Fishing Your ID Out Of The Toilet Bowl

I’m cleaning up the bar, end of night, I attack the women’s restroom.  That’s always a shit show.  Literally.  I have to be honest with you.  For some reason, the women’s room is always worse for wear in comparison to the men’s room.  I’ll give the ladies the benefit of doubt, and a bit of understanding.  I’m sure at home they have to deal with some lazy-ass guy that never does any cleaning.  So when they’re out and about, it’s PAYBACK for the person who has to clean up the bathroom.  I’m ok with that, and will accept the brunt.

I’m in the ladies room, I’m sweeping up all the paper towels littering the ground.  I take out the garbage.  I go into the stalls, to see what’s going on in there.  I lift up the lid, and, what’s that at the bottom of the bowl?  Hm.  Looks like someone’s ID.  Love to see how that exactly went down.  OK…that sounds weird.

Never mind.

I make my way back to the bar, grab one of those disposable gloves.  Always handy.  I go back to the women’s room, go in the stall, reach into the toilet, fish out the ID.

I get behind the bar with it, wipe it off, get rid of the glove, and wash my hands thoroughly.  Hm.  Now what?  I read the name, then get an idea.  I’ll reach out to the young lady on Social Media.

Hey there.  This is Clint, your bartender for the night.  I found your ID at the bar.  Actually, IT WAS IN THE TOILET.  I’ll have it behind the bar for you, just ask the bartender for it next time you come in.

You know, I never heard back from her, and the ID was there for months.  But please note how I went the extra mile.

And THAT’S WHY I’m a badass bartender.

Not only will I make you a great cocktail, but I’ll fish out your ID from the bottom of the toilet bowl.





Can You Ask A Bartender How Much A Drink Costs?

Can you ask a bartender how much a drink costs?  Of course you can!  But you can also MURDER someone. And is that right?

Depending on the bar you’re in…no, scratch that. No matter what bar you’re in in the world, when asking the price of a drink, or a beer, you will inevitably get an eye-roll from your friendly/perhaps not-so-friendly bartender. The eye-roll may be imperceptible, or obvious, but I guarantee it will be executed. Why?  Well, the initial reaction from your bartender, no matter how open-minded, or understanding he or she may be, will be that you are cheap. No high rollers, or even medium rollers, ask how much a drink costs. It just doesn’t happen. They lay it down, and usually tip generously. And that’s the key. FOR THE MOST PART (of course there are outliers) those who ask for the price are usually bad tippers, or no tippers at all. But what should you do if you’re on a tight budget, and need to know how much a drink costs?

If this is the case, you shouldn’t be going to a bar. Hit up the grocery store, buy a case of Bud Light Lime, and have at it. Your cheapness/lack of funds will therefore never be noticed. Except for perhaps with the check out girl.

Ok, you’re at a bar with your homies, you got to hold something, but your wallet’s thin. Here’s my strong advice:  go for the domestic. Bud Light, Coors Light, et al will probably cost you six bucks tops. At your local dive, probably around three-fitty, four. Tip the bartender a dollar for the beer, and you’re an up-and-coming player. Want a taste of the good stuff?  The Macallan 12? The Grey Goose?  Pass on it if you feel the urge to ask for the price. 

Sure I’ve been broke before. Who hasn’t that have been in college?  If you can’t AT LEAST bring a 20 to the bar, don’t go out. Invite your friends over for some Xbox, and tell them to bring a six of PBR, and you’ll “pay them back.”  And PLEASE all-mighty, don’t bring your laundry change, and slap it on the bar. Your friends will be mortified, and the deep breath and exhale from your bartender will be heard at the coffee shop next door. 

So can you ask your bartender how much a drink costs?  OF COURSE!  But SHOULD you?

My advice to you is a concise NO.



Lemonade Without Sugar In It

I’m serving at the bar, I go up to a table, there are four people sitting down.  I say my salutations, hi, I’m Clint.  Will you be eating food tonight, or just drinks?  Drinks.  Great.  Let’s start with you.  What can I get you?

I make my way around the table.  Tito’s soda with a lime.  A Des Moines IPA from Confluence (a delicious local).  A glass of Malbec.  I get to the 4th woman.  She asks, do you have sugar-free lemonade?

What the hell?  Sugar-free lemonade?  I darest say, I’ve never in my 45 years heard of sugar-free lemonade.  What is that?  Lemon juice?  But there is NO WAY this woman wants a pint of lemon juice.  And furthermore, I don’t believe we have a pints-worth of lemon juice.  That sounds horrible anyway.

I say, no.  I’m sorry.  We don’t have lemonade that doesn’t have sugar in it.  What is your second choice?

She thinks for a second, then says, I’ll take a glass of water, without ice.

That…I can do.



Pouring A Drink With A Jigger

I have a super anal-retentive manager I work with at the bar.  I actually really like her.  I have never met anyone that is so by the book.  I mean, she doesn’t budge.  For example, if she sees me pour ONE DRINK without a jigger, she gets on me.  For 12 years of my bartending career, I never used a jigger.  But when I got this job at a hotel bar, I HAD to start using it.  It was definitely a learning curve.  But now I’m used to it.  I kind of understand the positive side to it.  With a jigger, every drink is the same.  There’s a consistency to it.  Without it, it can be all over the map, depending on who you’re pouring for.  Sure, back in the day, if a friend came up, who treats me right in the tip dept, I’d pour it heavy.  My thought is, I’d rather someone comment that the drink is too strong, rather than too weak.  However, when you are required to use a jigger, every drink is made the same.  Ok, ok, I do do a little trick in front of the customer.  I’ll pour the liquor into the jigger, but when I pour it into the glass, I’ll keep on pouring into the jigger as it tips, making it a little bit stronger.  People watch, and appreciate it.  At the end of the day, because of this kindness, the “guest” will probably drink more if they believe they’re getting a good drink, and put more money in the register.

I have had a number of meetings with my “by the book” manager, and I have to say, I always learn a little something from them.  My manager is truly smart, knows the service industry, and throws at me some profound thoughts.  She cares, and that’s inspiring.  When you have a manager that doesn’t care, it can be a shit show.  But she’ll bring up the most minute things that “I need to work on.”  Sometimes they’re so ridiculously small, that I have to laugh.  But I’ve grown to take her comments in stride.  That’s not to say she doesn’t annoy the hell out of me.  But like I said, she occasionally says profound things that make me think.  And it can be the simplest of concepts.

The other day, we’re having a meeting, and we’re discussing the stringent rules of the hotel.  There’s a reason why this hotel is so successful, and part of the reason is that the employees have to step up, and follow the rules.  Otherwise, bye-bye.  So in this meeting, she says,

Why WOULDN’T you follow the rules?

I had to say it back to her.  Hmm.  Why WOULD’NT you follow the rules?  Brilliant with the simplicity of it.  There is no rational reason why you wouldn’t follow the rules.  You learn the rules, you follow the rules, and then for the most part, your job is secured.  You don’t?  Well, there’s going to be a problem.  And as most of you know, without rules, there’s chaos.

So why wouldn’t you follow the rules?

I don’t know.  You tell me, non-jigger pourers out there.



In Praise Of Dumb People

I’m doing some afternoon bartending at the hotel, I’ve got around five people at the bar.  I listen in on conversations occasionally when it’s slow.  Always possible material for my writing.  Middle-aged man is speaking to a younger guy in his early 30’s.  He seems to have strong opinions from his lengthy experience on Planet Earth.  Oh everybody’s got advice, don’t they?  I’m actually getting sick of advice, as of late.  It’s usually BAD advice, in my opinion, and distracts you from what you should be doing.  Going with your gut and instinct.  Not what some 50 year-old did in his life.  And they usually give you hypocritical advice.  BUT they learned from their mistakes, didn’t they?

He says, I always told my kids, life is hard when you’re smart, but really difficult when you’re dumb.

At first glance, this “saying” seems to be a truism.  Sure, you want to be smart, right?  You want to be able to carry on an intelligent conversation.  But have you met a lot of highly intelligent people?  Yeah, they’re the ones that are usually the most miserable.  “Dumb people” actually seem to enjoy life more.

I say, to him, I have to disagree with that statement.  I’m really smart, and hate everything.  There’s like three things I like in the world.  But dumb people?  THE WORLD IS THERES.  They’re not all pretentious, and are content and happy with a lot of things, in my estimation.

His saying of how it’s easier to be smarter than dumber?  I think “ignorance is bliss”, if you’re going to use a cliche, overrides it.

And again, don’t listen to advice from old people.  They are giving advice to you that might’ve worked in the 50’s.

The world has changed.  And dumb people rule the world.


The Path Is Ours To Make

Sometimes when it’s slow behind the bar, and there’s a few people at the bar, I like to open up, and engage a patron in a philosophical conversation.  I’m not much of a small talker, for the most part, I like to talk about meaningful stuff to me, and things I’m thinking about at the present moment.  Last night, there was a young man at my bar, and I threw it at him.

Are you a religious person?  He thinks for a moment, then says, yes.  I am.  I’m a Christian.  I say, great.  I’ve been thinking about a concept recently.  And I’m not saying there is, or isn’t, a higher power somewhere.  But what if our brains have been conditioned over time to believe that there is someone watching.  Perhaps, someone controlling our destiny.  If you believe in the idea that God or whoever has control over our life, giving it direction, isn’t that perhaps a egocentric, or, in a way, a selfish view?  If he is giving you this or that, wouldn’t it affect someone else, possibly in a negative way?  Let’s say you get the job you’re interviewing for, over someone else, and you believe that there was a “God influence”, then that would mean that God was working against the other applicants for the job.  And that would mean that he has preferential treatment for you.  That, for some reason, you are more important or more significant or luckier than the next guy.  I have a problem with that.

I ask, do you ever feel completely ALONE?  He says, no.  I don’t.  I say, I’ve always kind of felt the same way.  That someone is watching, or in control of my destiny.  But, like I said before, evolution may have caused part of our brain to believe that there is some control from a higher force.  Maybe in a past incarnation of man, they didn’t have that, and perhaps, that man had more chaos in his life.  Because he didn’t feel the presence of God, and felt alone, perhaps he didn’t feel accountable for his actions.  Therefore, the chaos, and lack of a possibility for a society with rules, and cohesion.  If we didn’t feel this presence, mankind would not progress.  Maybe that form of man died out because of it, and a new man, with this God-presence feeling, arose from the ashes.

He says, I’ve never really thought about that.

I say, so recently, I’ve been trying to control my brain into believing that there’s a programming involved, and it’s been liberating.  To believe that there’s, in actuality, no one watching, that I can have some privacy, that there’s no one judging me, and that I can have full control over my destiny, instead of some other higher force.  That I can stand on my own, and not wait for destiny to play its hand.  I can get up in the morning, make my own decisions on what path my life will take.  But like I said before, even with this theory, I’m not negating the idea of a higher force.  I’m just saying that we are in the driver’s seat.  That we, and we alone, control our destiny, and regulate what we do and do not do, and are responsible completely for our actions, and how we follow societies rules.

He says, hm.  I’ll have to think about it.

Then he went back to his laptop, and answered more emails.



You Look Lonely

I’m doing banquet bartending for a wedding.  Bartending a wedding is pretty cool.  And can be lucrative.  There’s four bartenders tonight, so its thinned out a bit.  But everybody’s in a merry mood, and there’s hot chicks getting their drunk on, which is always entertaining.

There’s a lull around 10.  I clean up my bar area, get it organized, then stand there, and stare forward.  Nothing else to do, my busy work is done.  I am completely against being on my phone during work.  It just looks unprofessional when you see a bartender on Facebook.  Leave that for after work.  And actually, it’s a great excuse to NOT be on my phone.  Who doesn’t have an addiction to their damn phone?!?  It’s hard not to.  It’s a great way to feed that need for attention.  It’s like any drug that makes us feel good for awhile, getting a text, an email, a like.  It’s a disgusting rabbit hole I’m trying to curtail.

But now here I am writing, posting on a blog, to get attention.

I’m standing there, staring forward.  It’s kind of peaceful, I clear my mind.  To be honest, yes, I’m an actor, and I really do hate TV.  I know it’s cliche to say, oh, I don’t watch TV, but truth be told, I do hate it.  I keep busy with staring at my bedroom wall, writing, walking, and working.  I suppose I need to come up with some kind of hobby, but every time I do, I get obsessed with it.  Chess.  I took lessons for six months, it stressed me out to no end.  I can’t just have fun with something.  I have to do it to death.  Just pound it into the ground.  I smoked cigars for a year.  But, yeah, could I smoke one a week?  Nope.  I’ve got to smoke three a day.  Yeah, that’s an expensive habit.  Finally quit that habit, because your clothes reek, and your wallet is empty.

I’m standing there, staring off, breathing, meditating, a wedding goer comes up, says, you look lonely.  I say, do I?  I’m happy here with all my imaginary friends.  She smiles, and orders a drink.  Basic vodka tonic.  No problem.  She leaves, I go back to staring forward.  After five minutes, another partygoer comes up, says, you look bored.  I say, not really.  And is it so wrong to be bored?  She says, no.  I don’t have TIME to be bored, I’m so busy.

Now here’s the rub and what I’m getting to.  I notice that people have this HUGE fear of being bored.  Why not sit in a room, and stare at the wall, and be bored?  Relax your mind.  Meditate.  Because THAT’s when things come to you.  You fill the void with Facebook, and TV, and other shit just to feel not-alone.  But let me tell you.  You are basically doing the same thing as I am when I’m staring at a wall.  But what I’m doing is better.  Most of the things we fill our time with is garbage, and a detriment to our well being.  Because people are so afraid to be “bored”, they fill the void with negative things.  Drugs, alcohol abuse, etcetera.  All because they are afraid to be bored.  Give yourself a break, people!  You’re going to wake up in the future and realize that no matter what, you’re alone, and you’ve always been alone.  You’ll be standing there at the assisted-living center, looking out the window staring off in the distance wondering where all your buddies have gone.  How about right now shut it down?  Be ok with being bored, and so called lonely.  See boredom as a good thing.  See loneliness as a chance to get closer to figuring out why you’re here.  Or at least, why you’re not here.

I finish making the drink, she leaves, and I go back to standing there, waiting for my next customer, and also, kind of just to fuck with people, and see how many of them say, oh, you look bored.  Want some company?