We’re headed south on Eugene Street, my kid and me, when I point out the TV news crew — the blonde in the dress, the rumpled cameraman in a sweatshirt and ballcap.
“You see that?” I say to the kid. “They’re doing a spot about dogs in bars for the evening news.”
“You can tell?”
“Oh yeah,” I say. “See how she’s talking to that guy with the dogs? And they’re setting up Joymonger’s in the background for the live shot.
“Plus,” I say, “that’s all anybody’s talking about today.”
I fill the kid in on some of it: how the boards of health — first in Forsyth, then in Guilford — began taking a closer look at all the dogs hanging around breweries across the state while their owners sampled the wares, and got to maybe thinking it wasn’t such a hot idea to combine the state’s two most popular hobbies.
The kid’s not on Facebook and has no way of knowing that a few social media posts from Joymonger’s went viral among the hops-and-hounds crowd, pushed high enough in the algorithm to attract the sorts of news media that uses Facebook as a tip sheet. The resounding softball of public opinion began its arc towards the strike zone, practically begging for someone to come along and swat it out of the park.
The kid, who won’t be eligible to vote for the first time until the 2020 election, could never appreciate the swiftness with which this softball was sized up and taken aim upon by elected officials — most notably state Rep. Jon Hardister, who pledged right there in the Joymonger’s comment thread to put together a piece of legislation to address this issue in the next few days.
In the next few days!
And I don’t have the words to explain why beer and dogs are such an emergency to a kid who spent the day taking lessons in a temporary classroom trailer that’s been there since the 1980s.
So I revert to form and poke fun at the people who make news on TV.
“Look at her now,” I say. “She’s down on the ground petting the guy’s dogs before they go on air. She’s probably calling them ‘fur babies.’”
“You should watch it with that,” the kid says. “People don’t like it when you talk shit about their dogs.”
At 16, this kid is smarter than I’ll ever be.