I hate bars. I hate pubs. I hate taverns, speakeasies, public houses, what have you. I hate them all, and no amount of argument to the contrary will convince me otherwise.
This is a hate that I’ve developed since I’ve been East Coast Side.
Take today. What did I do today? I went to a goddamned bar to watch a goddamned football game, that’s what. (The football game wasn’t worth watching, but that’s irrelevant). I sat down at the goddamned bar with my goddamned friend, Dan, and we watched a quarter in peace before somebody, some kid who I recognized but couldn’t put a name on, decided to accost me. Here’s what went down:
Kid: “Hey, Tom.”
Me: (turning to kid, hoping that this will be quick) “Yeah?”
Kid: “It’s Todd. Todd Porter.”
And now I remember you, Todd Porter, or, rather, I remember your name. Before that I just remembered that you were some prick from back in the day who I had no interest in talking to about anything at all. But now I remember you, Todd Porter. Yeah. You’re a shit head…
Me: (reluctantly) “How’s it going?”
But instead of answering that simple question, Todd goes into drunk-Dr. Phil-mode and starts lecturing me about how I should have said Hi to him and Jeff Bennett, who I now realize is his co-drunken-conspirator in this whole thing. I acknowledge Jeff. “Hey, Jeff.” We were friends when we were kids, what can I say? Up to now I hadn’t recognized him, as he’s put on 100 pounds and grown a neck beard.
Todd, though, was having none of it, as I had apparently insulted his dignity.
“So, what are you doin’ for work these days, man?”
“Not too much, I guess. Painting houses at the moment,” I say.
“See, that’s weird,” and here he gets that craaaazzy look in his eye, “I remember you were an over-achiever as a kid, right? But look at Jeff–he just bought a big house, dude, he’s got kids, he’s got–”
I interrupt–“Do those kids have a mother?”
Todd goes on– “And you aren’t doin’ shit, dude.”
At this point, I’m starting to get the old What-The-Fuck-Does-This-Dipshit-Know-About-My-Life feeling in my belly, and I’m considering–abstractly–violence. Instead I throw a coaster on my beer, grab a cigarette, and walk outside, inviting Jeff Bennett to tag along. We smoke our cigarettes and talk about our respective families (he also: advises me against traveling anywhere in the world, tells me to buy a house, indicated that he’s pro-life, and bums a cigarette) and I realize that Todd Porter is just a townie, that he’s completely shit-faced at two in the afternoon, and that he’s living vicariously through his friend’s achievements in order to belittle what little I’ve told him about mine.
I realize, in other words, that it ain’t worth huffing about.
Back inside, Todd has cozied up to Dan and talked his ear off. I go to reclaim my seat, and Todd again reminds me that I’ve acted like a “homo.” I ask him if he sees a dick in my mouth. He says No, but that I’m acting like a homo anyway, and I tell him to use more apt language next time.
When he finally leaves, and once he’s tipped the waitress six dollars on a 65 dollar tab, he tells me that I should try to fuck her, and that my strategy should be to trash talk him, Todd, all the way to the bank. He’s been so rude, he figures, that I can’t help but get lucky. I thank him for the advice, but I don’t take him up on it. Number one, his strategy is stupid. Number two, the waitress is not attractive. Number three?
There is no number three.
Point of the story?