A Certain Level of Unprofessionalism VII

Bartender

First of all, I would like to thank those of you who subscribe to The Opiate. Readership is growing and becoming more consistent and I hope that’s an indication that I’m doing something right. So, if you enjoy the site, please subscribe. In a way, it feels like I am back behind a bar in the company of my regulars. That being said, I also want to address a couple of emails (from people I don’t know) that have been sent advising me on what I should write or how I should write it. Unlike a bar, I am not here to serve you. I am here to entertain, but I will approach that entertainment with my own style. I don’t need to know what I should have done in a certain situation. I learned that by experiencing that certain situation. This is a free blog. You can get one too. Shut the fuck up.

Charles Bukowski said that writing was a form of insanity, but writing, for me, is what keeps me sane.  If you’ve ever tried to quit smoking, or gone without food for an extended period of time, that deep guttural violent anger that builds inside you is how I feel if I don’t write. I’ve become more observant, and with that, less tolerable of people who present distraction from my pursuit of experience, fulfillment, and joy.

And on we go to the next installment of the ACLU series.

I got my first bartending job by lying on the application. I said I had experience. The first drink I made was a Shirley Temple, but I didn’t even know what grenadine was. The server who asked me for the drink gave me the most beautiful smile I had ever seen when I asked her what grenadine was. Then, she replied: “It’s that red shit in your rail you fucking moron.”

That first year or two that I learned the trade, not that you ever stop learning things behind a bar, made up some of the most significant things in my young life. I learned that you can catch hepatitis C by snorting coke through dollar bills. (I don’t know if that’s true.) I learned about asshole tax, how to adjust the lights to make everyone more attractive, and that Rumplemintz is delicious. I learned that saying the first thing that comes to mind isn’t always the best idea, but for me, typically the funniest. I also learned to quickly identify douchebags. So, it was with great pleasure when I returned to Mississippi to work at another bar that I had the opportunity to work with the two people who taught me to bartend. And during my stint at The Library Sports Bar in Oxford, Mississippi, I learned a better articulation of the term, douchebag.

Douchebag – (n.) 1. A man who wears a brand new Harley-Davidson embroidered biker jacket and rides a Sportster and drinks Michelob Ultra. 2. A person who drinks Michelob Ultra. 3. A frat boy wearing a blazer with patches on the elbows who complains that his vodka cranberry isn’t pink enough. 4. A person who yells incessantly for the bartender’s attention. 5. A person who orders one drink at a time for a group of people. 6. A person with a moustache who can’t kick you in the face.

So, if you come close to matching the descriptions above, you’re a douchebag. If you have to think, even for a moment, yep. Douchebag. Here’s how to fix it or at least make it a little better.

1) TIP WELL

If you’re tipping 15% on good service, you’re a prick. Think about this for a moment:  Over the past ten/twenty years or more, more and more people have started paying with credit cards instead of cash. Since more people are paying with credit cards, servers and bartenders are now claiming more, so that fifteen percent you’ve tipped is going straight to the Man. You pay taxes too, right? But you don’t make less than minimum wage, asshole. Twenty percent should be the norm. Fuck the Man. He doesn’t make drinks.

2) SHUT THE FUCK UP

When you’re waiting in the doctor’s office do you yell his name when he passes through or comes out to speak to another patient? No, you say? Then why are you yelling the bartender’s name? Shut the fuck up. Just like the doctor, the bartender knows you’re there. He or She will get to you when it’s your turn. If he or she is ignoring you, well, see Rule # 1. Seriously, shut the fuck up.

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