Life at TJ's Place
Saturday, May 01, 2004
I'm working with my colors after receiving complaints that readers to the site were going blind. If you see some wild colors in the next few minutes, please bear with me.
Friday, April 30, 2004
I work from 3pm to 3am on Fridays. I am on my break now, sitting in the office blogging and eating my dinner. I look forward to this moment all day long. I have asked everyone: dancers, wait staff and security, to let me have this moment every Friday, and they do. Brad, who is a bartender and bouncer, is in the DJ booth. He is terrible, but he’s the only one who will cover for me for an hour on Friday. He says things like, “Yo, yo, yo, check it out, guys! Here’s our next lovely lady…Britney!” He at least keeps the music going and reminds the guys to tip.

Moe, Larry and Curly are currently sitting at the bar, and Mitch is bartending. I’m looking at them right now through our two-way mirror. Out in the bar, there is a dart board to either side of the “mirror” and it’s kind of fun to sit in the office and watch people play darts. It looks like they’re throwing the darts right at you. (Interesting fact: touch a pen or a coin to a mirror and look at it kind of from the side—if there is a small gap in between the object and its reflection, it’s a real mirror; if the points meet, it’s a two-way and someone is on the other side, watching you touch a coin to their mirror and wondering what the fuck you’re doing.)

Every time I see Moe, he says, “Hey, when you gonna fix my fucking bike?” He is joking; I wrecked the thing over a year ago and have no intention of paying to fix it. I tell Moe his bike was a defective piece of shit and almost killed me. I tell him he’s lucky I don’t sue. Moe says, “Hey, motherfucker, I know people.” I tell Moe I know people, too: one named Smith and one named Wesson. We have had this same conversation every day for a year.

The last time I was behind the bar, Larry and Curly and Mitch were in the middle of a conversation, giving names to the different shits they’d ever taken. This is the kind of thing men talk about in bars. We’re not sitting around trying to solve the crisis in the Middle East. Mostly it’s Larry and Curly giving the names, because they’re older and it’s funnier coming from them. Larry has one he calls “The Beer Can” and another he calls “Howlin’ Wolf”. Curly’s best is “Shock and Awe.” The conversation was a lot more graphic than what I just described. I'm still laughing as I'm writing this.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
We have “road girls” and “house girls” and I know both terms conjure up lots of, you know, ugly things that men conjure up, but those are the names and I can’t change them. We have deals with other clubs around the Midwest, and the road girls show up on Mondays and say hello to me, because I’m the guy you check-in with, if you’re a road girl, on Mondays. Any sexual excitement I get anymore in this job comes from the road girls. It goes like this: I’m a guy, and on a boring Monday afternoon, a beautiful little blonde 20-year-old from Indianapolis or Peoria or Madison or St. Louis comes into the office, shakes my hand and introduces herself, and in one hour I will see her breasts, for free. This is a perk, like free coffee or a good parking space. I did not write these rules, I just adhere to them very strictly.

The “house girls” are women who live here and work regular shifts. They are like company employees as opposed to guest speakers (road girls). No one in an office gets excited when the guy in the next cubicle gets up to make a presentation. And that’s what I meant, originally, when I said this is for everyone who thinks managing a blah-blah-blah would be the blah-blah-blah. I see the house dancers naked more often, I think, than most married people see their spouses naked, unless they really swing, or are nudists. The house dancers stand in the DJ booth naked, they bitch at me because I fucked up their schedule naked, they order food at my desk naked, they use my phone naked, they come in the office and tell me the toilet has backed up naked, they sit across my desk and cry because their boyfriend is an abusive asshole naked. Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry has the girlfriend who is always naked? I can’t look anymore! I’ve seen too much! I know every mole, every scar, every birthmark, every nipple, I know if a dancer has put on 5 pounds.

So, to my old high school friend who came into the club Monday night, and surprised me by screaming in my face, “YOU LUCKY COCKSUCKER!”, I will be at your house one night and surprise your girlfriend as she’s getting out of the shower, and I’ll return the favor. And if you’re polite like I was, you’ll go, “Hey, Kev! No shit, do you believe this shit!”

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
One (or all) of the middle schools must have had an in-service or something yesterday because the skateboarders were out in our parking lot before we opened up. They are in the 12-14 year old range, lost in their own world, shy to the rest. Hours on end, especially in the summer, they try one simple little jump: down our sidewalk, pop over the curb, try to flip their skateboard in the air once (I guess it would be a twist and not a flip), then land on it and ride it out. I have never seen them land this jump successfully out of maybe 500 attempts that I’ve watched.

Yesterday I walked out of our side door and got the required look from skateboarders when an adult walks out of a door, onto a parking lot, where kids are skating and shouldn’t be. They all went hang-dog and started moping around, waiting for me to chew them out or tell them to leave.

I said, “Don’t you guys ever land that jump?” They all perked up and said, “What? Huh? What?” excitedly, standing up, grabbing their boards. I said, “I’ve watched you guys for months and I’ve never seen you land that jump one time. You trip, you fall, you break your ankles. Haven’t you ever landed it?”

Okay, I have seen them land it maybe 5 times, but I wanted to see how they’d react. Besides, landing it 5 times out of 500 is right next to not landing it at all. So they took my challenge enthusiastically (a brief audience with an adult, the species that shoos them off and posts no-skateboarding signs and would be happier if they smoked crack or played video games so long as they don’t do it in our parking lots) and I stood there for 10 minutes until one of them finally hit the jump and skated off, pumping his fist. I threw up my hands and told them I could die happy now, and for them to please not kill themselves. One of them asked me if there were any “naked chicks” inside. The only women in the club at the time were two cleaning ladies.

I told him, “Yeah, it’s a pretty wild scene.”
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Kev, can I go home early tonight?”

This is a phrase I hear a lot. As in 50 times a night. Usually they wait until after midnight, but I’ve had girls ask to go home at 10:30 when their shift started at 8:00. I only have myself to blame for this mess, because I generally like all the dancers and got too loose with letting them go early. The girls know I will let three or four of them go home early on Friday nights, so they started asking me earlier in the night, wanting to reserve their ticket. I make dumb rules like no asking to go home early before midnight, and to my surprise it took them all of three nights before they decided to shit all over that rule.

I try to reason with them. I say things like, “You know, Katie, out in non-lala-land where people build tractors and sell insurance and things like that, people don’t ask to go home early every other shift they work. They’d eventually be fired.” When I say things like this, the dancers look at me like I’m telling them how concrete works. I once told a dancer she could not go home early and she pulled out a piece of paper which listed how many times each girl had gotten to go home early the previous two weeks. It was this incredibly detailed list, with updates and comments and footnotes. I ignored her list and told her I thought she was channeling her energy in a really negative direction. I was almost fed my own testicles for that one.

Friday night there was a fight in the club. If you call one punch a fight. The guy who got pasted was a drunk asshole. I wanted to congratulate the guy who hit him, but I had to act stern and disapproving. He ended up going to jail.

This is a recap of the fight:

“Sit down, dickhead!”

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