A writer walks into a bar and orders three beers, all to be delivered at the same time to his table.
The waitress brings over his beers and the bartender watches as the writer takes a sip out of each mug in turn, starting from the writer’s left and going to his right. A couple of nights later the writer comes in and does the same thing: three beers delivered to his table; he drinks a swallow from each mug in turn.
Finally, the third time it happens, the bartender delivers the beers and tells the writer, “You know, these beers start to go flat the moment I draw them out of the tap. You would be better off drinking one, ordering another, and then a third.”
“But,” the writer said, “I need to order them this way and drink them just this way.”
“Why?” the bartender asks.
“One mug is for my brother the screenwriter in L.A. The next mug is for my brother the advertising writer in New York. And the third one is mine, a small-time mystery writer who frequents your bar here in Atlanta. I do this here and each of my brothers is doing the same thing in the bars they are in.
The bartender appreciates the tradition and from then on says no more, until one evening the writer comes in and orders only two beers.
The bartender thinks something must have happened to one of the brothers, so when he has a moment, he walks over to the table and expresses his condolences.
“No, no, no,” the writer says. “We are all fine. Alive and well and procrastinating before the blank screen in search of our next words.”
“But you only ordered two beers.”
“You see,” the writer says, “my wife and I converted to being Southern Baptist and we no longer drink, but my brothers still do.”