Your friendly bartender posted once about a (place where he used to work), where it was all the help could do to avoid their wine list. Yes, they hated that little nine by twelve cardboard nightmare. They found it too much trouble, too damn fancy, and simply too much not just a glass of beer. But just as dreaded as that “Whine List” I might add, looking back on those days of yore, was the posting of the summer drinks on the overhead chalkboard. For when that fateful day occurred each year as those drinks made their way onto the menu… usually around July first… louder than the chalk heard scratching across slate as the manager scrawled out the list, was the collective groan of the staff in ursine conniption.
And from that day forward (when the boss was out of the building of course), if someone was brazen or foolish enough to ask for one of the selections, and exchange something like the following would surely be heard…
“Ahhh, I’ll have a Banana Daiquiri.”
“No you won’t, we’re out of bananas.”
“How about a Strawberry Daiquiri?”
“Sorry, the strawberries went bad.”
“Hmmm… well then let me just have a nice Pina Colada.
“You know what? Let me check in the back, I think the goddam blender broke last night. Hold on a sec.” And gone he would be maybe never to return.
Get the picture? No “soup” for you if it has to be chopped, sliced, minced and it goes in a blender. But there was one on the staff, I’m happy to report, who was clearly different from the rest… the guy from that previous post named Louie the Cigar. Now granted, Louie also had no intentions of ever making a blender drink, but the way he went about that avoidance each time was priceless. For Louie was a politician, dear reader, a schmoozer of the first order, and he always chose a massage over the body block. Here’s an example…
Three young guys came in one day… one hot-ass summer day… and took a seat at a table right near the bar. These guys were sweaty and tired and ready for a liquid cool down. But when the biggest guy of three looked up and saw the “Summer Drinks” sign, Louie was over at the table so fast you’d have thought his mission was to deliver the life saving Heimlich Maneuver.
“Soooo,” said Louie, trying to run a diversion, “are all you guys football players or what?” They were taken aback at first when he said this and the two smaller guys looked surprised, while the big guy just kept staring up at that drink list.
Then the littlest guy of the three finally broke the ice. “We’ve been known to toss a ball around,” he said, “why do you ask?”
“I don’t know, because yuz’ look like a coupla’ athletes to me, that’s all.” Louie was laying the groundwork with a sharp pick and shovel. “So what kind of beer do yuz’ want,” he went on, “you look like you could use a nice cold one.”
At which point the big guy, the only one of the three who not only looked like he’d tossed a ball around but had actually carried a ball in full pads into an end zone, took the lead and not to Louie’s liking. He said, “I don’t know, I was kinda thinkin’ about one of those summer drinks. You know, like a Banana Daiquiri or somethin’.”
“Whoa, whoa, hold on there,” said Louie, feigning shock and kerfuffle, as he walked around and grabbed the guy by his bicep. “Jesus, man, that stuff’s not for you, a big strapping guy like yourself, that shit’s up there for broads if ya’ wanna’ know the truth. If you want my advice, and believe me I know what I’m talking about, you’re better off stayin’ away from a drink like that. I mean think about it!”
And by the look on the guy’s face after he’d taken this whole thing in, one would’ve thought that instead of summer drinks that list had contained seven cute outfits for Barbie. And one for Ken!
“Well I don’t know about these guys,” the littlest guy broke in boldly, “but I’m having me a nice cold bottle of Budweiser.” Louie gave him a wink.
“And so will I,” said the middle guy, also middle in size, “a Bud’s exactly what I feel like having right now.” Two down and one to go!
“Now yer’ talkin, fellas, now yer’ makin’ sense. That’s what yer’ supposed to do in a place like this. Two Buds comin’ up.” Then he turned to the big guy with hopes of a clean sweep. “And what about you there, Moose, should I make it three?”
To which the big guy said forlornly, his manhood fairly at stake at this point not to mention his sweet tooth turning more sour by the second, “Ahh, yeah, sure, I’ll have a beer as well… yeah, make it three.” But not wanting to appear a lemming he added, “but make mine a Sam Adams if you would, okay?”
“You got it, pal, Sam makes a hell of a beer… you made a good choice.”
And as Louie marched away from the table having run yet another successful anti-blender campaign, he winked one more time at the little guy… the one in his mind who’d taken the lead… who’d caught Louie’s pass and taken his team into the end zone. And the little guy, smiling in conspiratorial glee at that wink, gave him a wink right back… he was, for that moment in time, the big guy at the table. Yes, a sweet sight it was indeed… the little guy, for a change, scoring the touchdown.
Over and out from Bar-land… see ya’ next week-end!