Posted on August 16th, 2012
I found it in an antique store and, at $19, it was a steal. It’s big and heavy — made of thick glass — and has a shiny aluminum top. There are images from the world of leisure painted all over the sides: tennis racquets, bowling pins, a sailboat, and even a dapper golfer raising his club in mid-swing. Flanking the sailboat and golfer are recipes for classic drinks like “Whiskey Sour,” “Side Car,” and even the “Bronx” — a mouthful of vermouth that allegedly set the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous off on a 17-year bender. It’s vintage, alright.
It’s also the perfect replacement for the flimsy metal cocktail shaker that came with my Groupon-purchased online bartending class.
That’s right: I enrolled in an online bartending class. With a Groupon.
I blame grad school-itis.
Grad school-itis is the persistent, irrational compulsion to enroll in some kind of (any kind of?) masters program. If you graduated from college with a degree in the humanities, you’ve probably come under its spell at one time or another. There’s no cure — the best you can hope for is temporary remission — and the only treatment is exposure to student loan statements and sobering CNN Money articles.
I’ve tussled with the condition more than once. In 2006 it was a masters program in art conservation. In 2008 it was the then-hot now-not online MBA. This year, when the inner voices once again began to whisper, “The BA is the new high school diploma,” I was ready. Or, it seems, Groupon was. The email I received began, “Like passing the bar, tending a bar requires extensive knowledge.”
Oh Groupon, you had me at “extensive knowledge.”
As soon as I clicked the big Groupon BUY! button, my growing desire to leap into a graduate program suddenly diminished. Apparently any formal education, regardless of subject, is a suitable foil for grad school-itis. And why not bartending? According to the growing chorus of conspiracy nuts, it’s only a matter of time before a zombie virus or some natural disaster turns our high-tech world into post-apocalyptic frontier country. Think about it: In a Mad Max dystopian future, who’s got the upper hand: Someone with a graduate certificate in “arts management”? Or the person who can make the bounty hunters a mean gin and tonic?
Even in the here and now, there are plenty of excellent practical applications (including, but not limited to, a built-in excuse for drinking all the time). But, dork that I am, I’m mostly excited about learning something that is completely and totally new to me. To go from ignorant neophyte to novice creator. To try something with absolutely no sense of whether or not I’ll ever get good at it. School me, oh internet module. School me.
Shaker in hand, I’m ready to learn.