The Free Beer Prophecy
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Several of the drinking establishments that I occasionally visit have versions of the above plaque posted at the bar.
FREE BEER TOMORROW
It occurred to me that this is not just a simple sign, rather it is prophecy, and for believers in free beer*, it is a prophecy that demands decoding.
Now the believer in free beer has several options for decoding this prophecy so as to be present when the free beer is handed out. He might decode it as:
- If I return to this fine drinking establishment in 24 hours, free beer is mine. Or,
- Today is Wednesday, tomorrow is Thursday, therefore if I return on Thursday, the barmaid will serve me free beer. Or,
- Today is the 19th of October 2011. therefore if I return on the 20th of October 2011, I will be drinking beer for free.
And yet we all know that if our believer in free beer returns as planned, there will be no free beer. What he will see, however, is a sign that proclaims:
FREE BEER TOMORROW
"Funny," he might think to himself. "I thought that the free beer would be available today."
"I'll just have to decode that prophecy once again as I sure am looking forward to the coming of free beer."
Sooner or later pretty much everyone who sees that promise of free beer tomorrow realises that it is a prophecy which will not be fulfilled.
Free beer tomorrow! Free beer tomorrow! There really will be free beer tomorrow!
But not free beer today!
If we can recognize that free beer tomorrow will not come to pass, why cannot we all see not see that prophecy in religious texts likewise will not be fulfilled?
* I do not believe in free beer. I am an afreebeerist. And until I actually see incontrovertible evidence of free beer**, so I will remain.
Now you might claim that of course there is free beer. You might tell me that every time you visit your brother-in-law's home, he gives you not just one, but several free beer.
But I would point out to you that beer is not free. It requires that you spend an hour or two in your brother-in-law's basement watching him reenact the June 25, 1897 schedule of a Scottish steam train on the model train table that nearly fills his basement. You might be given the privilege of operating one of the switches in accordance with a strict schedule. You also have to rave over how well he modelled the tiny highland village which is one of the stops on the route - the village modelled in such detail that visible through the pub window is a tiny FREE BEER NEXT HOGMANAY plaque.
No, my friend. That beer is not free. It is quite costly.