Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Brisk Iced Tea Redemption

Several days ago I called on a nearby pizzeria located under the El—the quintessence of gritty ambiance in the Bronx. I ordered a slice with a sausage topping and a bottle of Brisk Iced Tea, something I had done on previous occasions without a hitch. But on this day, I encountered a major snafu in earshot of the Number 1 train coming and going from its first and last stop at W242nd Street. As I plopped down at a table with my fine fare and liquid refreshment, I reached first for the latter to twist off its top. But it just wouldn't cooperate with me. I concluded my hands were a bit sweaty—and the likely fly in the ointment—so I endeavored to get the cursed thing off with the aid of a napkin and then my shirt. Good fortune didn’t shine my way.

I momentarily considered taking the bottle up to the counter and asking a member of the staff to open it for me. However, my pride got the best of me. The slice of pizza wasn’t overly hot, so I opted to consume it without my iced-tea chaser. I surmised that afterwards I could take the bottle with me—across Broadway—into Van Cortlandt Park and go the extra mile there. In some secluded spot—if required—I could make unsightly faces and embarrassing grunts to tap into that elusive iced tea.

While I had unsuccessfully utilized my shirt—in Operation Twist and Shout—in the confines of the pizza parlor, I would do so once more in the great outdoors, but with a little more sweat and toil in this second round. Lady luck was missing in action—again! I had to concede the Brisk Iced Tea bottle had gotten the best of me. And a half-mile from home with multiple errands still to run, it was decision time. I chose not to carry this dastardly bottle around with me. I was thus compelled to toss in a park garbage pail twenty fluid ounces of iced tea—the very size that gave former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg sleepless nights. I didn’t like the idea of throwing away—in this throwaway society of ours—an unopened bottle that cost me $1.75. All things being equal, I would have preferred taking it home with me and employing the nuclear option therein—a nutcracker, wrench, or hedge clipper.

Nevertheless, I was bound and determined to wipe that day of infamy away—with all its inherent bad memories—by retracing my steps and actions. And the sooner the better! So yesterday, I returned to the scene of the crime against my psyche and ordered a another slice of pizza with sausage and bottle of Brisk Iced Tea. I was extremely anxious because, I knew, there would be no third act in this drama. I was handed the bottle before my warming pizza came out of the oven. I opened it at the counter this go-round with the intention of asking for help if—God forbid—bad fortune befell me again.

Lo and behold the iced tea bottle opened for me with incredible ease and I experienced a New Age moment. You know: If at first you don’t succeed—try, try again. I was only left to wonder if anything like that ever happened to Joel Osteen or one of his peers in the God business. For the Brisk Iced Tea Bottle Redemption, I think, is sermon material indeed.

(Photos from the personal collection of Nicholas Nigro)

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