Monthly Archives: August 2015

That Time I Punched Some Guy In The Face

I’m behind the bar, late show, medium-sized crowd. Guy comes up, he seems familiar. Not in a good way. Fellow bartenders will relate to this. You deal with a difficult customer, then time passes, you forget. Then they come back, but you can’t quite pinpoint your past experience with them. 

But you recall it being not good. 

He seems ok at the present moment. He starts a tab, but there’s something wrong with his card. Its got a chew mark on one corner of it. 

He says, my card’s fucked up, man. My dog chewed it. When you run it, just fucking run it, man. Hard. Break it, I don’t care. 

I think for a second, trying to understand his logic. I say, so you want me to break it, so you can get a new one?

My words don’t seem to register. He just repeats himself. When you run it, don’t hold back. Just fucking run it. I say, do you want me to run it now?  He says, no. Start me a tab. 

I start him a tab. 

Whatever. He seems a bit intoxicated, not too bad. 

About an hour later, he strolls up to the bar. He says, run my card, man. Just fucking break it. 

I’m not going to do that. 

I grab his card, it’s like a $26 tab, I run it, it gets stuck in the slot. I try again. Nope. Not going to happen. I look at the card. Yeah, the chew mark is on the strip. There is no way it’s going to run. 

I turn back to him, say, it’s not running. Do you have any cash?  He says, was it declined?!?!  I say, no, man. It won’t run. It’s fucked, you need a new card. He says, just run it. Fuck it up, I don’t care. 

AHHHHH this guy. 

Sir, you don’t understand…

Whatever. I’ll type in the numbers. 

Typing in the numbers is a pain in the ass. First you have to be able to read the numbers. That’s difficult with the dim light, and the wear and tear on the card. 

4…2…6…I think that’s a…7…3…

Then you got the damn expiration date. Who knows what that says. 

I finish typing all the numbers, now I’ve forgotten what his tab total is. I recount…

$26. I enter, get the receipt, give it to him, say, thanks for coming in tonight. Really appreciate it. 

As sincerely as I possibly can. 

He signs it, then walks away. 

Five minutes later, he comes back, says, I want to buy a shot. 

Deep breath. Deep breath. I’ve got three people waiting for drinks. I say, what do you want? He says, what’s your well vodka?  I don’t answer, I just go get a shot glass, pour the vodka in, put it in front of him, say, here you go, man. On me, don’t worry about it. 

There is no way I’m going to deal with his card for a shot of well vodka. 

I walk away, he yells, HEY!!!  Oh my God, I’m gonna flip on this guy. I go to him, say, yesssss? He says, what’s this?  I say, shot of well vodka. On me, don’t worry about it. He says, I don’t want a shot of well vodka. I want something else. I say,


You asked for a shot of vodka, I’m giving it to you for free. He says, I don’t want it. I want something else. 

I’m losing it. 

Fine, I say. What do you want?  He says, I don’t know. 


I’ll take a Mandarin Soda. I make it for him, set it down, walk away, go help another customer. Thank God that’s over. 

Two minutes later, I see him waving his hands at me. I go over to him, he leans in, says, 

This drink’s too strong for me. I want another. 

-Clint Curtis


Joy Autumn Rainbow

It’s 9ish Saturday night. Looks like it’s going to busy, already about 40-50 people in the bar. 

Blond comes up to the bar, orders a drink, I make it, give it to her, she starts a tab. I write down her name. It’s Joy. I go help another customer. 

Five minutes later, girl comes up, orders a drink, starts a tab. I write her name down. It’s Autumn. 

Ten minutes later, girl comes up…

I write her name down. It’s 


Wait a minute. Joy Autumn Rainbow. I say it out loud. 

Joy Autumn Rainbow. 

I instantly feel better about life!  

I have a friend at the bar, I say, I want you to say three words in succession. When you say these three words together, it’s going to change your outlook on life. Maybe…it might CHANGE your life. He says, oh yeah?  What’s that?  I say,

Say the words Joy Autumn Rainbow. 

He says, that’s it?

I say, yeah. You say those words together, it will instantly lighten your mood. 

He says, ok. Joy Autumn Rainbow. 

I look at him. Well?  How do you feel?  Much better, huh?

He says, I don’t know. I’m pretty drunk, I can’t tell. 

-Clint Curtis


Is The DJ A Dick?

I’m behind the bar, late show, rap show, last guy for the night on stage. He’s good, unfortunately,

There’s about five people in the bar.

I start cleaning behind the bar, do what I can. Looks like I’m low on long straws, might as well go in the back, get some.

As I’m walking towards the back, I notice the DJ for the opening act is on stage, bobbing his head up and down. He looks like he’s really into the music. But on closer inspection,

He’s tearing down his equipment.

He’s unplugging cords, wrapping cords, putting records away. All the while,

He’s bobbing his head to the music.

And I know what he’s thinking.

I can’t be behind this guy tearing down while he’s rapping his heart out. But you know, I don’t really want to stick around either. I’m done for the night, I’d like to get the fuck out of here, I DIDN’T MAKE ANY MONEY NOBODY SHOWED UP WHY CANT I TEAR DOWN MY EQUIPMENT WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY ABOUT IT!?!?!?!

I got it!

I’ll just bob my head while I’m tearing my shit down, then everything will be cool. The audience will be thinking wow the DJ’s really into the music instead of

Wow that DJ’s a dick he’s tearing down his gear in the middle of that guy’s set.

-Clint Curtis


Are You Croatian?

Girl comes up to the bar. She’s attractive in a non-conventional sort of way. She says, can I get my tab?  I say, sure!  What’s the first name on the tab?  She tells me. 

That is a strange name. It sounds like an exotic name for a kitchen utensil. Definitely not your average name. 

I get her the card, start running it. I say, your name?  What’s the origins of it?  She says, it’s Eastern European. Croatian. I say, cool. It’s unique. She says, do you think you could get me a cup of water?  I say, sure!

I get her the cup of water, give it to her, say, so…are you Croatian?

She says, almost angrily, WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?

She says it, as if, I had been stalking her, and knew this private information about her I shouldn’t know. 

I say, um…  You said your name was Croatian. I guess I was putting two and two together. 

She says, oh. 

Yeah, I’m Croatian. 

-Clint Curtis

The Greatest Regret Of My Life

It’s Saturday night, late show. Band’s on stage, and they’re really good. As a matter of fact, all the bands that have played are really good. The band on stage has a girl singer. Their music reminds me of NIRVANA. I think it’s the guitar sound. 

Let’s go back, 1990. I’m going to school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I’ve recently started a band, and I’m trying to come up with a name for the band. I’m reading Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums, and he talks about the concept of Nirvana. I think, that’d be a good name for the band. NIRVANA. It’s epic. I jot it down for a name to suggest to my bandmates. 

A week later, I’m at a coffee shop called Hardback Cafe. I’m drinking coffee out of a glass cup. A guy walks in I’m acquainted with and he’s wearing a t-shirt that says, NIRVANA Bleach. I walk up to him, say, I like your t-shirt. Is that a band?  He says, yeah, they’re awesome. I say, that sucks. I was thinking about using the name NIRVANA for my band name. He says, yeah. You should go see them. They’re playing Cat’s Cradle next Tuesday. I say, cool, man. I’ll check it out. 

Couple weeks go by, I see the same guy, I say, damn. I totally forgot about that show. How was it?

He says, it was amazing. There was like seven people there. 

Then fast forward a year, my roommate calls me into her room. She’s got her stereo cranked. She says, you gotta hear this song. It’s incredible. I listen to it, yeah, it’s a game changer. I say, who is it?

She says, it’s a band called NIRVANA. Song’s called Smells Like Teen Spirit. 

Oh shhhhhhhittt. 

I look back on missing that NIRVANA show. It’s not so bad. I’ve only regretted it

37,562 times. 

-Clint Curtis

My Favorite Song Off The Album

I’m behind the bar with my fellow bartender Johnny. I’ve known him for about 12 years. He was the first bartender I ever worked with. Guy probably knows me better than my wife. 

I usually delegate the music playing to him for the night. He gets into making playlists. He has really good taste in music. Better than mine. Maybe I’m too old to make a playlist. Who knows?

He plays a few of the songs the same on multiple playlists. Blondie, Depeche Mode is a new favorite for him. 

And the latest Spoon record. 

It all started about seven weeks ago. The song Do You? by Spoon was playing on his playlist, and I said, 

I really like this song. It’s probably my favorite track off the album. 

The next week comes, we’re working together, the song Do You? by Spoon comes on, I say,

I really like this song. It’s my favorite track off the album. 

The next week comes, my fellow bartender is playing his iPod. The song Do You? comes on, I turn to him, say,

I really like this song. It’s my favorite song off the album. 

The next week comes, I’m bartending with Johnny, the song Do You? comes on, I say, 

Hey Johnny. I really like this song. It’s my favorite song off the album. 

The next week comes, and I’m on vacation. 

The week after that, I’m working with John again, the song Do You? by Spoon comes on, I turn to Johnny, say,

This is my favorite song. It’s probably my favorite song off the record. 

Last night, it’s Thursday, it’s Pint Night, I’m not working with Johnny. But he’s left his iPod behind from the night before. I hit one of his playlists randomly. 

About an hour in, it’s pretty slow. The song Do You? by Spoon comes on. I go to my phone, text Johnny. 

The song Do You? is playing right now on your iPod. It’s my favorite song off the album. 

I look later at my phone…

He didn’t respond. 

-Clint Curtis 

I Won The Lottery

I haven’t had an audition in I would say a year and a half.  I haven’t been necessarily pressuring my agent to get me some.  I may have emailed him couple months back.  What’s going on?  Anything happening out there?  But I usually just chill, wait for them to come to me.  I’m pretty realistic.  There’s really not much out there right now in the Iowa market for a 43 year-old bald guy.

I get back from Galena, Illinois couple days ago.  Went for a little family vacation.  My Uncle George has a time-share there, so we get to stay for free.  Galena is a moderately fun town.  Ok not really “fun” per se.  There’s a main street which is cool.  Shops.  Mainly touristy stuff.  There is a to die for candy shop that I always like to go to.  I have a huge sweet tooth.

When I get back home, I get an email from my agent.  Audition!  What do you know?  I read it over.  It’s for a Dental commercial.  Doesn’t really go into specifics.  I’m playing a “Youtuber” that’s doing a video on how to pick up girls at a bar.  But the catch is that my tutorial gives bad advice.  I do a 15 second improv, then the announcer comes into frame, says, no.  This is not what you do.

It relates somehow to dentistry.

My agent asks me to film it on my own if possible.  I actually LOVE to do it this way.  Who has all the control?  That’s right.  Me.  Do another take?  Sure, why not.  Let’s do 50.

Actually, I always try to get it done in one take.  The first take is always the most real take because you’re not totally sure what you’re doing.  And that’s like life.  No matter how confident you are, there’s always at least 2% hesitancy, and that comes out in a first take.

I have a great situation.  As some of you might know, I’ve done a Vlog from time to time.  I’ve got lights, I’ve got a decent camera, I have editing equipment, and I have a great place to shoot it with a lot of privacy.  At the bar!  I go off hours, nobody bothers me, and I have the whole place to myself.  And with this audition, why not shoot it IN a bar?

I cruise downtown around 1:30 AM, and perfectly, my fellow bartender is just finishing up cleaning the bar for the night.  I set up, we chat a bit.  I ask, what do you think some bad advice would be to pick up a girl at a bar?  He says, how about, you spill a drink on a girl, just to strike up a conversation?  I say, perfect.  I’ll use that.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but I steal ALL my ideas from you.  I casually ask people their opinion about things at the bar.  What do you think about this?  They give me an opinion, that may coincide with my opinion, and then there’s a bar story.  You find CONSENSUS, you find the truth.  My fellow bartender gives me an idea off the cuff, I find it funny, why not.

I tweak the idea a bit.  I buy a drink, walk over to her, fake trip, spill the drink all over her.  Apologize, let me buy you a drink, get it, come back, then say, why don’t you come over to my house, I’ve got a washer and dryer, we can clean up those clothes?

Corny, I know, but I’d say it’s some bad advice on how to pick up a girl.

I do one take, boom, done, edit it a bit, put on some titles, then email it over to my agent.  With set up time, filming, tear down time, I’m done in 45 minutes.

I find out Monday, I’ll keep you posted.

Yesterday, I check my email, I have ANOTHER audition.  This time sounds like a good one.  Two day shoot in Omaha.  Nice big paycheck.

Unfortunately, they’re looking for a Seth Rogan type.

That’s not me.

But who cares?  It’s just another opportunity to act.  And I always stay positive with these things.  You never know, you’re not right for this part, the director sees your audition, says, you know, he’s not right for this part, but I’m directing another commercial that he’d be perfect for.

Again, my agent wants me to film it by myself.  No problem.  It’s for a lottery commercial.  Real simple, I go to the counter, ask for a Mega Million Lottery ticket, exit, come back, read off the numbers, realize I’ve won, then react.

I get downtown for my shift at the bar, it’s busy, but I have some time to chat with customers a bit.

I ask a few, if you were to win the lottery, what would your very first reaction be?  Would you scream?  Would you freak out?  Would you be scared, nervous, puke?

I get the general consensus, think things through, then decide to do something a little bit different from what the script says.  The script says, “He screams, he yells.”  Ok, that’s fine, but how would I actually react?  If I can capture that, that would be the best, and funniest reaction.  Instead of, oh, I won, I’m going to scream.

I forgot to mention that on my way to work, I stopped and bought a lottery ticket to use as a prop.  I have NEVER actually bought a lottery ticket before, and was pretty clueless when I bought one.

Uh…  I’d like to get a lottery ticket.

OK.  Which one would you like?

The one where you get the numbers, and then win millions of dollars.

He says, ok.

After my shift around 2AM, I set up for the audition.  Everything on stage this time.  Have a great black curtain as a backdrop.  I get the lights going, set up the tripod, change my shirt, and ACT.

Nailed it in a take.

I come into camera, ask for the lottery ticket.  Can I have a Mega Million, please?  I exit, come back couple seconds later, check my numbers.  It’s a slow dawning.  Oh wow look at that.  I got the first number right.  Huh.  The second, too.  At the last one, I just stare into the camera, speechless, dumbstruck, frozen.  All the wheels in my head turning.  What does this mean?  I just WON?

I don’t say anything, I SLOWLY walk off camera, then, from off camera, I SCREAM, then cut.

I emailed it to my agent, he sent me an email back this morning, seemed to like it.  I got a Ha from him.

Wouldn’t this be one of the greatest stories of all time?  What if on Saturday, I casually check my lottery numbers, AND WON?  That’s how life works, doesn’t it?  I bet a lot of people would be pissed as hell with me.  Yeah, I bought the lottery ticket as a prop.  I’ve never even played the lottery before.

But now I’ve won $37,000,000 dollars.

You know, I’d never want to win the lottery.  That would totally suck.  I could NEVER bartend again.

Oh yeah I’m gonna give this guy a tip.  He won the lottery!!!

-Clint Curtis


Sorry Sir We Don’t Have That

Guy comes up to the bar. I approach. 

What can I get you, sir?

He says, you got Ciroc?

I say, no sir. We don’t. 

A friend of his comes up, he turns to him. They talk. 

I just stand there. 

He turns back after a minute, says,

You got Bud Light Lime?

I say, sorry, sir. We don’t have Bud Light Lime. I can get you a Bud Light, with a lime in it.

He smiles, says, nah. …How bout a Bud? You got that?

I say, I do!

He says, you got it in a bottle?

Oh this is getting hilarious. 

I say, no sir. We have it in a tall-boy can. 

He says, c’mon man. 

He’s getting frustrated at the situation at hand, as am I. 

He says, fine. What kinda vodka do you have?

I say, Grey Goose. 

(That’s the vodka I’m selling tonight, so might as well get straight to it). 

He says, alright. Just gimme a vodka cranberry. 

I say, sorry, sir. 

We don’t have cranberry juice. 

He says, WHAT?!?!

I say, just kidding. 

-Clint Curtis

Taking Down Stools

I get in the bar 8ish, I walk in, a band member follows me in the bar. 

Hey, he says. 

I say, hey. 

He says, we’re playing here tonight. Should we load in?

I say, we’re actually going to have you play outside. Is that ok?

He says, yeah. 

I start taking the bar stools off the bar. 

I say, you can load in through the front, or the side door. 

I point to the side door. 

He says, ok. Our band’s out front. 

I say, great. 

At this point, I’ve got two more stools to put down. This is my very first thing I do when I get in. 

He takes off. 

It’s been a long day for me. Woke up pretty early, did some studying, exercised, family time, lawn, shower, now work. I’ve got a lot on my mind. 

I hear the band members at the door, bringing in their equipment. I stop, look to my left, and realize
I’ve put all the stools BACK on top of the bar. 

I start taking the stools down again, the band enter the bar, with amps, with musical instruments. The guy I was talking to earlier, passes me by. 

I don’t know, it’d be funny if that guy was aware. If he was, he must’ve felt a strong sense of déjà vu. 

I could swear I just witnessed the bartender taking down all the stools. But, after a minute, he is still taking down stools. And some that I SWEAR had been taken down


-Clint Curtis