Speaking of booze and stuff (which is what I talk about these days now that I’m a blogger, a funny thing happened to your most friendly bartender during a recent visit to the fair City of Angels. On his way to a friend’s house one night, as he drove past this new brick building, he happened to notice a sign above it that announced in glowing white lights… DENIAL CENTER.
Excuse me? Denial Center? Is that some kind of AA place where people go to deny instead of admit? Wow, only in L.A.!” he thought, continuing on his way.
Now your friendly bartender has certainly seen his share of staunch deniers… right in his very own bar for that matter, right here in New York City… but only freaking L.A. would have a center for it. Or at least that’s what he thought as his mind began play out these possible scenarios…
SCENE I: (A man in his mid-thirties walks up to the mike and confidently addresses the eclectic assemblage.)
“Hi, my name is Bob and I’m not an alcoholic!”
“Hi, Bob, and neither are we,” the CROWD responds in sing-song unison.
“This morning, before I got in my car and drove over here, I made myself a couple of Bloody Mary’s. All right, three Bloody Mary’s. (Knowing laughter from the CROWD) But I knew as I was drinking them I could stop at any time so no big deal. In fact, proof it’s no big deal is the fact I’m standing here in front of you sharing my story. (Scattered applause from the CROWD) And here’s my story… I am not an alcoholic and neither are you, good people, in spite of what our pastor, boss or spouse says. It’s simply a matter of choosing to drink, that’s all. And dammit we own that choice! (Solid applause from the CROWD)
“God, I remember how bleak it was before I owned that choice, when my only option was to call myself an alcoholic. I became bankrupt not just physically and emotionally but spiritually. And the guilt from that admittance was downright horrendous. (Knowing murmur from the CROWD) Ahh… but then one day, after a stiff martini, the skies opened up and they were azure blue and thanks to a higher power I was cured. It’s now been 274 days since I had my last guilt trip and I’m proud to say I’m still a Non-Alcoholic! (Huge applause from the CROWD) Yes, fellow non-addicts, we’re social drinkers not drunken stinkers who can stop and start wherever the hell we choose. It’s all about choice.
“In fact, speaking of choice, after this meeting I choose to drop by Buzzy’s for one and anyone wishing to join me is welcome. Thank you for listening. (Standing ovation from the crowd) (FADE OUT)
Scene II: (Another man in his mid-thirties approaches the mike and addresses the eclectic assemblage.)
“Hi, my name is Mervin and I’m not a porn addict!”
“Hi, Mervin, and neither are we,” the CROWD responds in sing-song unison.
“Ya know… I used to wonder what the cut-off was as far as how many porno tapes you could keep in your apartment before it became what some would call a disorder. You know, an addiction. (Sympathetic booing from the CROWD) And at the time of that assessment I had about thirty or forty tapes so I began to think, ‘Hey, maybe I do have a problem.’ (More booing)
“But then, just as that horrible guilt started to claw it’s way in, thanks to a higher power and six straight movies, the skies opened up and I saw the light. (Scattered applause from the CROWD) I thought, ‘How many times have I walked into someone’s home and seen hundreds of books lining the shelves and dozens of paintings adorning the walls as these people proudly displayed their love of art?’ Well hey, to me pornography is art… especially the Boob Brigade Series, Volumes Two through Five… (Knowing chuckle from the CROWD), and I can own my art as well as they can. In fact I’m building a brand new tape shelf as we speak! (Growing applause from the CROWD) Yes, Fellow-Nons, I’m not a porn addict I’m an art collector!!! (Standing ovation from the CROWD)
“And hey, if anyone wants to join me post meeting, the adult book store three doors down is having a DVD signing by Lotta Cummings, the star of the new release, “Oral, Hi Gene!” (A complete and awkward silence follows from the CROWD) Er-ah, thanks for listening.” (FADE OUT)
Yes, these were the crazy thoughts that rumbled through the fertile mind of your quite insane bartender until he reached the home of his friends who were waiting in their driveway. And when he immediately asked sweet Susie, the wife of his friend Don, “What’s the deal with that Denial Center up the road?” Susie answered incredulously, “Are you fucking nuts? That’s a Dental Center… the bulbs on the top of the “T” in DENTAL burned out. They just haven’t gotten around to replacing them!”
Your friendly bartender is now your humbled bartender.