The Next Best Thing

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We’ll say that I’ve had “some number” of different beers. Among my friends who bother to record their tastings, I’ve tasted more. Among some acquaintances I’ve met along that journey, I’m a babe in the woods. One might observe that recording beers is, once psychological disorders are considered, similar to a collecting hobby, only this particular collection doesn’t require drawer spaces, display cases, or garages. 

I like beer, particularly stouts and Northeastern styled IPAs (more citrus, less bitter). That said, I could live without beer.  I didn’t start drinking beer with any regularity until my 40’s, and I could live quite easily without it.  But aside from the taste, I particularly enjoy the social occasion of drinking beer, whether it be with friends or with strangers who are feeling conversational at a craft brewery or bar located wherever my travels take me.

There are, of course, beers I like a lot - those I return to for a satisfying drink. But, frankly, I don’t drink just to drink, “to have a beer.” I’m primarily motivated by findingtinwhiskers-17-2 the next best beer (and perhaps watching my collection statistics increase). Given the seemingly exponential growth of breweries across the U.S., it’s almost difficult to go somewhere and not have a choice of beer that I haven’t tasted before.

Just a moment’s introspection tells me that I’ve been down this road before. Music. I have more music, in whatever form technology distributes it, than the vast majority of my friends. In my case, this particular pursuit continues to take up physical space as I haven’t bowed as yet to the digital revolution.  I’m old fashioned and enjoy cover art, lyrics, liner notes, etc.  Judge me, and Renaissanceyou judge all the millennials that are now buying so-easy-to-scratch vinyl.  I thought we were beyond that…

Despite the size of my CD collection and the enjoyment I take in it, my ear is listening to new music, primarily through Spotify’s suggested weekly playlist, but through friends, on-line reviews, and, well, not the radio, because radio is dead to new music. But it’s the same kind of pursuit. Yes, I have some guilty pleasures, iPhoneJan2015-355but I have an abundance of music that fits my tastes perfectly. Yet, I continue searching for the next best thing.

When my T-Rex (daughter) was in college locally, I had a brief fling with finding the best burger in Atlanta, a measure just as subjective as any, but one that left us both patting our tummies and sporting a smug grin. Finding the best burger is not as enduring as other pursuits, as restaurants come and go, but it’s not a poor preoccupation, either, and it certainly made for some good memories.

This isn’t an adult thing, either. Comic books. At roughly nine years old, I entered the world of super-heroes. Nova_Vol_1_1_BSpiderman, X-Men, The Flash - there’s no need to list them all because they’ve (almost) all found their way to movies, TV, and a kids’ aisle near you. Nova? Where are you? But back to the theme. Comics were the same for me. “I like this. But, what is that comic? I wonder if I’d like it as much or more?”

Related are measures of success.  Professional advancement, athletic achievements.  Meeting or exceeding goals.  Tiger Woods won four golf Majors in a row.  He didn’t stop playing.  He wanted more.

Not too far afield, and more than tangentially related, is the financial relevance - “How much is enough?”  Once you’re past Maslov’s physiological and safety basic needs, we all (hope to) have a disposable income. What is that spent on? It depends on your priorities.  Nicer stuff. Travel. Gadgets. Entertainment. 

All of these are essentially just things, of no lasting relevance, things that make you feel good, amusements in life, including certain types of charity.

Perhaps it’s human curiosity, perhaps it’s an addictive nature, perhaps... it’s a need, that pursuit of being fully satisfied, of finding the ultimate thirst quencher. When is “good” good enough?


In human pursuits? I’d venture “Never.” Finding full satisfaction is a hope, and, in my view, one that cannot be filled without faith. And perhaps the search for the next best burger or beer can be met thusly, “Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Sounds good.

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