All Ye Need to Know: Chapter One

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,–that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
-from “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats

Just shy of his 50th birthday, Jarvis Bagley’s life has become an awful cliché. Long divorced, long single, estranged from his children, working an unfulfilling job, Jarvis has long since dropped courtesy and decorum for acrimony and rancor.

So lost is he in his contempt for others, that he finds his most meaningful relationships interacting with his favorite craft beers and the anthropomorphized caricatures he turns them into.

His lone solace is competing every Tuesday night in Tap House 24’s trivia night. His greatest dream is winning the coveted Saxon Keg—the Tap House’s prize given to the best trivia team of the year.

But if he wants to win the Keg, and maybe put his life in some kind of order, he’s going to have to put together a winning team. Worse yet, he’s going to have to get along with the real people who will form it.

Disclaimer: The beers are real. Tap House 24 (in Greencastle, Indiana) is real, too. The characters are not. Any resemblance to real people (or real fraternity members) is purely coincidental. If that’s not enough: Donovan Wheeler is happily engaged, has his life together, and holds no beef with fraternity types.

Chapter One:
Jarvis Learns about Manhood from Bad Elmer and James Bond

Everybody thinks that Sean Connery is the definitive James Bond. Everybody, of course, would be totally full of shit. Darting around the globe in his pencil-thin neckties, wrinkling his face with that smartass grin, and knocking out one liners in the Gaelic twang he picked up from Edinburgh, Connery became everybody’s favorite Bond because he was their first Bond. That, and it didn’t hurt that he played the spy at the height of the Cold War. It may not have been the best time to wake up every morning and wonder when the mushroom clouds were going to turn the bean crop in the south-forty into a glowing heap of tofu, but it was most certainly the best time to pretend to be a spy. Connery allowed men from no fewer than three different generations to imagine themselves gunning down hapless henchmen on a Tuesday evening and mourning the dead, golden body of a blonde with all the cavalier empathy of a Vegas pit-boss the next day.

Some dislike him because he heaped on the misogyny. And it’s true: Connery’s Bond was a sexist asshole (most versions of the character were, for that matter). But people call me one of those, every so often…meaning they call me one all the time. Denial is a crucial survival skill, even when you’re envisioning yourself earning your pension in British espionage. Other critics disliked Connery because of the sadistic masochism inherent in his violence…which is an argument that is somehow even more colossally stupid than the sexism shtick.

Like everyone else, I laughed when Bond cranked up the heat on Count Lippe and wedged the broomstick between the door handles of that little Whirlpool sit-n-soak aluminum sauna. Lippe was the worst kind of villain—the incompetent, arrogant type you can’t respect. Watching tools like him suffer offered the sort of vicarious thrill you take to the office and use as a coping mechanism making it possible to suffer the day taking orders from the nitwit who ass-kissed himself into your corner office.

None of that stuff bothered me about Connery. My problem is that he was so blasted one-dimensional. For a guy who would later win an Oscar for his work in The Untouchables, Connery played Bond as if he were Keanu Reeves. Sure, sometimes he would flash a moment of concern, he might even look like he was in love, but Connery’s Bond looked the same whether he was stuffing that magic cassette tape next to Jill St. John’s butt-cheek or plugging that balding dude in the chest with a harpoon gun… Click here to read the full chapter at Indiana on Tap.

Read the Rest at Indiana on Tap

Featured Image Credits:  Guinness Extra Stout – Boston, MA by John Stephen Dwyer is allowed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Donovan Wheeler
Author: Donovan Wheeler

Wheeler proudly teaches English to a horde of bright and lovably obnoxious high school seniors in a small college town. He has written in the past for Indiana on Tap and STATE Magazine, and is an occasional contributor to NUVO, Indy's alternate news website. Since picking up the guitar three years, he can now play a dozens songs while singing them quite badly.

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