This is a tradition at the company that i grew up with.. started in the early eighties anyway. It's named after this flag that i assume they've had since it started, a plain white flag with a beer mug frothing over on it. I never attended (or heard of) one until i was a full-time worker there, and of age. But when i did, i knew it was good.

Basically, when the beer flag flew, it meant that they had taken the money from the beer flag box and bought a case of - bud, usually, yes, always in cans. And they sat around and told stories, of encounters with the cops, of crazy people that used to work there, elevated to legend, of drunken bad ideas and adventures with cars or heavy equipment. There was always that one person still working, even at 6 o'clock, 6:30, that eventually were lured into the stories and stood around with a can and a smile. The beer flag flew at irregular intervals, but created a continuity between the old-school employees and the new-school. "Remember back when.. they didn't have the seatbelt law ... they would just tell you to slow down when you were drunk and see you to the next town line ... when Boomer drove the truck full of windows to the ocean in a hurricane, just to see the winds ... when Ray was so angry (the semi-mythical Ray, he died of a heart attack, he was my father's mentor and a volunteer fireman) ... when so-and-so lost control of the forklift in the warehouse ... when Jody's office was built of window displays, and none of the office was heated (he's treasurer and idea-man now, and the office is so climate-controlled that i feel like an exotic species when i emerge) ... Rick's young, brawling days ... Ed's young, comedic days.

Somehow, i am the only female person i've ever seen at a beer flag. But like an anthropologist, i do not draw attention to the fact, but allow this blurring of boundaries to work to my benefit. Sometimes they apologise when they get graphic or scatological, but this is the extent of my influence on the beer flag. I'm glad to work here and not somewhere that i haven't grown with.

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