Life at TJ's Place
Friday, June 04, 2004
A lot of alcoholics fall off the wagon at strip clubs. They justify going to the club because there’s more to do there than just sit and drink. They tell their friends, “But I go to ball games, and I go boating. It’s the same thing.” If you’re a recovering alcoholic and you’re serious about your recovery, you have no business coming to a strip joint. I think if you’re a recovering alcoholic and you’re considering going to a strip club, you haven’t hit your bottom yet and you’re probably not ready to quit drinking.

Here’s what happens when a recovering alcoholic comes into the club. He comes with friends and they all sit down near the stage. He orders a Diet Coke from the waitress. His friends all order a shot of tequila or Jagermeister and a beer. They make a toast of some sort, usually, “All right, let’s make a toast…here’s to BIG TITTIES AND GOOD FRIENDS!” They toast with their shot glasses or beer and Bob, the guy with two feet hanging off the edge of the wagon, toasts with his glass of pop. Soon there’s a 19-year-old brunette girl wearing no shirt standing in front of him. Her smile says, How would you like to see the top of my head moving up and down in your lap, you fucking sexy designated driver? She smells amazing. She would smell even more amazing, he thinks, if she were doused with tequila and he could lay her down and lick every square inch of her body. She does her thing for him and he tips her a dollar. He has a woody now. We’re talking major wood, the can’t-sit-comfortably kind. He’s delirious with excitement, he thinks she actually likes him and he may have a shot with her but he’s too nervous to be cool and funny. He is imagining something very warm and very wet on her perfect body moving over the end of his penis.

He finishes his Diet Coke. He sees the waitress and orders another one. His friends are high-fiving about something. One of them screams, “This is a thousand percent better when you’re FUCKING WASTED!” and they all cheer. The waitress is still there. He thinks for a second and then asks her, “Hey, can I get a twist of lemon in that?” (I’ve seen this a hundred times, any guy who is determined not to drink in the bar will eventually ask for lemon or lime wedges or cherries in his non-alcoholic drink as he’s… sliding…off…the…wagon).

Eventually, he goes to the bathroom, and passes the bar. He stops at the bar and looks around. He reaches for his wallet. He lost his battle when he first considered coming into this place.

On a side note, there is a little tavern near my house that will give you a free drink if you bring in an anniversary chip from Alcoholics Anonymous. You been sober for 30 days? Fuck that, have a beer on us!

Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Speaking of which...

When I was a bartender, I was working by myself one night at the bar and Ron was there, sitting at the bar with some business associates or whatever. I overheard one of the guys talking about the Indianapolis Colts football team, and I could tell by the way he was talking that he was a fan. They ordered a round later and I brought it to them. This was at a point, remember, where I doubt Ron even knew my name. The guy who was talking about the Colts reached into his pocket to pay (if you’ve never been in a bar, people who buy rounds lean to one side and reach for their wallet and say, “No, I got this one,” or “No, I got it”—if you don’t, you cannot buy the round). Of course, we don’t charge Ron or his friends for their drinks, so I said to the guy, “No, man, I just got a call from Peyton Manning and he said all your drinks are on him tonight.” Peyton Manning is the Colts’ quarterback. If you’re a Colts fan, he’s God. I thought I was being really clever, but then I got worried, thinking Ron would disapprove, because I was eavesdropping. Instead, they all laughed and Ron said, “See that? That’s a good bartender...always knows what’s going on at his bar.” Then I felt all warm and fuzzy.

Moe, the contractor with the fucked-up bike, drinks Captain Morgan and Cokes in a tall glass. He ambles into the club at about 4:30 everyday and stands at the bar. He looks around like something is missing. Then he holds out his hands and says, “Where the fuck’s The Captain?” I used to tell him, when I was bartending, “He’s in the can.” Then Moe would say as he took his barstool, “Well, motherfucker, when he gets out, tell him somebody’s here to see him.” By that time I would usually have his Captain and Coke on the bar. I miss bartending.

Larry drinks Coors Light beer. Moe uses a very sharp pocket knife to poke tiny holes in Larry’s beer can, right under where his lower lip hits the can when he takes a drink. It’s the greatest bar trick in the world. After several years, Larry has an iron-clad defense of his beer cans. He takes them to the bathroom with him, he carries it everywhere. He always checks for a tiny poke-hole before a drink. Larry doesn’t live in fear, he’s just careful.

This trick is very funny, especially when it’s the victim’s first time. You poke a very tiny little hole just under the lower lip spot. The smaller the hole the better. Also, hiding the little hole among the beer can’s small lettering on the side of the can is an art form. Moe is the master, and a beer can his canvas. I’ve seen guys who knew the hole was there but they still couldn’t find it. You wait until the guy goes to the bathroom, then you poke the hole in his can. Tiny, tiny. The guy comes back, takes a drink, beer dribbles down his chin. He wipes his mouth and sets his beer can down. He thinks, like we all have, that he’s tipped the can too fast and it’s run past the corner of his mouth. He drinks again, more beer dribbles down his chin. After the third or fourth time, he begins to wonder how drunk he really is. He might even say, “Christ, I must be fucking drunk,” as he’s wiping the beer off his chin. He holds up his beer can and examines it—if Moe was on his game, I mean if he really planted the perfect cut, the guy could use a microscope and he wouldn’t find it.

Here’s a PS: if you try this, take some test runs first. Practice on your own can, in the safety of your own home. You twist the knife back and forth, back and forth, until you feel the aluminum begin to give a little. If you do it the first time in a bar, you’ll put a gash in the can that you can fit a coin through. I’ve seen it. It’s still funny, because the guy will be wearing his entire beer, but it’s better if you can sit back and watch for a few minutes.

Monday, May 31, 2004
I had other issues when I posted yesterday, and I kind of skipped over the part about Charlie’s son, Ron, coming into the club on Friday. Ron’s a full-time playboy and part-time entrepreneur. He comes into the club about once a month with “clients” of his, whatever they are, but I know they are guys who have money or Ron wouldn’t be wasting his time wining and dining them. Ron always has a scheme of one sort or another that he’s trying to get off the ground. There’s a breed of human being that doesn’t have money of its own and is always seeking a “backer.” Ron is of this breed. The fact that he is always seeking a backer means his ideas are shit, because if they were any good he would only need a backer one time and then he’d be off and running. I truly don’t know what he does, if anything, for a living. I know that he doesn’t wear socks. He’s always tan.

Ron has been pretty decent to me, but everybody’s anxiety goes up a little bit when he comes in, really for no reason except that Ron can be kind of unpredictable. He’s one of those guys who likes to keep you slightly uneasy when you’re around him. I’d like to explain to Ron that this massive character flaw is probably one of the reasons no one wants to give him money, because he makes them feel creepy. You’ll be having a nice conversation with him, then he’ll say something that may or may not have been a joke, and if it wasn’t a joke it was totally rude, then he’ll walk away from you and leave you standing there with a dumb little nervous smile on your face and your mouth open.

Kev: Hey, Ron, what’s up tonight?
Ron: Nothing, Kevin, how are you?
Kev: I’m fine. How are you guys doing?
Ron: What are you, writing a fucking book?

Then he walks away. And there I stand, looking queasy and dumb, my smile saying oh, man, please tell me that was a joke. Sometimes he’ll leave you hanging on a handshake, which, in my opinion, is punishable by death. There are so many assholes in this business. But I guess this business doesn’t exactly attract the best people in the world.

Sunday, May 30, 2004
Another advantage of the notebook computer: you can blog (or at least write your blog on Word) while your house is surrounded by thunderstorms and tornadoes, just go on battery power and you don’t have to worry about your power going out and losing info or fucking up your computer. Of course, when the tornado hits your house, it’s another matter altogether.

I dated a dancer named Tara (her real name is something very innocent, like Katie or Julie) when I was a bartender. Actually dated dated, like going to movies and dinner and that kind of thing. She started dancing right about the same time I started bartending; in fact, I remember when she first came in and remember watching her the first time she danced. We became friends, she hung out at the bar a lot and eventually we went out after work one night (morning) and had a relationship for a couple months. We’re just friends now and have that kind of relationship that’s just a little bit different than being friends with other people—the we’ve had sex so we don’t have to be cute around each other now friendship. Not long ago she told me when she was drunk that I was the only guy she’s ever fallen for, but she’s not in love with me now.

When we dated, we used to talk about how we were going to do this only for awhile, to save up some money and yes, we were both going back to school. She had dropped out like me. She wanted (wants?) to be an interior designer or decorator. Everybody knows what I want to do. We still smile at each other when we talk about that.

The reason I wrote this is because Friday night I was having a really shitty night at work. The owner’s son came in with some business clients of his, and that makes everybody nervous. I was having dancer issues. Our bartender, Brad, gave the cordless bar telephone to some young guy, even though he’s not supposed to let customers use the phone. So the kid takes the call and I just let it slide and kind of forget about it. I look over probably 10 minutes later and the guy is sitting there still talking on our phone. Just like he’s in his own fucking living room, kicking back, laughing. I walked over to the bar and told Brad, “Brad, hang that fucking phone up right now.” Brad looked absolutely stunned because I’ve never spoken to him like that before, but you just can’t understand how mad that made me. Fucking people anymore. Give ‘em an inch. The guy would have sat there on the phone until the battery wore out or somebody yelled at him. And then I felt bad the rest of the night because I yelled at Brad and he looked so shocked. Nine times out of ten I would have walked up to the kid and said, “Hey, man, that’s our only line out here, we need our phone back,” and the guy would have hung up the phone, end of story.

So Tara came up into the booth, wearing her street clothes because I told her she could go home early if she wanted because it was already 12:30 and nobody had asked me yet. She saw that I was stressed out and she didn’t say anything, she just put her head on my shoulder and wrapped her arms around my waist and we just kind of stood there for awhile, then she said goodbye and went home. Some people just know the right things to do.

I’ve noticed that I use a lot of (these) when I write in my blog, and it’s something I’ve never really done before when I wrote. It’s laziness. Tacking on thoughts instead of working them into the sentence. This is not very interesting.

Happy Memorial Day

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