Monday, April 02, 2012

Of Goblins, Monkeys, and Crosses

Real writers, by that I mean people other than me, have gotten their inspiration from all sorts of places. Quite a number of them have found their muse in a bar, or in several bars.  I too have seen all sorts of blog inspiring activity going on at my local(s). However bar inspiration is a tricky, tricky thing. You have to go to the bar to find it, but while you are at the bar you have to do what comes naturally, which is to get sauced, right?  A double edged sword in more than one way ( a four edged sword?). Two problems present themselves almost immediately. One you have to be there for the inspiration, but you can't get so drunk that you forget what inspired you. This is VERY difficult to accomplish. A pen and a piece of paper is useful, but in the modern world a i phone with a 'notes' application will be sufficient. The second problem is you have to stay sober(ish) enough to not provide inspiration for some other aspiring Ernest Hemingway. Also, quite tricky especially if your bartender likes to sometimes see how drunk they can get you.

These tales that I can regale you with aren't really that exciting, but they are a slice of American life as it were, and can, in the proper hands, and frame of mind provide at least some entertainment. Shall we start with the guy who drinks PBR in a glass with ice and a cherry through a straw? I think this is, or at least should be, against the law, and it takes a lot of effort not to punch the offender in the face. I mean PBR is a bad enough sin, but with fruit, over ice, through a straw? Outrageous, shameful, and downright awful. Or shall we discuss the other fellow who brings a 'drinking' glove to the bar? I've no idea why, and I don't really want to ask. Maybe his palms are sensitive to cold? Or the older gentleman with a hearing aid that he turns off 'when people start talking shit that I don't want to hear.'  Or the extremely buff fellow that looked like he just came out of the gym going home with a girl my size, and I am not a small man. Or how about the fellow that has to be helped out of the bar by two of his buddies holding him vertical at 8 p.m? I want to party with that guy for sure. Or, the fellow who plays pool wearing two gloves, if you wear two gloves while playing pool, you had better be pretty fucking good, from what I could tell he wasn't that good, and that is just wrong.

 Or we can talk about the bartenders? The one that, for my misdeeds, rightly refuses to serve me, or the one that I can have entire conversations with without either one of us speaking a word? Or the one that just keeps getting fired, and is about to be homeless? Or the one with the girlfriend doing a semester in Cambridge that still did the old fashioned writing letters thing. The one that heard I was a dab hand with words, and wanted me to help him with the letters. I helped him as best I could after all he had done the hard part, he had the feelings, my part was easy putting them into words. The wait staff are a professional drunks best friend. They sometimes tell us that 'hey your bar tab is getting to be awfully high' or better yet they call us a cab when they realize that even a pro like ourselves is too drunk to make it home alive.

 These are the places where you walk in, and they call you by your first name, and have a pint of your choice of beer poured before your ass hits the seat. It is almost too comfortable, a place where you can get as tight as you want, and know that you will be looked after. As long as you take care of them, they will take care of you. You have your profession of drunk, they are bartender(s) it is a clear, simple relationship, and even if the lines sometimes blur it is one of the more important relationships you will create. You can't tell your boss some of the shit your tell your bartender, if you weren't out sinning against the world in the presence of your bartender, you wouldn't have anything to tell your priest, and you certainly can't tell the wife at home all the troubles you can unburden to your bartender.

If you're dedicated enough, you will go through several bartenders in your drinking career, some of them will fade into the mists of time and booze, and become somebody that you used to know, some may show up at your wedding, and not in a professional capacity, some will be there when your buddies (they count among that group) will pour the last drink you'll ever get on your grave. They are a diverse lot, and for the most part if you are not an idiot drunk, or a madman they will probably at least be very civil towards you. They do work on tips, but a good bartender, a bartender that you've established a rapport with, will not be concerned with your tipping. After all, if they are good at what they do, and you have any sort of breeding whatsoever, you will over tip them on principle.  Good bartenders are hard to find, and over tipping is a sign of both respect for them as a professional, and a way of paying them back the good turns they will eventually do for you. And you will need good turns done for you, because at some point they will get you drunk enough so that you will need to be turned and pointed in the direction of your house. That is the revenge (so to speak) of a good bartender sometimes they like to get your hammered for their entertainment, after all drunk you can be quite the spectacle, or so at least you've heard. Most of the time you make a spectacle of yourself, you wake up with little memory of the event, for that you should thank (and write this type of 'love song to) your pal, the bartender.

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