“Taste Bud” by Carl J. Sorheim



“You’re not drinking that, are you?” she said with a face you’d normally reserve for accidentally biting into garlic-infused shit pies.

“No, I buy coffee to keep the economy healthy” I replied with a hint of offence, staring glumly into a bottomless mug of black liquid. “I like the way Joe Hockey laughs when he smells money.”

“That’s not coffee,” she added acerbically as she stared into the distance. A better distance, I imagine. “That’s Starbucks. I’d rather nose dive into a small pool of vomit than drink Starbucks.”

Not a day passes where I don’t have to defend my taste buds. It’s not even limited to my sense of taste and smell; the outraged attacks encompass all manner of sins… what I see, what I hear, what I feel and what a fuckhead I am for all of the above. My entire registry of supposedly retarded taste buds is under regular attack for its inferiority.

“You actually enjoyed Pain & Gain?!?!” he yells incredulously caps-locked at me on Facebook, pausing only to consider adding more exclamation marks. “It’s the worst film of all times! I would rather pour boiling cheese onto my eyelids and go to sleep in a barrel of battle-rats than watch Pain & Gain again!” He pauses, presumably to find the Caps Lock Upsize button before exclaiming “WAT IS RONG WITH YU”.

The gloves are off, which is why it’s so weird that his spelling is suffering.

“Come on, man. It was funny and entertaining!” I attempt, feebly. And then; “You’re exaggerating a bit, don’t you think…?”

“Exaggerating! …Exaggerating…!!????????!!!” He repeats with flabbergasted italics so wind worn the letters are practically horizontal. “I would rather…. I WOULD RATHER put on a MEAT HAT and walk NAKED into a GRIZZLY BEAR CAVE than resort to infantile HYPERBOLE! You giant CUNT.”

Exaggeration is part of the problem. People scoff at that which is guilty only of not being challenging enough for the increasingly-confident and hyper-sensitive intellects and taste buds of the new middle class; that part of society so hellbent on proving its ability to stand bowlegged by white and blue collars simultaneously that its shit-stench infects everyone. And so, we all smell the fart: something so offensively simple that it acts as a contagion, affecting anyone who enjoys it, so they by association become equally offensive: The Big Bang Theory. Nickelback. Family First. And sometimes, AC/DC.

There are of course those things that seem simple, thereby making them good: minimalism is hailed for covering up layers and layers of depth and soul: Amour. The White Stripes. Winnie the Pooh. And sometimes, AC/DC.

“I see you have some Acca Dacca here…” he mumbles.

“Yeah, they’ve got so many classics!” I beam with schoolboy uniform pride.

“They’re as bogan as a shoestring necktie at karaoke. I’d adopt George Negus before listening to AC/DC,” he snorts into his whipper-snipped designer beard. “And what’s this… Jamiroquai?”

“What’s wrong with Jamiroquai?!” I moan.

“Nothing.… except I’d sell spontaneously-combusting prams before I listen to Jamiroquai.”

I won’t lie. I’m an absolute philistine in so many fields. I don’t get red wine, but I love beer. I don’t like olives, but I’ll devour a Domino’s pizza. I thought Amour was a monstrously slow burn that you could only truly appreciate if you were half way through writing your own eulogy anyway, while Pacific Rim packed a punch that made me giggle like a baby who’s just seen someone fall off a footbridge.

But my point is accepting something for what it is, not for what you think it should have been.

I don’t buy a Domino’s meat-lovers because I’m surrendering myself to escapism and mentally surveying the streets of Cinque Terre with a Mediterranean sun-drenched lunch; I get it because it’s an uncomplicated meal with salt, and I like salt.

I don’t watch Pacific Rim because I want to contemplate how strong a lifelong bond between lovers can be, I watch it because I like watching giant robots beat the shit out of massive aliens.

I don’t drink beer because…. wait a minute. Ay, there’s the rub…

“You wanna come out for a Bud?” he asks with jolly abandon.

“Nope,” is my hasty response. “I don’t like it.”

“You don’t like it…?!” he expresses with the shock of someone who’s just been told Keith Richards had an abortion. “But I’ve seen you drink beer heaps of times!” he continues, arms flailing mentally.

And that’s as far as he gets.

“Oh, beer! Why of course, I’ll come out for a beer!” I gloat, barely noticing how much emphasis I’ve placed on the word beer. “But there’s no fucking way you’ll catch me sipping a piss-weak American lager.”

“It’s just an expression,” he tries. “Bud, beer, what’s the difference?”

“…I’m sorry! Is a Domino’s meat-lover’s the same as a wafer-thin wood-fired pizza with proscioutto and parmesan cheese?” I cry, with the limp outrage of the first world.

“No, obviously not, but…” he mumbles.

“Well, is Spaceballs and Gravity the same film because they’re both set in space?” I continue.

“Some might say it is…”, he says with casual abandon.

“No! It’s not. And is ‘drinking bud‘ the same as ‘drinking Bud… Spencer’s urine‘? ”

“I think you’ve made your point a while ago and now it’s getting weaker by the minute.”

“Shoosh! So you’ll agree that bud and beer isn’t the same thing, then?”

This is the mortal wound.

Right here.

I have him cornered.

Like an idiot honing in on his pet brick.

“Fucking hell… alright. It’s not the same thing.”

I celebrate quietly.

“So you really don’t like Bud then, I take it?” he forces out to cover the sound of me pretending to be an impressed crowd of thousands in the distance.

I stop.

“I’d rather wear an Andrew Bolt-mask and go burn a cross outside RMIT.” I whisper hoarsely.

“Jeez, I didn’t realise you were such a snob,” he scoffs.

Snobs! Hah, how wrong is that arsehole? I hate snobs.

I’d rather tattoo a full body tuxedo and stitch a top hat to my head than hang out with a snob.

© Carl J. Sorheim 2013

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