This isn’t a beer. This is a crutch for mental illness. Wait… no, that’s not right. This is the CAUSE of mental illness.

I drink more than just beer. I love me a good spirit or cocktail. Sometimes you find the right booze for the occasion that is perfect for drinking neat (or slamming shots. Occasion dependent). When that happens, it’s like finding a diamond in a sea of glassy shards.

But this is Malört, baby. This is like finding the best used needle on the curb next to a Burger King in a food desert.

Jeppson’s Malört is the lifeblood of the Midwest, and it’s pumped from the heart of Chicago.

Isn’t the heart, like, supposed to be attached to something?

This tastes like a tire fire. This has the essence of industrial accident. This tastes like a computer tried to approximate what a spirit should be like but got all of its data from an incel message board. This tastes like what remains on the bottom of a casket after exhuming a body for a cold case. This tastes like accidentally licking your fingers after dissecting cats in my high school physiology class. 

Malört is a special spirit, and if I describe it too much I don’t know what’ll happen to me. Probably get taken out by some FIB saying that I’m talking smack about Chicago’s greatest export. You really gotta taste it to believe it.

“JESUS CHRIST WHAT THE HELL IS THIS” is Chicago for “I love you.”

Malört pairs best with a gap in your memory and so, so much clean water dear God you need to hydrate.  

My grandmother died today. 

Her name was Ellen. She wasn’t young. She was healthy, until she contracted CoVID. It was nobody’s fault. CoVID has plagued the world for the past few years, and if you deny that it exists or is as serious as it truly is, don’t read this. Go live your ignorant life elsewhere, far away from decent people. This is my blog. 

She was the absolute perfect target for that disease, and while it took a while, it got her.

Grandma was a saint. She was married to her husband Tom for, I dunno, 70+ years? Grandpa died in 2015 after a battle with sepsis. So for the past 8 years Grandma lived as a widow, surrounded by family, but without Grandpa.

Grandpa was a prankster. A joker. 6 feet of chaos. Grandma was his polar opposite. She was level-headed, soft-spoken, kinder than anyone, and 4’10” on a good day in heels.

Together they raised so many children. 6 kids, an untold cacophony of grandchildren and great grandchildren. Everyone was welcome in their home so long as you washed your hands after using the bathroom.

Grandma was the soft hand to provide the finishing touches of raising strong children. She was the heartwarming figure you could go to about everything. She was the matriarch you watched your language around.

Grandma was Grandma, and she was an inspiration.

While I’m so sad that I’ll not see her in this life again, I’m so happy that she is not suffering. I’m so happy she’s with Grandpa. And I’m so, absolutely sure, that she is proud of the legacy of our family which she is directly responsible for raising, shaping, and molding.

As far as my grandparents go, she was the last living one.

That’s it.

End of an era.

…but maybe not.

We are all shaped and influenced by those who came before. Some for better, some for worse. In this case, all four of my grandparents were possibly the most influential people in my life. More so than most others. And while I cannot claim to be the perfect grandson (and my parents would attest that I am most CERTAINLY not the perfect son), I can boldly state that my grandparents were absolute angels to me.

I hope that I can live my their example. To be kind, caring, warm, thoughtful, generous, inclusive, funny, witty, knowledgable, and inspiring. If I can be anything like them, even just 1% of what they gave to the world with their light, then I’ve succeeded in my dreams and goals.

Rest is Peace, Grandma. I love you. I hope all of you know that you made me who I am. While I hope it’s not too soon when I see you next, I will see you again.

(From left to right, June 28, 2014) Abuelo, Abuelo, Grandpa, Grandma.

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