So for my “real” job, I tend bar at an *ahem* amusement facility. (My wife just messaged me and wanted me to make it clear that I do NOT work at a strip club. If only.) It’s my second go-around in this particular job. I left more than a year ago to work a day job (at which I was unappreciated and miserable almost right from the start). It wasn’t a hard decision to go back behind the bar. I like my co-workers and management, the customers already knew me, and I knew pretty much how the place ran from working there before.
I really enjoy tending bar, because 1) it’s fun; 2) you can make a lot of money in relatively few hours; and 3) funny shit happens on a regular basis.
First, a quick cast of characters*:
Patty: The long-term manager. She’s stubborn, and funny, and she can be flat-out tough on you if you don’t play by her rules. But she also has a heart of gold. (Which she doesn’t want anyone else to know. I’m on to her, though.)
Smitty: The assistant manager. He’ll probably end up running the place one day, if Patty ever gets fed up enough to quit (probably not gonna happen). A lot of the time he’s unintentionally funny, which makes him a good foil for me. Also, I know he reads this blog — he’ll either be amused or horrified at these stories. I’m betting a little of both.
Cool Hand Luke: Another assistant manager, usually works weekends. Easily mistaken for Barack Obama. Everyone likes working with Luke. Easygoing, until it’s time to not be easygoing.
Stanley: A tall, thin guy who has a habit of starting a conversation with you, then wandering off while he’s saying something — or even more fun, while you’re saying something.
Hopper: Foul-mouthed African-American kitchen worker who hates her customers.
There are others to introduce, but these are the co-workers I have the most interaction with. They are all fun and interesting, in their own ways, and we regularly crack up over something a customer has done or said. Since I work in the bar (and hence deal with the most drunks), my stories are usually pretty good.
Take this week for example. I’ve had several hilarious experiences in two nights of work:
A) A customer came to the bar on a night when we serve a single draft beer for $1 and asked me “How much is a dollar beer?” There are some questions I can’t answer, so I just let them go. Eventually they’ll figure it out. Maybe.
B) Another customer asked, in all seriousness: “What time does midnight bowling start?” If you don’t know, I can’t help you. I’m guessing it might be past your bedtime, though.
and finally, C) A young woman came in and was chatting with me at the bar. She asked if I enjoyed bartending, and we discussed it for a few moments. After we affirmed that I do, in fact, enjoy bartending, she asked me if I’d ever worked in a bar.
I looked around. There were the beer taps behind me. Beer cooler featuring all the worst macrobrews InBev and Miller-Coors makes. Liquor bottles lined up neatly on their shelves. Indirect lighting (so as to help the desperate and horny make a possibly bad decision even worse). Shaker. Glassware. Graduated shot glass. Ice. Sliced lemons and limes.
I try never to mock the patrons (at least to their faces), but I could not help myself. I patted the girl on the arm and gently said, “You know, they say there are no dumb questions, right?”
The young lady nodded and smiled.
“They were wrong,” I said, and went away to fill a pitcher of beer.
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent — and the guilty.