This month on one of the basic cable channels they are featuring an “Action Movie Month”. Naturally there are plenty of Clint Eastwood films. I can’t believe I never noticed this before as I have watched all the spaghetti westerns and Dirty Harry movies for years. Anyone who has watched a Dirty Harry movie knows that Det. “Dirty” Harry Callahan packs a .44 magnum pistol. This is a HUGE and very powerful handgun. Frankly it’s kind of overkill and unnecessary for police work.
Cain and Abel ( I wrote this blog entry in April, which would explain the Easter reference and shows how on top of my writing and editing.)
My new hobby is reading negative reviews on YELP and imagining the bitter a$$hoes who write them. I like to translate what they write VS what probably really happened. I posted a few of these on Facebook yesterday and was thrilled when two friends chimed in and suggested I put this on my blog. Hope everyone enjoys it. Please note that all of my YELP reviews are fair, thoughtful, and subtlety genius. I also promise, from this day forward to write all forthcoming YELP reviews in haiku format.
Waitress didn’t flirt with me
One star for you ,bitch
“I wish they’d let me give zero stars”
Yeah, Yeah,. well Yelp doesn’t. Don’t worry, you have enough bitterness in your review to get the point across”
“I waited 35 minutes for a waitress”
Translation: You waited 6-8 minutes.
“I politely asked….”
Translation: You demanded something in the most entitled and snotty manner possible
“The server was really rude”
Translation: The server put up with your rude, trifling, and ridiculous behavior for over an hour…then you caught them rolling their eyes at you.
“I’ll never come here again”
Translation: “I hope the manager or owner reads my litany of BS and invites me back for a free drink, drinks or a meal and begs for forgiveness. I also hope I get a waiter or waitress fired”
“I had a Group-On/Restaurant.com coupon and they wouldn’t honor it”
Translation: “I am unbelievably cheap and petty. I only go to places where I can get discounts via my scouring the internet for coupons…In addition to the free stuff I got with the coupon, I wanted more…MUCH more. I ordered $50 worth of food and drinks, but I only tipped for the $25 on the check…and I still found plenty to complain about. I was annoyed by the conditions of the coupon and bitched about it til a manager gave me what I wanted in an attempt to just get me to leave”
“They didn’t have a children’s menu”
Translation: “My child screamed and ruined the other patrons meals…then the waiter had to pick up all the drooled upon cheerios I bring everywhere for my precious larva”
“They RUINED my birthday”:
“They totally screwed up our reservation”
Translation: “Our party showed up late and one at a time over the course of an hour and a half during the busiest time for the restaurant, and we had to wait for 5 minutes for the table that had been reserved for an hour before we were able to be seated”
“The waitress ignored me”
Translation: “I was on my cell phone and sending banal text messages every time our server came by to check on our table, except for one instance where I made a face at the server and waved them to be gone with a rude and dismissive wave of my hand. I had to, she was interrupting my “N.M. U?” text ”
“The waitress was really rude.”
Translation: Female: “I suspect my boyfriend was attracted to the waitress and now I want her fired for being marginally attractive”
Male: ” I tried to flirt with the waitress, but she wasn’t interested, and now I’m butt-hurt”
G.A.F (Warning: This blog post contains coarse language and profanity….Don’t come crying to me if you’re offended. You’ve been warned)Posted: August 31, 2015 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized
Last weekend while having a lovely Thai dinner with my dear friends; Gow and Poopie Pants, I had an epiphany. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant one, but I suppose the point of having epiphanies is to become enlightened or inspired, and not necessarily to feel warm and fuzzy. This one had the opposite effect on me. It made me feel gross and sweaty. Hopefully I can move forward after this moment of inspired realization and be happier and wiser.
I have always excelled at obnoxiousness. I’m really good at it. I mean really good. Ask anyone I went to school, worked or shared an apartment with…they’ll confirm this with accompanying stories of my obnoxious prowess. Now being obnoxious is not an endearing quality, but it can, under precise and specific circumstances be funny or even useful.
Tags: Annoyances, Guys, Humor, Life
My full time best friend and part-time editor/muse ( Musitor? Edimuse?) made a writing suggestion to me today. It’s interesting having a woman as your best friend, because women remember select things we menfolk said that we weren’t necessarily paying attention to when we were saying them. “Yeah honey, Neo- Feminist Broadway musical “The Mighty Va-Jay” with an all deaf mute gay male cast…got a big write up in the Times? Well now, we’ll just have to get tickets for that.”
Fast forward to the AFC Playoff weekend…
“When did I say I wanted to see this? WHEN? I don’t care, the guys are coming over, I have spent 2 weeks pay on chips and beer, Armando is going to fire up his new grill right here in the living room…OK honey, stop crying, we’ll go….we’ll go…we’ll go, Oh I can wear my lucky Patriots hoody to the musical and were going out for Ethiopian buffet after with the ever-clucking hens from your office? That’s your compromise?. Well just kill me now God. I can die happy”
Women store up this information. Then they bring these things to our attention. They usually do this when they begin to lose an argument and need to switch to a higher caliber ammunition to get the job done. Let this stand as a warning for all men to ignore. They are always listening when we are running our yaps. They are storing up all that nonsense you’re happily spewing forth, and they WILL bring it up again, to be used against you at a most inconvenient time. You heard it here first boys.
“Know what I think you should write about?” The Gow asked me semi-rhetorically. I answered in the negative. “You should write about that time when you were making yourself upset about asking your dad to pick you up from the train station”. I vaguely remember this. Scratch that. I don’t remember it at all. However, the part of the sentence “making yourself upset” I can easily relate to, so maybe that’s why it seemed familiar. Sounds just like me.
I spend a lot of time making myself angry, anxious and upset. This is not so strange or uncommon I suppose. What is a little whackadoo where I am concerned is that I make myself angry, anxious or upset by imagining possibilities of things that have not happened. This is fascinating as I am quite easily one of the most anxious and angry people I know…and I know lots of angry and/or anxious people. Frankly, it is my opinion, that if you’re paying any attention whatsoever, you should be anxious and angry. Yet, despite being A&A, my silly little brain has to cultivate new and even fictitious things to keep me feeling “normal”. This is one of the curses of creative people. Our funny little brains are always on the go, knocking on doors, creating scenarios.
Now as I said, I don’t recall the exact reference that my musitor ;The Gow was speaking of. Apparently one time when I was going to visit the Pater, and I was making myself angry because I had to ask him to pick me up at a train or bus station, and I had expected my father to hem and haw over this, in turn I’d get angry and revisit every childhood trauma in the ensuing argument. I rehearsed in my head what I’d say, and every possible response. I got angrier and angrier at my goddamn selfish asshole of a father, who couldn’t be bothered to pry his ass from the couch and pick up his son who was coming to visit him. God forbid the bastard ever comes to see me. Oh NOOOOOO that would be too difficult. Visiting your son? How absurd, and another thing dad…let me just say for the record, I remember, oh I remember all too well that you were busy watching the Immaculate Reception documentary with your buddies, when I begged you to help me with my spelling homework. You blame ME for quitting school? Yeah, uh maybe think that one over Ward Cleaver…and another thing..
Get the idea?
By the way, according to my archivist, The Gow said my father told me he’d be happy to pick me up from the train station. Not a millisecond’s hesitation.
I think most people imagine and rehearse possible conversations, encounters and confrontations. Doesn’t everyone dream of telling their boss off and making them cry and beg you to stay with a huge raise and an apology?
What is scarier, where I am concerned regarding these inner dialogues that I rehearse all the live long day, is that they don’t always stay up in my head. Often they actually make it south down to my almighty cake hole and I start arguing with myself when I’m alone. Well, “muttering” is perhaps a more accurate description. I’m a big mutterer.. I finally figured out something about myself. I often tell people how important and valuable “my alone time” is to me. Now I know why. I have too many internal arguments that need my immediate attention. It’s important to keep on top of these things or I’ll run the risk of hurting the feelings of one of the little voices in my head. Can’t have that. I wrote about this once before…Well, sort of.
I like to think of myself as entertainingly and creatively insane, but not quite ready to be “taken away”. Although the psychiatric community may disagree with my vast and extensive community college expertise, but I think the difference between entertainingly crazy and need-to-be-taken away crazy, is that I don’t make up different little voices for my many and extensive inner disagreements. Know how I came to this theory? First of all I made it up, and second because Norman Bates did it in Psycho. I have also had the chance to observe that kind of behavior first hand, and it’s both scary and funny.
Years ago many of my friends and I moved out of the parental nests and jam packed ourselves into questionable roommate situations. One such situation involved my friend Colin, this girl I barely knew named Francine, a few dozen couch surfers and McKinley Moore. Professor Moore, as many people called him was more or less a street person and acid casualty from the 1960s. There were quite of few of these creatures bopping around my college town home. McKinley subsidized his income by buying liquor for high school and college kids who weren’t quite 21 years old yet. It may sound odd, but I assure you, there was money to be made doing this in a Massachusetts college town with strict liquor laws.
Regardless, McKinley was an odd duck. Like many street people, he had developed an aversion to bathing, which in turn caused an aversion to our getting within 10 feet of him in the hot, humid Summers. “Yeah McKinley, can you get me a six pack of Heineken and a pint of Jack Daniels. No the money’s over there waiting for you under that brick next to the VW Beetle…No no, don’t come any closer, I have uh poison ivy…Just get the liquor and slide it over to me with a broom stick.”
So, the eccentric and smelly McKinley lived with Colin, Francine and several others crowded into a two bedroom apartment. Francince’s room was actually a large walk in closet with a tapestry for a door and for privacy. McKinley’s room was next to hers. One evening, Francine tapped on Colin’s door when we were drinking beer and playing cards. She entered looking a little frightened. “McKinley is talking to himself” she said when we asked what was wrong. “Yeah? So?” we answered. This really wasn’t such an odd occurrence given McKinley’s overall behavior and his mannerisms. Francine got impatient and said “He’s having a conversation with himself and people who aren’t there…and he’s doing all these… different little voices for all of them.”
We exploded with laughter.
“It’s not funny you guys.” Francine whined. “I don’t have a door and I don’t want one of his imaginary friends coming in and killing or raping me in my sleep.”
“You’d rather be awake for the sex?” I offered. (An asshole and smart-ass even back then.)
Francine kicked me.
“When did he do this?” asked Colin laughing.
“I gotta hear this.” said Adam who was there that night.
We all crept out of Colin’s room and toward the stairs quietly, or as quietly as tipsy men tend to think they are being and listened to McKinley’s convo. Sure enough, Francine had been telling the truth. McKinley had a funny and distinct voice. It reminded me slightly of the Cheech and Chong black blues-man character “Blind Melon Chitlin”
McKinley’s voice: ” I wonder if I should pop in and ask Francine if she has any….uh…grass.”
McKinley doing a weird high-pitched woman’s voice ” I don’t think she’s in her room.”
McKinley” Uhh are you quite certain?”
We listened to this bizarre conversation for a few more minutes, trying not to crack up. Francine changed rooms the next time someone moved out. Although I have always felt that McKinley was more or less harmless, I think I’d be a little disturbed hearing such conversations also.
So, luckily I am not making up other little voices for my inner dialogues. Not yet anyway.
I have been trying to be more patient, more…Zen, more understanding and more enlightened. I have found myself in serious danger of becoming the “Hey you kids, get off my lawn” guy. My mother, when living in a condo complex actually found yelling at small children from her window enjoyable, but I’m trying to put that phase of my life off for a few years yet. Besides, mom needed a new hobby, besides disapproving of her only son. I’ve always kept pretty busy.
> Unfortunately, despite my efforts, there still seems to be some vast and elaborate international conspiracy to keep me medicated and angry. I understand, I’m comedic entertainment personified when I mumble to myself, scowl and look up to the heavens and mouth “Why?”
> In one of my efforts to be more like a cross between Mr. Rogers and the Dalai Lama, I have made a serious effort to refrain from ranting about my profession. I’m a bartender, and a damn mediocre one at that. I’ve stopped with the weekly or bi-weekly laments of the pitfalls and wacky hijinks of my job. This is because, I frankly don’t think people want to hear ( or read ) about it. Plus, it’s my job. It took me decades to reach that elusive conclusion. Ever notice that with the perpetually cranky?. Their very profession and the work in entails seems to infuriate them It’s my job to pour drinks., restock the bar, do some cleaning, and be nice to customers in the hope that they will tip me, and honor me as well as my employers with their repeated custom ( and tip some more ) If I don’t like doing these things, I can go back to being a male escort and CIA mole. So, I am going to take a new approach. I’m not going to rant and rave. I’m not going to kvetch and bitch. I’m going to suggest. I’m going to suggest nicely, humorously, and kindly. There are inevitably going to be clueless and selfish jerks that make my job not so fun, Oh who am I kidding…there are people out there who make me feel like I am being punished for being a particularly sadistic concentration camp guard in a previous life.
> Suggestion Number One : Beer
> Once upon a time in American bars and pubs there weren’t many beers to choose from. You had your Bud, Lite Beer from Miller ( Less Filling-Tastes Great, Awesome commercials with Rodney Dangerfield and John Madden) there was Lowenbrau. Michelob and maybe, MAY-be some import like Heineken. It was easy-peasy-Japanesy to recite a beer list. Oh sure, people probably sang the Lowenbrau jingle to bartenders to their annoyance; “So tonight….TO-N-I-I-GHT…let it be Lowenbrau”, Annoying yes, but at the end of the day, that’s really not so bad, These days we have literally hundreds of imports and craft beers. Bock, Stout, Lager, Ales, Pilsners, IPAs, ICBMs, IUDs, IOUs and so on and so forth. According to statistics that I am pulling out of my ass, most bars these days have an average of 12-16 drafts and another 15-30 various bottles and cans. Every bar has a list of their bill of fare…or they line up all the pretty bottles and cans so you can see what’s available. The only problem with this system is that…people have to actually look, think and read. You see where this is going?
> Instead of looking, thinking and reading, they ask for the information that is easily avoided BY looking, thinking and reading. They ask the bartender, ie ME. I can’t describe the personal difficulty I have in remaining pleasant, patient and helpful when someone stands 5 inches from the taps…the clearly LABELLED taps, and asks “What do you guys have on draft?’. This question is only acceptable if the customer making the inquiry has dark Ray Charles sunglasses on and a German Sheppard on a funny leash…Then I generally become quite helpful.
> Last week my boss Sean and I had a realization that I like to call “Murphy’s Law of Beer # 4A”.
> “Murphy’s Law Of Beer 4A”: If a customer asks what beers do you have, and you recite the entire list, the following conversation will always occur.
> Customer:”Hi, what kind of beer do you guys have on draft?”
> Me ( Being Nice and not pointing to the various labeled taps as I recite the list ) Sam Adams, Sam Adams Seasonal, Stella Artois, Guinness, Founders Porter, Lagunitas IPA. Goose Island IPA, Sweet Action, Radeberger, Wiehenstephan, Shock Top, Bud Light, Smithwicks, Old Speckled Hen and Harp”
> Yes we have this many beers on tap. Maybe I should point at each of the beer taps as I recite. I’ll just have to keep a big, friendly grin on my face so I don’t appear rude or sarcastic, despite being, y’know, rude and sarcastic.
> Customer: “OK I’ll have a Labatts”
> Me: “Uh we don’t carry Labatts”
> Customer: “You don’t?”
> Me: “No”
> Customer: “OK….what do you have again?”
> Me: “Sam Adams, Sam Adams Seasonal, Stella Artois, Guinness, Founders Porter, Lagunitas IPA. Goose Island IPA, Sweet Action, Radeberger, Wiehenstephan, Shock Top, Bud Light, Smithwicks, Old Speckled Hen and Harp”
> Customer: ( Here’s where the fun begins ) “But you don’t have Labatts?”
> Me:” No”.
> Customer: “Really?”
> Me: ” Yes….Really” (Thinking. ‘Yeah, I’m lying…you didn’t use the secret Labatts password and I’m not allowed to pour you one unless you do’. In addition to looking, thinking and reading, I see we’re going to avoid listening too.)
> Customer: “Um I don’t know….what was that third thing you said?”
> Me: (Hopefull) “Stella?”
> Customer: “No-o-o-o”
> A two minute pause while I stand with my eyebrows raised awaiting a decision. Customer stares blankly. They still haven’t read the labels on the taps.
> Customer: ” I don’t know….
> Me:( Smiling ) “Do you need a minute?” This is polite bar and restaurant speak for “I want to go away and come back when you’ve decided, or died while deciding”
> Customer: “No”
> Customer: ” I’m sorry, what do you have on tap again?”
> I don’t need to go on do I? The punch line of this joke is they will eventually order the blandest, commonplace beer ever. All that rigmarole and you ordered a Bud Light?
> Suggestion Number Two: Your Cellphone
> I have lamented over the complete lack of cell phone etiquette far too many times to revisit it again. My conclusion after extensive research:” Cell phones are rude inventions and people simply aren’t going to change the rude behavior associated with them. ” Yes, I have a cell phone. I use it less than 5 or 6 times a month. You’d be amazed how easy it is. No, I am not going to address your precious Apple, Samsung or whatever brand of life support system you’re constantly tapping on and staring at. I am going to address a common inquiry that confuses and frustrates me. If you’re always on your cell phone and simply can’t bear to be without it for 30 seconds, wouldn’t it make sense to carry a charger with you? As I have said I use my cell phone less than 10 times a month, and I keep a charger in my back pack. Want to know why? Because, as seldom as I use my phone, I understand it needs regular charging if I plan to use it.
> So, why…Oh why am I being asked 10 or 20 times daily “Uh do you have an I-phone 5 charger I can use?” Well now, let’s see, we’re a bar…we have stools, liquor, beer, cleaning supplies, the token drunkard muttering angrily to himself in a corner, a baseball bat under the bar for political discussions, first aid kit….but no, lo and behold no i-phone chargers for cell phone junkies. Isn’t it even a little presumptuous that you can use our electrical outlets and our electricity free of charge? I may start asking for a dollar from now on, and revel in the sadistic power the dealer has over a junky.
> Why on Earth would we have chargers for you? What else do you need at the bar? We have napkins and pens to write down the numbers of that guy or gal who’s looking sexy after 16 beers. We like giving those out, because the inevitable fallout makes us laugh to ourselves. We even have band aids.in case you’ve cut yourself. Know what we don’t have? Maxi pads, 1040EZ tax forms, insulin and hypodermic syringes, shoe laces….and we don’t have chargers for YOUR phone. That’s one of those things that fall solidly under the column of YOUR responsibility. I know that may seem inconvenient at best, and unbelievable at worst…but that’s how it is. Sorry.
> Sorry for this lengthy preface…the long and short of it…If you love your cell phone more than your mother…bring a charger with you.
> Suggestion Number Three: Water
> Bars sell alcoholic drinks. They are places where people get together to drink, listen to music, watch sports and drink some more. We have drink specials and go to great lengths to obtain the licensing to sell these alcoholic beverages. Yes, we have soft drinks available, but it’s not really the point of a bar. Recently I am noticing that people are drinking more and more (and more) water at the bar. Now there is nothing wrong with having some water. I have even recommended it to people who have had a lot to drink or are drinking especially sugary drinks to avoid a hangover. But, there is a ratio here that needs to be socially considered. If you’re at a friends house, you have one or two of their offered rice krispie treats, and not say, eight or nine. It’s one of those slippery and elusive decorum things. Similarly, you don’t have 5 or 6 glasses of water for one glass of wine or bottle of beer you’re drinking. If you’re really into water, stay home. Invite your friends for a big water party. They can bring big bottles of Evian, Perrier or Pellegrino in those pretty wine gift bags…Everyone can drink all the water they want and you can rent Sahara, Yellow Submarine, Water World or Titanic for entertainment. Have a blast. Go nuts. Just don’t inflict your hydration upon me or my place of employment. We have enough to contend with. Water doesn’t pay the rent for the bar. Water never gets a tip and doesn’t pay MY rent either. Fetching you glass after glass of H2O is keeping me from schmoozing and waiting on people who ARE tipping me, or keeping me from doing whatever side work I have to do before I leave. We still have to wash those glasses. It consumes small amounts of time and resources that build up after awhile. I’m not a jerk. I’ll get you a glass of water. I’ll get you two. I just want to sell a few drinks in the interim.
> I know what some of you are thinking. “What’s the big deal” about getting someone some water? I understand your line of questioning. Maybe it does make me seem petty and cranky… so let me put it into some perspective you might understand or be able to relate to.
> If you work in an office. and the person next to you in the soul sucking cubicle asks you for a paper clip…it’s no biggee. ” Sure Fred, here ya go…one paper clip coming right up”. 5 minutes later they ask you for another paper clip. “Well aren’t you the paper clipping dynamo today…here ya go my friend”… After the third and fourth paper clip, you might do an eyeroll, after five…Getting my point? Keep your water orders to a minimum, especially if the bar’s busy…or maybe toss Mr. Bartender a bean after getting 3 waters. That’s why we’re there. To serve real drinks and make money for ourselves and the establishment
> One last thing about the water. People often order water and tell their bartender “I’m rehydrating” or “Tryin to stay hydrated”.That’s nice. Let me clue you in on a little bartender’s secret. I think and care more about how much lint is currently between my two smallest toes than about your current state of hydration.
> Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestions. If you’d please employ them the next time you’re at your favorite watering hole. we’ll all have a better time.