Cops are so lucky. They get to wear a sparkly badge and eat doughnuts and tell people to spread ‘em. They carry around their shooty-things on their hip and get to hit people in the upper thighs with a heavy stick that swings recklessly from their Batman utility belt. All I get is a muddler to squish up limes which squirt sting-y stuff in my eye. It’s not fair.
But then I got an idea. A wonderfully wicked, horribly spectacular idea. The other day my nephew told me about this cool thing you can do with cops called a “ride-along”. Crazy, huh? Cops drive you around and you can see them confiscate drugs and intimidate perps (street talk for perpetrators) and other cool stuff. And my nephew’s only fourteen! Are you kidding me?
That’s when my wickedly brilliant idea began to form. If cops can have a fourteen year old ride around with them at the risk of getting shot in the face, then why shouldn’t I be able to provide an educational experience for a teenager to learn what it’s like to work in a bar all night? Exactly! Egalitarianism declares my right to.
I immediately put an ad out on Craigslist for a lucky candidate to join me for a shift. At first I made the ad cool and mysterious sounding so the applicants would come drooling with curiosity:
BARTENDER SEEKS YOUNG BOY FOR NIGHTLY ADVENTURES!
For this I received a tidal wave of responses that I had not expected. After I posted bail, I posted a new, less mysterious, well-defined ad and was soon rewarded with Julius, a fourteen year old go-getter who was just itching and clawing to follow in my footsteps.
I could hardly contain myself as I waited for my young Skywalker to show up for his training. Finally, someone to be molded by my hands.
When Julius walked in, I can’t help but admit that I was a bit concerned. He was a tad on the nerdy side and built like cooked linguini. Not really bartender material at all. My first mistake was not setting ground rules, because Julius was like a three year old in my bar and the questions never ended.
Julius: ”Why do we have to cut so many limes? What’s that waitresses name? Can I meet her? Why do you keep calling me Julius-san?”
Me: ”Well, Julius, we use lots of limes throughout the shift…we’re not just cutting them to strengthen your forearms (though they could certainly use it), the waitresses name is Sandy and no you may not meet her, she’s ten years older than you. Finally, I call you Julius-san out of respect. ’San’ is a title of honor.”
Julius: ”Yeah, but my name is Martin.”
Me: ”Martin? For a bartender? I don’t think so. No one cool was ever named Martin.”
Julius: ”What about Martin Sheen and Martin Short?”
Me: ”Exactly! Hahahaha! But seriously. Julius is a far superior name to Martin. It’s a delightful, frothy orange drink, it’s the name of that Doctor who played professional basketball years ago, and it was the name of one of the greatest presidents of the Spanish Empire.”
Me: ”Julius Caesar.”
Julius: ”Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesmen.”
Me: ”Julius, I think I know my history a little better than a fourteen year old.”
Julius: ”But I just learned…”
Me: “No more questions at this time please, let’s move on. This here, Julius, is called Patron. Would you like to take a shot with me? You would? Great! Here’s yours. Hahahaha, just kidding, I fooled you good, Julius-san. You can’t take that shot of tequila. My gosh, you’re so gullible, Julius. A shot of tequila has to be taken with a squeeze of lime and a lick of salt. Now lick the back of your hand…that’s where the salt goes. Here’s your lime. Good boy. Burns, doesn’t it?”
Julius: “Can I make a drink now?”
Me: “Can you make a drink? Get the fuck outta here. You think a cop let’s a fourteen year old kid shoot a criminal his first time out on a ride-along? Empty those bus tubs and take out the trash. You need to learn a little hustle first. Like a hamster. A hamster runs on a wheel and then gets his treat, not the other way around.”
Julius: “Hamsters run on the wheel for fun. They don’t get treats for that.”
Me: “Don’t argue. You need to be a hamster for awhile before you climb the totem pole. I’m going to call you Nerbel from now on until you learn how to run on a wheel. Nerbel the hamster.”
I put him to work, gave him some real man-labor, and that quieted him down for awhile, but it didn’t take long for him to start back up.”
Nerbel: “What are those two people doing? Why are they touching tongues like that?”
Me: “Well, Nerbel, she’s doing it because she’s insecure because her daddy didn’t love her and this is the only way she knows how to feel loved. He’s doing it because he’s had 15 beers and has forgotten how unfortunate she looked way back when he had his first sip. In the morning she will feel regretful and depressed and he will be angry with himself.
Nerbel: “Why will he be angry with himself?”
Me: “Because his dick controls his life. It will make you do funny things too one day, Nerbel, and I’m talking way beyond those two hours you spend in the shower doing the old knuckle-shuffle on your piss-pump.”
By this time I began to see a shift in Nerbel. He seemed to have aged five years in the past two hours, and so I pushed on, determined to teach him everything I had learned in my fifteen years behind the bar.
Me: “Don’t ever let anyone convince you to go to bartending school, Nerbel. It’s a waste of time. Take you, for instance. The resume you emailed me stated that you were voted class clown last year in junior high, isn’t that right? Well, did you go to clown college? I didn’t think so. Some things you can’t learn at some stupid school. What’s that? You wanna go home? Forget it. I ask that question all the time too but the owner just laughs at me. You wouldn’t believe all the horrors I see in the place. Not to mention all the whores I see in this place. Hahaha…get it, Nerbel? Whores? Nevermind.”
Nerbel: ”I’m going home now.”
Me: ”What? But you’ll miss the puking and the bar fights.”
Nerbel: ”I don’t care. Bartending is stupid.”
Me: Hahahaha….easy, champ. Don’t want to say something you’re gonna regret. Hey, where ya going? Don’t leave…I’ll do that thing where I rub my hands together really fast and fix you. Come on, Nerbel. I’ll let you make a drink.”
When he reached the door he turned to look at his master and I could see the sadness in his eyes. I had to be strong for him, so I summoned my inner-most Mr. Miyagi and bellowed, “Banzai, Nerbel-san. BANZAI!” He shook his head at me, no doubt choked up from having to say good-bye to his mentor and hero. ”Stay in school, Nerbel. Say no to drugs.”
And then he was gone.
Note: The facts of the preceding article may or may not have been embellished based on my memory which has been deteriorated greatly by many years of consuming Aspertame in behemothic quantities. P.S. RIP Nerbel