Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy New Year 2015

It’s December 31, 2014. I’m at Caribou Coffee on Ingersoll Ave in freezing Des Moines, Iowa. At the next table over, is a guy who used to do door at the bar. I heard he got really religious. Nothing wrong with that, just keep it in check. We say our hellos, then get to it.

Last year, around this time, I stated my New Year’s Resolutions. They were to learn chess, and start exercising. I’m proud to say I achieved both. I’m a member at two gyms, I’ve played racquetball/tennis at least two times a week, and I walk 4-5 miles a day. Feeling good.

I took chess lessons this year for six months, and got my ass kicked over and over. What a horrible game!!! But in the seventh month, when I checkmated Chris Ford at Star Bar on a Monday night, I was jubilant! I’m no Bobby Fischer, but I accomplished my goal to learn how to play chess.

For this year, my two main goals will be to learn how to type, and get a Real Estate license. I’m so embarrassed that I still have to look at my fingers when I type. I pretty much know where all the keys are, I just want to be able to close my eyes, see the scene, and tell the story, without being encumbered with having to look at the keys. Maybe my writing will become better, who knows? Anyone know of a typing course in the area, let me know.

I want to get my Real Estate license for a number of reasons. I’ve been thinking about it in the back of my mind for the last 8 years, and it’s time to get it done. I’m looking forward to the challenge of learning all the material. I feel like I’ve become a bit stagnant in bartending, not really learning that much. Of course, there’s always millions of things to learn, new shots, new tricks, but I’m happy with where I’m at. I need a new challenge. So give me a year, in 2016, I’ll find you a house, sell your house.

I’ll be in touch.

I also want to try to sell my book. Now I’m well aware of all the rejection that is going to entail, but I’m not that concerned about it. I’ll finish it, organize it, make copies, write a cover letter, then send it out to the world, to book agents and publishers. Then it will be out of my hands. I know there’s the self-publishing route, but I’ve been self-publishing on my blog for the past year and a half, and it hasn’t made me much money.

I hope this post inspires you to think about what you want to accomplish in 2015. It’s important to have goals, so you can see traction. Because I spoke my resolutions out loud this year, I can say proudly,

Yeah, I checkmated that bitch.

Ka-POW!!!

-Clint Curtis

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Heat Seeker

I recently did an interview for a podcast. You can hear it on my blog if you scroll down. Week after it came out, I see the guy who interviewed me, come into the bar. He says, there’s heat seeker! I say, what? He says, you should see the stats for the interview. Best ones yet. You’re a heat seeker.

I didn’t know that was a term. Another internet thing.

But I like it.

Later on, I’m chatting with my fellow bartender, I tell him, you know what? I want you to start calling me heat seeker. He says, why’s that? I tell him what’s going on with the interview, and explain to him what heat seeking is all about. Sometimes you have to school these suckers.

I say, I’ve always wanted a nickname, and I think heat seeker’s the one. So could you start calling me that?

He says, I could start calling you meat seeker, how’s that?

You know, friends are like assholes. Everybody’s got one, and sometimes it has dingleberrys on it.

-Clint Curtis

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Why Don’t You Have Pineapple Vodka?

This girl at the bar is really annoying me. She asks for my name, like a dummy, I give it to her. The problem, when they know your name, they use it, constantly. Clint! Come here I need to say something to you. It’s especially annoying when you’re busy. You hear your name, you look up, get distracted. And this girl is using my name every five minutes.

It’s around 12:30, I’ve got it in the ass for two hours straight, she says, her 45th, Clint, Clint!!! I go to her, say, yes? She says, do you have pineapple vodka? I look back at the liquor bottles, just to make sure. Nope, I say. She says, you don’t? I say, nope. She says, why don’t you have pineapple vodka?

Something snaps in my brain.

I stare her down with hatred. I’m sorry, I’m just being honest. I say, calmly, yet intensely. We. Have. No. Pineapple. Vodka. I don’t know how else I can say it.

She sits up straight, gets this shocked look on her face. It’s as if your best friend just told you she doesn’t want to be your best friend anymore.

She gets really, really, quiet. Just fucking great. Now, I gotta deal with this. Good job, Clint. Losing your cool.

I step back for a moment, take a breath. I’m gonna pay for this one. Somehow.

Minute later, I start making her a drink. I set it down in front of her, say, here’s a vodka pineapple. That’s on me. She looks shell-shocked, with a thousand yard stare into the drink. She doesn’t say anything. Her world is crushed, has come to the end.

I back up, go do dishes. Another customer comes up, orders a couple drinks.

You know, sometimes, it’s like trying to commit suicide in a puddle, dealing with customers.

It’s very hard to do.

-Clint Curtis

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Listening To People’s Opinions

I have an opinion about things, and I write stories about them. In every story I write, there is an opinion in there somewhere, guaranteed. There are some people in this world that have opinions. Some have strong opinions about things that really don’t matter. I believe I fall into this group.

For a lot of my stories, if I just back up from them, do I really care? To be honest, not really. At the bar, I deal with BS on a daily basis. Do I get bothered by it? Not really. I don’t. At the end of the day, I just say to myself, there’s another one down. I’m getting off the subject of people having opinions.

Let’s make a turn here in the conversation, and talk about listening to people’s opinions. I say, nah. Listen to yourself. Should you really be listening to my opinions? Oh for heaven’s sakes NO. My opinions are laughable. And when I say that, my opinions are based on whether I think I can get a laugh from somebody. Or a rise out of somebody. Do I give a shit about some guys getting into a fight in the green room? Nah. Do I care that some dipshit band didn’t bring CD’s to their CD release party? Nah. Don’t really care. But does it make a story? Yes. And what are stories, but opinions about things in disguise?

If you’re not going to listen to me, who SHOULD YOU listen to. Let’s say, you should have one leg back really, really far. Listen, but know it’s all bullshit. People give their opinions to be heard. And it’s always just manipulation. There’s a reason for their opinions. You should ask yourself, what is this person’s hidden agenda? Talk show hosts. Do you think they really care if some guy fabricated a paragraph in their non-fiction book? Nah. But they must be OUTRAGED, don’t they? Yeah, they have to act outraged. Because they have an opinion that it’s WRONG. And the viewers should be outraged too. Because the talk show host gives her opinion so strongly. So it must be true, shouldn’t it?

You should just listen to these people with opinions for amusement. That’s what I hope you do for me. Yeah, Clint’s saying this, but he’s really just trying to get a rise from me. He doesn’t really CARE. He’s just saying these things to be funny, and make me laugh. And that’s the truth.

But people listen to these people with opinions, and it affects their life. Usually in a negative way. How disgusting that is really. I have one friend in particular, who is an awesome musician, but a couple years ago he got a bad review in a local rag by this little twirp, and he stopped writing music, and pretty much stopped playing with his band. That’s obscene. I mean, what the hell does this reviewer know? He’s probably just trying to get a rise. What’s more interesting? A glowing review or a negative review? A negative review, of course. And I know this to be a fact, because I receive this same feedback when I write a positive story over something that is negative. People for the most part want to hear drama. And writing a review about how some guy’s band is awesome is borrrrrring. As well as me telling some lame ass story about a night at the bar that was fun and everybody was cool.

Don’t listen to anyone’s opinion, people. Especially mine. Read a story, laugh if you feel like it, then

go eat a hamburger.

But, you know, you might shouldn’t eat hamburger that comes from….

-Clint Curtis

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The Never Ending Ending

It’s 9:05, damn it. The band is still playing. See, here’s the deal. We have an early show, and we have a late show. The early show is all ages, the late show 21 and up.

All underage kids need to be gone by exactly 9pm sharp.

Am I being a stickler wanting the bands to be done by 9, actually, five minutes before 9?

No. I’m doing my job.

Cop comes in at 9:15, underage kids still in the bar, I could lose my job, and that’s that.

The band is playing, it’s now 9:08. I’m furiously texting the sound guy. What the hell? They need to be done!!! Problem is five till 9, they said, this will be our last song, and their last song is going on forever.

Ok, finally, sounds like they’re doing the last notes.

Da, da, da, da, da…da.

Ok, good, wait…

Da, da, da, da, da…da.

Ok, that’s it, let’s turn on…

Da, da, da, da, da…da.

This has got to be the last one…

Da, da, da, da, da…da.

Jesus Christ, ok, NOW!!!

Da, da, da, da, da…da.

You’ve got to be kidding, I want to…

Da, da, da, da, da…da.

My face is burning red, I want to scream…

Da, da, da, da, da…da.

I run over to the door guy, tell him, right when they’re done, turn on…

Da, da, da, da, da…da.

AHHHHHHHHHH.

It’s starts slowing down. Please Lord, let this be the last one.

Da, da, da, da, da…da.

I close my eyes, say a silent prayer, Lord. I need this song to end RIGHT…

Da, da, da, da, da…da.

AHHHHHHHHHH.

At 9:20, the lead singer comes up to the bar, I say, you know, you guys were good, but you should have been done at 9. I need all underage people out of here by 9 sharp.

He says, yeah, sorry about that. I didn’t think that last song would take that long. I say, Yeah.

IT WAS THE NEVER ENDING ENDING!!!!

It was the drummer’s fault, he says. He kept on going.

-Clint Curtis

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The Most Tears

I’m going to write off the cuff today. I’m in Fisher, Iowa, with my big family. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma. I think about it, I’m so lucky. I hope you’re spending some time with family today. Or friends. That’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it? Being with your loved ones. Forget about the presents. Sit down at the big table, eat, laugh, tell stories you’ve told a hundred times.

We just opened gifts. A funny thing we do with Grandma, we try to make her cry with our gifts. Usually the gifts are money. But the most important thing is the card, and what we say to her.

I have a bit of advantage with this. I’ve been writing seriously for two years now, practically every day. Last night, I sit down, compose my message to her.

I start with, I think about you every day. I underline words for emphasis. I take no prisoners. I’m going to win this competition. Who can get the most tears.

She gets to the line, you are an inspiration to all those who meet you. Her voice cracks, tears start flowing.

Victory!

My cousins high-five me, we laugh, they congratulate me,

For getting the most tears from Grandma.

-Clint Curtis