On nights when the full moon is just peeking around the corner and the weather has been nice, a bartender might start to wonder what is in store for the evening. Are people going to get out there and howl or are they going to be mellow? Well, it turns out a bit of both. On one side, there were the party groups that were whooping it up (literally) and then there were the locals that were glad to have a nice busy, yet not crazy, Saturday night to get out and socialize. Then there were these people sitting at the bar looking at me smiling like they knew me, and it turns out that they did. They were from out of town and since they were visiting they thought they would try to find me, and after asking around at a couple of bars they accomplished their mission. I had the good fortune to meet this couple with my family in a shelter in 2017 in the Dominican Republic during hurricane Irma, in which we spent 16 hours. After the storm passed we met up for drinks and shots to celebrate our good fortune. These awesome people took time out of their vacation to come and say hi to me, to them I say thank you. The rest of the night was a breeze after remembering the circumstances in which we met. It’s kind of funny how an emotionally stressful situation can make such a positive lasting impression on people. The guy that was staggering around in the bathroom that we fed and got a ride home for, and the idiots wrestling in the alley behind the bar were much easier to take after the reminder of just how lucky I am, not just because of that storm, but in all aspects of being me. Salud!
Until they make a device that alerts me to the presence of annoying assholes, one of the biggest parts of my job every day is to make sure that the people in the bar drinking are old enough to be there, usually by carding them. This is also a way to weed out potential problem people, like the person that is too drunk to find or pull out their identification, the homeless guy that is snooping around the bar trying to steal stuff from unsuspecting customers and that youngster that is almost old enough trying to make the rounds with their friends but still has a little time to go and can still get you a hefty fine. Most people gladly show you their I.D. with the understanding that this is a part of my job and it is no big deal, others make it seem an inconvenience but comply because they want a drink. Then there are the eye rollers. I swear I could hear this girl’s eyes roll back into her head last night, she was so annoyed. She jerks her wallet out of her jacket pocket, wrestles her I.D. out of it and throws it on the counter with a fierce look of annoyance. She looked young, but when I looked at the birth date, she had been twenty-one for less than a month. Seriously? Drop the attitude, you are not that important, in fact, I will be carding you every time I see you for the foreseeable future until you either start acting nicer or you just get over it and don’t come back. This is where that asshole detecting device would really come in handy.
Yes, the age old question “What would happen if an unstoppable force collided with the unmovable object?” The classic Omnipotence Paradox, something that could never happen because if something is truly unstoppable then there cannot be something truly unmovable in existence as well and vice versa. Well, fortunately for me I get the constant study of the Impotency Paradox, which would be the other classic “Completely stoppable force against the totally moveable object.” Two of my shining stars last night were great examples of this clash of the titans, or as I like to call it, drunk and bummy vs. uneducated drunk white trash. Mr. White Trash was trying to start a fight with Mr. Bum who was more than happy to oblige him, so I stepped in and stopped Mr. Trash then moved Mr. Bum out the door. Yes two impotent jerks, one easy solution. O.K. it might not qualify for a scientific study, but maybe someone will give me some grant money for it anyway. If people get paid to study how much methane is released into the atmosphere when a bee farts, why not my Impotency Paradox?
It has occurred to me last night that mellow nights with good customers are a greatly overlooked thing. I got to hang out and actually talk to some of my favorite people that I don’t get to when I’m deep in the weeds, and meet some new customers that were just in to have a drink. I do appreciate the slow nights, even though the money is not the best, it’s a good way to start the week, especially when you know that the crazy weekend is right around the corner. And can someone please explain the whole Jell-o shot phenomenon? It just seems kind of weird that a children’s snack made with booze instead of water is so popular. Oh well, another thing to add to the list of shit I don’t get. I think it would be a much shorter list if I just made one with things I do understand.
There is nothing more inspiring than getting to work, starting to get settled in for the shift and have a grown man interrupt your conversation with another customer by standing up off of his bar stool, leaning over the bar with his hand raised like a first grader yelling “I need a grilled cheese sandwich!” This is after listening to him and his cohorts talk about who they know in town loud enough for others to hear, hoping they understand how important they are in the community and belittling people that aren’t from here. I love entitled “I’ve lived here my whole life and this town is turning to shit” locals that act like children and disrespect people that work in local establishments because they think they’re special. After Timmy (we’ll call him Timmy) got his food and ate it like a child, getting it all over the counter, was cut off and cashed out, he came back about twenty minutes later, only to be turned away because of his previous behavior. He was none too happy, stating “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I haven’t even been in here today!” I’m sure he’ll be bitching about how his small town has changed to his friends at the next meeting of the minds. I’m not saying that changes are good or bad, but they do happen, and you don’t need to act like a dick about it, drunk ass.
When someone tries to buy somebody else at the bar a drink it can mean several things, including, but not limited to, a way to say thank you to someone, an apology to someone for a misunderstanding, but more than likely at twelve thirty in the morning it is the classic pickup move. Undoubtedly one of the cheesiest ways to try and hit on someone at the bar, sometimes it is successful and sometimes you get shot down in flames like an old World War Two bi-plane and go smashing into the ground. Regardless, when a woman says no thank you, don’t try to verbally attack her and make her feel bad for not accepting your transparent attempt to get into her pants. That’s when I have to step in and say something not nice like “Look man, she doesn’t want your drink and she doesn’t want to talk to you either, so if you’re not going to stop harassing her you can just get the fuck out!” After which she said thank you and agro-man got all butt hurt and complained to his friends how he now “felt weird about the whole situation” and used that as an excuse to not tip me and sulk around for the rest of the time they were there. Kiss my ass man, you should feel weird about being a creepy jerk to a person that just wanted you to leave her alone. Next time I hope you get kicked in the nuts.
Weird vibe in the air last night, I don’t know if it was the creepy old guy trying to invite himself to sit at a table with some girls that could easily be his daughter’s age, or the homeless guy that wanted me to call all the other bars downtown to see if they had his stuff, you know, jackets, weed, the important stuff. The one that stood out though was the doughy blonde guy in his mid-thirties. He was kind of normal looking, that is until he opened his mouth. He enjoyed talking himself up and talking shit to everyone around him when I wasn’t around, but fortunately my regulars let me know what was going on so I gave him his tab to get him out of there. When I dropped off his tab he said “Hey, I’m not done yet buddy!” To which I replied “Yeah, I’m not going to serve you anymore tonight so it’s time to pay up and move on.” Then he started to get a little mouthy and say that it was unfair and unwarranted that I had cut him off so I bristled up a little and asked him “Unfair? Who is in charge of this bar right now? Yes, that would be me. I’m looking out for my boss’ best interest and right now you are a liability so it’s time to go.” Tough guy didn’t have anything to say about that, signed his slip and took off. Of course, I didn’t get a tip and I’m okay with that, if for anything else not to have to listen to this blowhard anymore. It still baffles me when guys act so tough and talk mad shit when they think nobody can hear them, but when they get called out they have nothing to say. All I know is, everyone around was glad to see him go, sorry to whoever’s bar stool he landed on, I’m sure it didn’t last long.
There are a few signs that you should cut yourself off for the night, or in this case the early evening. Firstly, if you have been drinking for a good portion of the day, secondly, if you start drinking someone else’s beverage, not realizing that you don’t have a drink and have already been cut off and, I cannot stress this sign enough, when you think drinking the A-1 out of the condiment caddy is a good idea to try to impress the ladies next to you. I’m not saying that hovering over two ladies while intoxicated drinking steak sauce isn’t a bold move, and it will definitely get you noticed, it just may not bring you positive attention the way that you thought it would. I’m sure in your mind you may have seen yourself bare chested on the back of a majestic steed, wind blowing through your hair ready to invite a fair maiden to join you on an epic journey, but in the real world all everyone else could see was a drunk dude waiting for a cab that should have gone home a long time ago. Happy hour can turn sad quickly if you’re not careful.
Hunter S. Thompson was a great writer. He made images come alive inside your imagination to help you see the story he put down on paper, whether those images were good or disturbing is up to the reader’s interpretation. Last night something was said to me that left nothing to the imagination except bad, gross, horrible images that I am still trying to erase from my memory banks with a little help from beer and a sleeping pill. I get to work and it is kind of slow, so I am contemplating what to do in the slow time, when this nasty old bar hag pipes up and says “You look like you need to get laid! How about you pound a shot and we go to Vegas?” Keep in mind, this chick looked about sixty and was probably about fifty and acting like she was still twenty. Drugs do bad things to people’s looks that they don’t consider until it’s too late. I politely declined, stating that my wife wouldn’t think that was a good idea and quickly moved off to the other end of the bar where I tried to make myself look busy. She must have seen the look of terror on my face and figured out that I was not looking to finance a drug induced romp to Sin City, or at least a cheap bottle of hooch and a thirty-five dollar hotel room down the street and moved on to the next bar. All I have to say is thank you Baby Jesus.
We do not accept prison ID cards in the bar, if that makes me a dick, then you can add that to the running list of things that make me a dick. I don’t need you to get all tough guy with me, that’s just how it is and you acting like a dick will get you invited out of the bar even faster. I know you just got out of prison and want to have a drink, I understand that this is the only form of ID that you have, and yes, it is very apparent that you just got out of prison, both by how you are acting and posturing. First off, let’s just say, good for you, you paid your debt to society, that is very commendable, however, I don’t think your PO would be stoked on you going out to the bar right after you were released. This falls under the category of none of my business, except for the fact that you do not have acceptable proof of who you are, you look like you’re sixteen and you look pissed off at the world. My suggestion, if you must have a drink, would be to have a friend pick up some beers or booze or whatever your beverage of choice is and go to a buddie’s house and go get yourself a suitable form of ID the next day then come see me. Also, keep in mind that I check the local mugshots page regularly and probation violations are a big reason that I see people being arrested, usually from making bad decisions related to drinking after being released. Not judging, just merely pointing out an observation.