Here’s What You Missed in Wisconsin This Week: May 20

Yelich bags groceries, a festival gets canceled and lawns aren’t mowed.

The Cleanest of Beer Lines

Do you like your beer dirty and gross? Yes? Really? Why? That’s super weird, and I don’t know what more to say to you.  

Well, for people who like their beer clean and not gross, a Milwaukee company is here to help. Draught Guard is installing fancy “control modules” in bar’s tap lines, which send a low-frequency signal through the line to prevent biofilm from growing in it. By and large, I prefer my beer with the least amount of biofilm possible, so I gotta say I’m glad Draught Guard is making that happen. 

Draught Guard technology at work; Photo courtesy of Kevin Brauer

Christian Yelich Bagging Groceries

On Tuesday, Christian Yelich popped up at a West Allis Pick n Save to bag groceries for customers. The event was part of the Brewers #KindnessInMKE campaign, promoting “random acts of kindness.” That’s cool, and I kinda wish I’d decided to buy groceries in West Allis on Tuesday so I could have pretended to mistake Yelich for Pete Davidson. But honestly, I only included this item in this column because I have a story I want to tell about bagging groceries, and this gives me an excuse, so here we go:

When I was about nine years old, I went to the grocery store with my mom. When we were checking out, the grocery bagger was an elderly man, likely working a part-time retirement job. This fellow took each of our items carefully from the conveyor belt and sorted them each into bags according to size and temperature. The firmer, larger items were slotted at the bottom, the frozen items placed next to each other, the small items intricately slid into place, and the delicate eggs given their own bag. His attention to detail was a thing of beauty, not like the sour-faced teenagers at the other aisles who tossed our stuff in bags like they had a grudge against easy-bake pot pies. I don’t know who this man was, but I will never forget him. He didn’t care that he just bagging groceries for some lady and her kid who were going to unbag them as soon as they got home – he clearly wanted to do the work to the best of his abilities. When he was finished, he handed us our perfectly packed bags, smiled at me, and thanked my mom for shopping there. I could imagine him doing any job with the exact same approach – whether he was running a company or sweeping his front step. At nine years old, I didn’t understand why this old guy made such an impression on me, but I do now. He wasn’t half-assing life. He was doing his best, and he approached his work with grace, skill and a sense of pride, even when it wasn’t the most world-altering job. If you’ve ever read this column before, then you know that I consistently fail to do the same with my work, but I’m trying. Every once in a while when I feel like completing phoning in a story or just pasting some random quote from the Bible into one of these columns and pretending it’s a joke, I think of him and try to do better. And I honestly believe that if we could all treat our work the way this one old fella at the Pick ‘n’ Save did, everyone would be better off. 

No Mow May

If you’ve been driving around residential neighborhoods in southeastern Wisconsin this week, you may have been wondering when exactly everybody in this state lost their work ethic. Seeing all the unmowed and dandelion-ridden lawns, you may have thought this was a perfect metaphor for the decay of American civilization. You may have even begun writing a short story entitled, “The Dandelion Cometh,” illustrating that masterful metaphor. But then, after sending said story off to 20 different magazines and being brutally rejected, you may have read this article we published this week, “What Is This No Mow May Everyone’s Talking About?” So it turns out everyone didn’t just get lazy. Folks in Wisconsin aren’t mowing their lawns this month in order to help bees and other pollinators who need the dandelions to grow. I had no idea this existed until I read about it, but it turns out I’ve actually been participating in No Mow May for most of my adult life. In fact, now that I am aware of it, I used it as ammunition in my ongoing fight with Karl, my neighbor:

“Archer,” Karl said. “Now that it’s nearly summer, I’m here to tell you that I will not tolerate the way you treat your lawn again. I’m serious. You’re going to mow it at least once every week, or so help me God.”

“No can do, Karl,” I said. “I’m participating in No Mow May.”

“You haven’t mowed your lawn for three years.”

“I’m ahead of my time.”

“I can’t take this anymore. Ok? I’m going to call the homeowners’ association.”

“Dude. This is Kenosha. We don’t have a homeowners’ association.”

“Then I’ll call the cops. Your lawn is disgusting. There’s, like, fungus growing out of it.”

“Those are my mushrooms. Don’t you dare touch them.”

“Archer, creatures have nested in your grass.”

“So? You have a problem with animals? Why exactly do you hate puppies so much?”

“There’s a rabid possum living under your pile of tires. It’s endangering my children. And why do you need a pile of tires anyway?”

“When the government collapses, you’re going to be coming to me crying for tires. And I saw your kid trying to eat your inflatable pool the other day – not like I’m endangering the next Einstein.”

Long story short, my new excuse didn’t really work. Also, I have another court date next week. 

Photo by Getty Images

A Guy From Fond du Lac Ate a Big Mac Every Day for 50 Years

Don Gorske, a proud son of Wisconsin, has been eating Big Macs on the daily since May 17, 1972. This week, he celebrated 50 years of arterial blockage, noting that he had only missed eight days in all those decades. The man holds a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for lifetime Big Mac consumption, with the most recent update listed at 32,340 burgers. When you hear that, you might expect Don to look like some sort of lumpy, mutated monstrosity, dragging a lump of Macified flesh in a wheelbarrow with him, but the guy honestly looks pretty good. The real question is what made Don miss those eight days? Was he McHospitalized? Maybe he was visiting North Korea? Or did he just fall to the devilish temptations of the Burger King?  


 

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Locust Street Festival Is Canceled

“And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.”

That was a random quote from The Bible about the plague of locusts. It’s entirely unrelated to the Locust Street Festival of Music and Art, which was all set to happen this summer but was then canceled on Thursday. I couldn’t think of any good jokes about it. Forgive me, grocery bagger man. 

Photo by Locus Street Festival

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Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.