Saturday, May 05, 2007

Total Jim and the Gift of Giving

This courageous young man (doing a keg stand) is Total Jim Cooley, a good friend of mine who lives in Seattle. After years of sloth and utter laziness Total Jim set aside his part-time job at a driving school and secured a real job, like the kind with a salary and Christmas parties and stock options and stuff. I admired Jim for this, particularly because it made him capable of picking up his end of the bar tab.

But despite Jim's past poverty, he never forgot those who paid his share. This is probably why Jim attempted, at great expense to himself, to send me a bottle of Woodburn Reserve Bourbon, along with three microbrews. It might also be because I split my collectino of clip-on ties with him. Unfortunately for Jim, and even more so for me, these delicious beverages did not make it to the fair country of Georgia, and for once it wasn't due to theft by Georgian postal workers. I will allow the US Postal Service to explain why, in their own words, just as they informed Total Jim Cooley in a letter.

"Dear Mr. Cooley, On April 16th a Priority parcel from you addressed to PCV Ryan Nickum arrived at our mail facility with broken glass inside. The package was wet and soaked with what smelled like an alcoholic beverage. Since we were unable to locate you by telephone we were prompted to write this letter. Because alcoholic beverages are unmailable by individuals (see the attached section 11.7 from the Domestic Mail Manual) we had to hold your package.

We will hold your package for one week, until April 27, 2007, if you would like to pick it up at our facility... or you can call us to give us permission to destroy the contents... Sincerely... USPS."

Obviously, this is a great tragedy. Good bourbon is absent here in Georgia. Sometimes an overpriced bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label arrives in a Tbilisi store or cafe, but this is scotch-whiskey, not real bourbon. It is not a good substitute, although it would not be rejected out-of-hand. The other alternative is a homemade cha cha derived from Walnut husks. It is reputed to be very tasty, but the threat of dying from drinking even tasty moonshine remains moderately high.

While the law forbids the mailing of alcoholic beverages, and as Total Jim Cooley proved, doing so is wrought with perils, I still strongly encourage others to break the law and to mail me microbrews (like the homemade beers my Aunties make and which come in plastic bottles) as well as top shelf bourbon. I recommend using bubble wrap to protect the glass, and also taping the hell out of the box to keep out thirsty postal workers.

These bourbons would be most welcome: Bookers, Baisel Hayden, Makers Mark, Knob Creek, Old Rip Van Winkle, Woodford Reserve.

These bourbons would also be welcome: Jim Beam, Evan Williams, Jack Daniels.
But enough about booze. Let's also talk about Indian pickles.

These bourbons would probably lead to severe headaches, an unappreciative host family, and possibly a justified early termination of my service by Peace Corps officials: Ten High, Old Crow, Wild Turkey

But in case you're someone who is aware that the good people of Georgia go out of their way to see to it that we have plenty to drink, and wonder if more alcohol is really necessary, let me direct you to the topic of food I'd like. It's strange what things you begin to miss when away from home. And I will list those items in the hopes that you fine people will send them to me.

-INDIAN PICKLES These are not like cucumber pickles, nor are they Georgian pickles which often taste as if the cucumbers or peppers have been soaking in a brine of goat urine and skunk cabbage for months. These are Indian pickles, a little like chutney, and come in a variety of flavors, such as brinjal, chili, chili + ginger, lime, mango, mixed, and thecha. There are no doubt other varieties and I long to taste them all.
-Basically any Indian seasoning or foods. Be it freeze-dried camping food or jars of Tikka Masala I will wolf down anything that tastes of Indian food.
-Guacamole seasoning packets: we can make a sort-of-guacamole out of ground peas if we have the seasoning packets.
-Fajita seasoning
-Peanut Butter Twix
-Swedish fish
-Smoked salmon
-Instant hummus
-Uniball pens
-Instant Indian food (like they sell at camping stores)
-Any DVDs you've tired of
-BBQ sauce
-Dried parmesan
-Enchilada sauce
-Beef jerky
-Washington State wine, to show my host family.

I also enjoy good books, any DVDs, and Uniball pens. I hope all of you are well. Good luck with your care packages! I look forward to receiving them from you Pojken, Ryan Hubbard, Luther Hubbard, aunts and uncles, cousins, former classmates, those of you who stumbled on this blog by accident, those who feel remorse for past misdeeds and long to make up for them, people with Christian generosity, orphans, doctors, people of the land, Fitz Cahall, Mead Trick, Megan Farley, Diana Ross, former PCVs who feel my pain, and any citizen of Lichtenstein. Please, send me stuff.

Ryan Nickum
c/o Peace Corps/Georgia
PO Box 66
Tbilisi 0194
Republic of Georgia

PS: my puppy is alive and well.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo nickum, Becca and I will come through I promise.


12:15 PM  

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