick a candle inside to make, like, the dragon’s marble eyes glow. Hell yes!
Don’t get all excited. That isn’t what a modern candle party is.
They’re actually, like, candles. I know! Candles sound great, but once you’ve got kids, you realise that more than anything else, what candles are are things that, once lit, BURN SHIT.
I like the basic idea of getting some friends and family together, snacks, a few drinks, have some laughs, and check out some small products that you can order while you’re there. I do.
But how the hell to get the GUYS involved in this? There’s gotta be something you can come up with to get my attention. To capture my interest.
To get a big ‘ol HELL YEAH!
And then I had it.
The product has to be something that you could special order, in lots of different varieties. It’s gotta be something that, sure, you could get locally, but there should be something special about ordering it. Like, you’re looking forward to getting it when it comes in.
And it’s got to be something that you could have at a party, and order, that your wife really wouldn’t be happy about your buying normally, but will allow it because they just dropped $350 on a scrapbooking party lst month and are kinda screwed on the whole balance of trade situation just at the moment.
What’s that? A Wine and Cheese tasting?
You’ve got the right idea, sampling lots of different wines and cheeses and then special ordering stuff, that’s a good idea. Alcohol, cheese, not bad. But waaaay too upscale for my tastes.
What’s that? Beer or whiskey? You’re getting a heck of a lot closer, but the trouble with that is, the draw of such a party would be sampling lots of varieties, and unless you own a liquor store, each manufacturer has their own label, and that’s about it. I don’t see Budweiser getting all excited about sponsoring a beer tasting, unless all you’re tasting are Budweisers.
Not seeing a lot of indies in that kind of mix, you know?
Let’s drill down one more layer. Let’s talk about something that is truly, inherently manly. Something you just DO NOT see women buy all that much as a snack food.
Something with tons of varieties, and ALL of them are good.
That’s right. I’m talking about JERKY.
Guys, the time has come we have a party of our own.
We get a bunch of friends over, we have games to suit the group (RPGs, Illuminati, Poker, I don’t care), we have beer, throw a good movie with explosions up on the big screen, talk shit and sample some jerky.
There’s the meats; turkey, venison, beef, ham, bacon, buffalo, ALLIGATOR… if it’s a meat, there’s a jerky. Bet yer butt.
And the flavors! You’ve got your traditional “it’s smoked, stupid”, you’ve got your black pepper, sweet and hot, teriyaki, maple, hickory wood smoke, cajun spiced, habanero, barbeque…
Admit it. This is a product that almost demands passing around a shitload of little samples while men drink beer and get rowdy.
It’s like the promised land of smoked meat.
I can picture it now, a bunch of guys in a den, beer flowing, loud talk, farting away unrestrained. Freedom.
On the big screen, Red is on, and Bruce Willis is being sardonic while John Malkovich is one crazy son of a bitch.
Everyone is relaxed, a poker game is getting fired up, and from out of the kitchen comes a couple guys with big platters of smoked meats.
“Dig in, you bastards.”
When the smoke clears, the beer is gone and the meat has been devoured, a host of satisfied men are asked, one by one, ‘So, what you want to order, Jim? You went through that Teriyaki Buffalo like a ferret on crack.”
“Shit man, I dunno, I can’t even see straight. What’s the biggest size bag ya got?”
“This is jerky for real men, Jim. We go up to 10 pound bags.”
“Hell yes, sign me up for one of those. And, uh… a couple pounds of the sweet and hot fer the missus.”
I have a dream… a dream that someday soon, men can gather together and eat some damn fine beef jerky, drink some beer, shoot the shit, and when they go home, tell their wives, “Hey, bet I got out of mine cheaper than you got out of yours. How many Tupperware cups does one family need, anyway?”
Excuse me while I call up Jerky.com, see if I can get a sponsorship deal….