The Wife

“Would you guys like another beer?” I asked, of the two young suits sitting at the end of the bar. It was somewhere around eleven o’clock, they’d only just had the one, so surely a second beer would be in the offing. They apparently just got off work because they looked no worse for the wear, meaning all was well and good in the sobriety department, so these are the people you like to serve at this hour. We get this type a lot in our place, guys on a different work schedule, finance people dealing with overseas time zones. We also get the other types too, those who’d been bouncing in bar zones, who often require a babysitter rather than a pourer. But these guys were absolute aces as you shall see.

“Ah, no, one will do it,” said the one drinking Stella. “It’s late, Sir, and I gotta’ get home to the wife.”

Gotta get home to the wife? Did I just hear that? How quaint, I thought, how refreshing, and I smiled because I hadn’t heard that in years. And probably the last time I heard it was in a movie. So I said so.

“Ya’ know something?” I said, “what you just said is right out of an old movie or something. I like that.”

“Whaddaya’ mean?” said the guy, smiling but confused, with a hint of pride like I’d actually put him in a movie.

“Well, just what I said. You’d often hear that line in an old movie, ‘Gotta get home to the wife,’ and it takes me back. And the reason I mention it here is, you seem to be way too young to take me back there. That’s all.”

They were both in their mid to late thirties, these guys, good guys both you could tell, if from no other clue than the open expressions on their faces. They were wide-eyed, eager, and happy to carry this further.

Which is why the guy drinking Heineken asked this question. “So, bartender, give us some other bar lines you’ve heard in old movies?”

“Well, one I always got a kick out of,” I said, “which could never in a million years happen in real life is, “Give me a damn scotch and leave the bottle!”

“Yeah, right,” said Heineken. “I’ve seen that. I mean first off, how in the hell would you pay for something like that?”

“That you could figure out,” I said, “but I know how the bartender would pay, he’d pay with a headache. Or a fat lip. I mean this customer’s obviously pissed in the first place or depressed beyond all reason, so unless you’re a glutton for punishment here why would you willingly hand this guy a bottle of fuel to pour on either of those fires? But hey, that’s the movies for you.”

“Anything else?” asked Stella, “as far as movie lines?”

“Well, as far as lines like what you said, ‘Gotta’ get home to the wife’… you know, exit lines… I can’t name any of the movies of course and these aren’t exact quotes, but you often heard stuff like this when a guy left a bar… “The little woman’s holding dinner so it’s straight home for me, Joe.’ Or, ‘No more for me, Joe, the ball and chain’s got me on a short leash tonight.’ Or how about this little beauty, ‘The Mrs. is on the warpath so I better get myself home if I want to keep my scalp, Joe.’ (They laughed.) Yeah, that’s how guys often left the bar when they couldn’t have one more drink, and the wife always bore the brunt of those hackneyed exchanges.”

“You know what?” declared Stella, the guy going home to the wife, “let us have another one, what the hell.”

“Okay,” I said, “but if you get in trouble don’t go and blame it on me.”

“Of course I will,” laughed Stella, “because we’re enjoying you.”

“That’s right,” added Heineken, “so tell us some more.”

I felt like an Irish rabbi holding class for a couple of Rabbinical students, but in this case the rabbi’s name was fucking O’Methuselah! I felt ancient.

“More about what?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” said Heineken, “just stuff. Bar stuff.”

“Okay,” I said, looking down at the cell phone resting on the hardwood, “I got one for ya’. Thanks to that little gadget there bartenders don’t have to lie to your wives any more.”

“What do you mean?” asked Heineken.

“I’ll tell you what I mean. Remember in those old movies when you’d see a bartender take a call, then cover the receiver with his hand and whisper, ‘Are you here, Moe? It’s your wife.’ Well, those days are long gone and thank God they are. Wives don’t call the bar anymore, and neither do office secretaries, they call your cell phones instead and we’re off the hook. No pun intended.”

“Has that ever happened?” asked Stella.

“Well yes, I just told you,” I said.

“No, I mean did you ever personally have to do that?”

“Sadly I did and I have to say I was bad at it. Really bad. In fact, if those phone calls had been auditions, speaking again of the movies, I never would’ve worked a day in my life in films. I was a lousy actor. Actual proof of that is the fact that a wife or two over the years, after hearing my sorry performance, marched in the door and pounced on the guy that I lied for. Some cover, right?”

They liked that.

Then we wandered into a conversation about drinking habits. And how it’s changing out there. How young people seem to be ordering drinks they never ordered in the past… Old Fashioned’s, Tom Collins’, Manhattan’s, Martini’s, Rob Roy’s and Rusty Nail’s… all kinds of drinks that aren’t your lemon drop shooters. And just as I was about to orate on how the TV show Mad Men has been instrumental in that, Stella’s cell phone rang out loudly from the bar top.

“The wife?” I asked, watching him check out the caller.

“No,” he said with a wink, “the ball and chain!”

(See ya’ next Saturday, dear reader, enjoy your week!

20 Responses to “The Wife”

  1. 1 Comrade PhysioProf March 26, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Dude, you’d totally lie for me, or I’d beat your asse down! hahahah

  2. 2 Pharm Sci Grad March 26, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Haha! Glad to hear about your nice encounter this week. Everyone loves to have a few good guys to break up the workday.

  3. 3 Mike Q March 26, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Nice slice of life, Scrib. I’m just on a break, waiting for Saturday night to pick up. I always enjoy myself reading your blog.

  4. 4 scribbler50 March 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Physioprof: Since I happen to know Mrs. Physioprof, and might like her better than you, you’re in deep shit, pal. So straighten up! And the only ass you’ll be beating is your own, by the way.

    Pharm Sci Grad: And this particular blogger likes your weekly visits! Thanks!

    Mike Q: Happy to be the entertainment on your break, my friend. May your night be lucrative!

  5. 5 jc March 26, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    โ€œso tell us some more.โ€

    I’m surprised Stella and Heineken didn’t climb on your lap to have you read YOUR BLOG to them for bedtime!

    Oh, if they only knew just how much MORE you have to say about “bar stuff.” tee hee hee.

  6. 6 Paleoprof March 27, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Here’s where our worlds overlap just a little Scrib. So after that cowboy in the movie orders the whiskey and tells the bartender to leave the bottle his buddy comes in. His buddy pours out some little sparkling stones on the bar “here are the diamonds from the bank job”. First cowboy takes the whiskey bottle and BAAAM slams it down on the diamonds and they shatter “those aren’t diamonds, diamonds are harder than glass what are you trying to pull” wherein he pulls his gun and shoots. Problem is you CAN crush diamonds with a glass whiskey bottle, what you can’t do is scratch the diamonds glass. I see variations of this all over the place. The latest was on one of those CSI shows. So next time you see someone about to crush the sparkling stones with that liquor bottle you just left stop them, and explain that hardness is resistance to scratching … not breaking :).
    As always a great story. thanks

  7. 7 Ken March 27, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Scrib: Is it even legal for a bartender to just leave a bottle on the bar? I know it would not be prudent.

    I’ve never needed a bartender to lie for me. I’ve never had a problem with my wife knowing where I was. She did follow me into my favorite bar once (the Greek place with the big windows. That happened because I had met a reporter acquaintance in the bar and seriously missed my ETA at home. Even that didn’t matter except it was the night before a big party in my honor.

  8. 8 scribbler50 March 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    jc: I DO know a thing or two, one of which is jc’s getting snarky out there. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Paleoprof: Love the scene you painted, prof, not to mention the science lesson, but it’s doubtful any of my regulars will be tossing a bag of diamonds on the bar any time soon. But I’m ready if it happens. Thanks!

    Ken: I don’t know how the law reads but leaving a bottle on the bar CAN’T be legal. It would have to do with who is doing the pouring and unlike in the movies a customer can’t do that.

    Nice to hear the wife doesn’t need a tracking device!

  9. 9 blue girl March 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Cute story, Scrib! I used to work with two suppliers who referred to their wives as “the wife.” I always associated it as an Archie Bunker way of speaking. Probably cuz of the way the two guys were.

  10. 10 Anonymoustache March 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Great stuff, as always, bro. I’d leave a longer comment but I gotta get offline and get back to….yeah, you guessed it…

  11. 11 scribbler50 March 27, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    blue girl: After last week’s depressing entry a “cute story” was just what the doctor ordered. And yeah, “the wife” can sound Bunker-ish but with this guy it actually held affection.

    Anonymoustache: No sweat, my brother, just glad you stopped by. Enjoy the games.

  12. 12 Autistic Lurker March 27, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Scrib wrote:

    I donโ€™t know how the law reads but leaving a bottle on the bar CANโ€™T be legal. It would have to do with who is doing the pouring and unlike in the movies a customer canโ€™t do that.

    I wonder if it’s legal over here?

    Last time I toured the bar scene with my brother was last year. We did 3 bars; the first was a regular (also nice and classy) place of mine where they brewed their own beer; second place was a rack-a-boom-boom club with lot of hormones (especially testosterone) in the air; third place was a strip club.

    That night, I was only drink herbal tea and coke. at the first bar, I took 2 herbal tea, the brother 2 pint of beer which he downed fast (was pissed off that day) and then he decide he want action, thus the boom-boom club.

    Now for the club, keep in mind that I had at most 20$ of clothing on myself (old pair of jeans bought 5 years ago for 20$, t-shirt was a gift and worn out climate controlled shoes with lot of vent holes). i.e. I was actually expecting to be laughed at given that in this bar, most people had 150$ bottle of vodka in hands and maybe 1200$ of clothing, cell phones and other gizmo on them. I didn’t exactly disappoint ๐Ÿ™‚

    During that time, I actually had a good time because the waiter gave me priority for my drink (I paid 50% tip over the price of my glasses of cokes) as well as many girls dancing right in front of me (even had a close-up show from 2 girls) but on the other hands, the brother which was starting to get wasted noted a group of 4 testosterone apparatus making fun of me and he increasingly got pissed out. At some point, I had to get him out because I felt like he was at his breaking point.

    Once out, he told me what happened and he was really pissed off. I told him to not bother and proposed him to let off some steam at the strip club and I’d pay for him. unfortunately, he was too wasted out to enjoy himself.

    A.L. (who wonder if I should blog…)

    p.s. more on topic, the girlfriend do keep a close eyes on me but more to ensure that I have a good time and I am not drinking my emotions.

  13. 13 Autistic Lurker March 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    nearly forgot about the boom-boom club, good chance I haven’t told the brother that another testosterone apparatus offered to meet me in the bathroom for some bump & grind…


  14. 14 scribbler50 March 28, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Lurker: Don’t know whether you should blog (as per your question) but I thank you for sharing your “excellent adventure”.

  15. 15 Jennifer March 28, 2011 at 11:09 am

    It’s a good thing this post was in black and white, ya old fart. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. 16 scribbler50 March 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Jennifer: And I was going to choose sepia tone, would’ve been better! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. 17 d-a-p March 28, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    …aahhhh cell phones….what did we ever do without cell phones…we got off the damn stool,went to the men’s room and called “the little woman” on a pay phone…(remember those?)
    fun story..nice to hear about “regular guys”

  18. 18 scribbler50 March 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    d-a-p: Yeah, well that’s what guys were SUPPOSED to do anyway. But I seem to remember you missing a few of those “phone homes”. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Glad you liked the story, old friend.

  19. 19 mvpalex March 30, 2011 at 10:35 am

    OK,give me a drink and nobody gets hurt! (my new favorite)

  20. 20 scribbler50 March 30, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Alex: I’ve heard, “Don’t anybody move and no one gets hurt,” but I haven’t not heard that one. I like it.

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