Last week was my wife’s birthday. To celebrate we got together with some friends on Friday night at our favorite restaurant. I even surprised my wife by getting one of her college roommates to drive in for the evening from 3 hours away. (Yes, I did score some major cool husband points for that one.)
It was a fantastic evening. Great food, great friends and plenty to drink. I must confess that I even treated myself to some Pappy 15 at dinner. Please don’t hate me for it.
As everyone was deep in conversation I sat back and took it all in. There we were – all seven of us just chatting away having a grand old time. For a couple of hours we forgot about work, didn’t worry about the kids and really let ourselves enjoy each other’s company. It made me feel like I was back in college again hanging out with friends at a bar on a Friday night. Man, did it ever feel good.
That was two days ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t think any of else wanted the moment to end. In that moment we were all young and free again. Ready to take on anything that life could throw at us. I realize I may sound a bit over dramatic but it’s not the first time I’ve felt this way about a great conversation with friends. I feel that way anytime I’m with a group of people and our conversation goes to the next level which I call “banter”. Others choose to refer to it as nothing more than a “great conversation” but that word simply doesn’t convey the type of dialog between people that I’m referring to. Banter is the only word that does.
Banter is conversation that is effortless. It’s free of ego, unfiltered and honest. Just as many of us look for honesty in a bar, I look for honesty in conversation. Banter is what I call that type of conversation. To me it is one of life’s true pleasures and the word is filled with some of my fondest memories.
My desire for good old fashioned banter is half of the reason this blog exists. In today’s society it’s too damn hard to sit down and simply have a conversation without fear of saying something either offends someone or pisses them off. I’m tired of people bringing their own personal agenda to conversation or learning that they’re just waiting for me to admit something contrary to their own beliefs so they can pass judgement. If I have to jump through hoops to gain your respect I’ll pass on having a drink with you. Trust is something that’s earned. Not respect. Respect is something everyone deserves.
I know it’s far from scientific, but I’ve found that having a conversation with others over bourbon seems to eliminate any of the above issues. 9 times out of 10, conversation over bourbon leads to a wonderful round of banter. Research folks call this a correlation and are quick to warn me that drinking bourbon does not cause or guarantee good banter. And since they’re smarter than me I believe them.
I doubt that I’ll ever do any respectable research into the matter to prove otherwise so for now I’m simply going to abide by these 4 principles.
1) People should stop bitching, fighting and complaining.
2) Get over yourself and really get to know others.
3) Bickering is not bantering. If you’re bickering please read #1 above and try again.
4) If you meet someone who loves and respects bourbon buy them a drink. Banter is sure to follow.
Everyone has to figure this stuff out for themselves but I hope that my little rant allows some of you to realize that there are people out their like yourself. And for those of you looking to mend some fences, reconnect with lost friends or make some new ones, might I suggest getting together over a glass of bourbon and see where the conversation takes you. If you’re luck I think you’ll find that banter heals all sorts of ills.