Friday, January 28, 2011

Ko bia

I don't think it was my first baseball game with my dad, but it was one of the early ones. I think so because I don't remember my brother with us. My brother, only twenty months younger probably didn't go when he was 3 or 4, so I am probably 5 maybe 6.

I was a Giants fan because my Dad was a Giants fan. New York Giants that is. Pre, the abomination of the Giants and Dodgers moving. Before they left New York, both the Giants and the Yankees games were televised on Channel 11, WPIX, in New York. The Yankees were sponsored by Ballantine Beer. I have a recollection that the Giants were sponsored by a beer called Knickerbocker.

I have a fair memory anyway, but the jingles for beer companies are very clear in my mind. This is because beer companies tended to be the primary sponsors for sports teams. Since I watched a good deal of sports, many ditties live on in my consciousness.

My beer is Rheingold the dry beer, ask for Rheingold whenever you buy beer, it's not bitter not sweet...won't you try extra dry Rheingold beer.

Schaefer is the one beer to have when you're having more than one.

But it is the Ballantine beer jingle that is etched into my consciousness.

"Baseball and Ballantine, what a combination, all across the nation, baseball and Ballantine. 'Hey get your cold beer!', hey get your Ballantine."

The singer who crooned, 'Hey get your cold beer' did not enunciate well. Cold beer was uttered as one three syllable word. The beer part was sung as if it had two syllables and there was no r at the end of the word.

So the shout sounded like,"Hey get your Kobia. Hey Get your Ballantine.'

Dad and six or five year old me are at this game. I have been told that I have a stubborn streak. This, my mother contends, is inherited from my father. And apparently as this anecdote suggests I had this trait as a lad. A woman once told me that she knew what she would put on my tombstone. "He wrote the book on everything."

Truth is I am quite flexible. But I digress.

We are at the game and Dad hails a beer vendor. He asks for a Knickerbocker beer. I pull on his sleeve when he has the drink and ask a very simple question.

"Why didn't you get a Ko Bia?"

"A what?" says Dad.

"A Ko bia"

"What is a Ko bia?"

I sing him the jingle. He looks at me with the same perplexed gaze I saw once when he came into the bedroom and I was watching the test pattern waiting for the first tv show of the day to come on.

Well we battle for a while he insisting that there is no beer called Ko bia, but they are saying cold beer. I of course will have nothing of it. Ko bia is a brand like Wheaties as far as I am concerned.

I like beer, but why is Ballantine and Baseball or beer and sports conflated. Is there any reason why when we go to a game, or watch one at home, we take out a cold one. It seems to me that there is nothing natural about this association. And like many things in life we assume that what is unnatural is natural simply because we have been dunned with information in support of an unnatural construction.

Ko bia all over our universe. And many who are willing to argue stubbornly that the construction makes sense.

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