Mr. Bo Jangles (And boy does he jangle!)

I remember my saying to a friend one night as she sat on the corner stool nursing her wine, “Ya’ know, it’s almost impossible to do what I’m about to tell you. At least for me.”

“What’s impossible?” she said, her brow beginning to knit, wondering what new mountain I was thinking of climbing. Apparently without my pitons, goggles or lip balm.

“Okay,” I said, “here’s the deal. Tonight in the cab on my way to work, and I’ve done this a few times before, I decided to make a pact with myself to not say anything negative about a customer. No matter what. To let people be who they are and not comment. Which isn’t the easiest thing in the world given the fact that I work in a god damn bar. Where we serve booze!”

“Jesus, what brought this on?” she asked.

“Nothing in particular. And I’m not trying to claim freaking Gandhi here, I just thought I’d try it for a night and see what happens. You know, like they say in the land of metaphysics, send out the positive vibes and it all comes back to you.”

“But were you ever successful in the past,” she asked, “on those nights when you tried this before? Did you ever get through a night without… ”

“Aw, for Christ almighty sakes,” I interrupted, almost as if on cue, “look who the hell just walked in the door? Damn I’m not in the mood for this happy horseshit!” And just like that my pact was broken, my bartender’s guide to Nirvana, which lasted all of five ridiculous minutes. Some Gandhi, eh?

Now before I proceed to describe this guy and shatter my new “inner peace”, let me just say that this guy’s not really that bad. As a person I mean. For he’s generous, he loves to have a good time (boy does he love a good time!), when he’s sober he’s pretty much well behaved, but when blitzed which is almost all of the time his act wears about as thin as a blade of grass. No, make that an eyelash. Because he’s definitely high freaking maintenance as you shall see…

“Hey,” he’ll shout at the top of his lungs, the moment he walks in the room, “let’s get this joint hopping, whaddaya’ say, gang? What’s the matter with you people? How come no one’s dancin’, get up and dance! What’s wrong with you people?” (There’s nothing wrong with these people, we’re not a dance place!) Then he’ll snap his fingers and bounce his shoulders and start to dance in place, much like a half-assed lounge act you’d see in a movie. And when he doesn’t get a response to this “act’, which is almost every time, he’ll shout down the bar to me, “Where’s my drink, Sir?” Pronounced, “S-u-h!”

Then I’ll pour him a Dewar’s and soda, lean in and tell him not to shout down the bar… a reprimand he always obeys… then he’s back on his quest to show off his snappy steps. Because dancing really is his social M.O. and why he comes to our bar, to show anyone who’s watching he can still do the jitterbug. As if he’s the show. And after moving from table to table all night like a door-to-door salesman trying to get his foot in the door, he’ll eventually find a willing partner and get his feet on the floor. Then it’s Katie bar the door. He’s boogaloo fucking Bo Jangles on a mission from hell.

The first time I actually caught this “act” I couldn’t believe my eyes, or that someone could be this cliche’ on so many levels. He was as dazzling as he was loud and equally as corny! Because without exaggeration, this guy’s a character right out of “Mad Men” (and not the cool Don Draper) clinging to some kind of suit-and-tie hipness, trying to be Sinatra but coming off Soupy Sales. Meaning, if you put this guy in a movie, or more to the point on the actual “Mad Men” to depict the kind of character I’ve just described… the “daddio” taking his Des Moines clients to the Playboy Club… the director would pull him aside and say, “I kinda’ see where you’re going but you’ve got to tame it down, man. That’s a cartoon.” And a cartoon indeed it is, it’s the “Tom and Jerry Show”. This guy is Tom, the leering cat, out on the prowl for every young Jerry in a skirt.

Now can he dance, which is his calling card? Yeah, but not well. For he jitterbugs not to the beat but to show off his moves. Which are all over the place. But the fact that he does it at all at his age, and with such unbounded energy, I’ll tip my hat and give him four stars for the effort. But that’s it. All the rest I’m sorry to say is bullshit. Barland bullshit!!

Bullshit like shrieking a two fingered whistle following every song, a whistle that if done in Alaska could bring down an avalanche. Bullshit like losing his drink all night long having set on a table to dance, then asking accusatorily what I did with it. Bullshit like having to be rescued by the waiter after goading some guys and calling them “lame” for not getting up and dancing with him and their dates. Bullshit like telling him to keep on moving when approaching a woman who’s come to the bar to see me. Bullshit like… well, you get the picture… he’s a “category four” who blows in the door and anyone caught in his path gets his evening uprooted. With a blast of hot air. And jut as an added bonus to this act, to round out his evening’s performance, he requests, upon exiting, a dose of Sinatra’s “My Way”. How’s that for cliche’? But like I said before he’s also a pretty good guy. Or he’d be gone. You just have to be in the mood for this act which is never. End of story!

“S-o-o-o-o,” said my friend, after I served Bo Jangles his first and returned to her and her wine at the end of the bar, “any comments you might want to share at this time? Or are you sticking to your pact of not being negative tonight?” She was smiling of course and waiting for one of my rants.

“No comment,” I said, smiling back, “but maybe I’ll write about it.”

Which I guess I have.

See you next week-end, dear reader, have yourself a good one.

Ommmm.    Ommmm.    Ommmm!

21 Responses to “Mr. Bo Jangles (And boy does he jangle!)”

  1. 1 Comrade PhysioProf June 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    How much farther would this dude have to go to get banned?

  2. 2 scribbler50 June 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Comrade: Good question and not much farther. But he’s been doing this crap for years and as i said he’s just a cartoon, and he really doesn’t piss anyone off they just laugh at him. And when he does go too far I’ll tell him and he’ll calm right down.

  3. 3 Chris June 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    “Then it’s Katie bar the door. He’s boogaloo fucking Bo Jangles on a mission from hell.”

    LMAO That is some funny shit Scrib, it literally had me laughing out loud. I can just picture this guy, mostly because of your vivid description but also because I think we have all known someone like this in one form or another. Great story, even though its a pain in the ass for you, hope he at least leaves a decent tip.

  4. 4 Sideshow Bill June 25, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    And I thought Rodney Dangerfield had moved on to the great annoying bar in the sky

  5. 5 Pharm Sci Grad June 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Glad to hear you got out on the town last week, even if it meant a late post. Must have been a damn good night! 🙂

    Definitely met this sort of guy out on the town – glad to hear yours will chill if you talk to him. At least for me, the older he is, the harder it is for me to work up enough annoyance to bother with him.

    As for a day of complete positivity, let me know if you ever get there. I sure haven’t! I don’t think laughing at people’s stupidity counts… but I’ve got that down! =P

  6. 6 scribbler50 June 26, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Chris: Yes, he does leave a decent tip, as I said in my early description “he’s generous”. Unfortunately he’s all those other things as well.

    Sideshow Bill: Yeah, Rodney’s gone, but this guy’s living proof the legend lives on. Good comparison, man!

    Sci Grad: I’m workin’ on that positivity thing and I’ll let you know if I get there. I’ll let you know telepathically that’s how advanced I’ll be. 🙂

  7. 7 mvpalex June 26, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Now you even got me pissed off ! One last warning then tell this Gene Kelly wannabe to dance out the door…..

  8. 8 scribbler50 June 27, 2011 at 8:26 am

    MVP: If you had had a piano at your place you could’ve done the job yourself, he was one of your customers. But hey, like I said, he’s been coming in for years and this is his silly act, and as long as people are laughing and not complaining, and he doesn’t take it any further which I doubt he ever will, we’ll let him skate. Or, check that… “dance”!.

  9. 9 Anonymoustache June 27, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Since recording is so simple nowadays, maybe someone should just record his routine on a cell phone camera or something and play it back to him when he’s sober…..that may do the trick and calm him down in the future….of course, you also run the risk that he may love it and demand that every one of his routines be recorded in the future…..

  10. 10 scribbler50 June 27, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Anonymoustache: Bingo, my friend, on the latter. It would not tend to embarrass but only encourage. It’s like wise guys watching a mob movie, they don’t in most cases realize they’re being made fun of. This guy in question would watch the recording, smile from ear to ear, then probably complain about the lighting and the sound!

  11. 11 physiobabe June 27, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I think he may be my brother-in-law!! Just kidding. Great post, Scrib.

  12. 12 Irishirritant June 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    white or two-tone shoes? Matching belt? if two tone is secondary color light blue?
    breath in the bad karmic vortex bathed in darkness…breath out the acceptance, light and spring air. Do this away from any open flames in case it doesn’t work.

  13. 13 scribbler50 June 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    physiobabe: Oh you’re such a kidder, you!
    Thanks, bella mia,

    Irish: I appreciate the tip, man, but I almost choked on the “breathe in” part and now my kitchen’s on fire!!!!! 🙂

  14. 14 Ken June 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I go to a bar for two reasons. One: to have a drink at the end of a long work day. Two: to engage in deep socialization with a friend. I’d probably want to leave if I found myself with said friend(s) in your bar. I can’t abide people trying to force their concept of “fun” on me. You are right, though. Their is no bigger cliche than a (middle aged? white? guy) seeing “My Way.” Try “The Summer Wind” or something!

  15. 15 scribbler50 June 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Ken: As usual we’re in sync, but this guy’s not an every nighter so he really doesn’t affect the place. Meaning, he doesn’t drive people like you away. In fact sometimes we don’t see him for over a month. But on those rare occasions when the circus comes to town we let the clown have his fun (as I said, to a point!).

  16. 16 Donna B. June 27, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    My dear Scribbler,

    Perhaps you didn’t live up to the impossible — not saying anything negative — but you live up to the ideal of not treating someone negatively. Well, not any more negatively than basic decency requires!

    And I know this guy, or perhaps his father or an uncle. Way back when (near 40 years ago) my first husband and I ran a hotel with a bar. He was there and his act has not seen many updates.

  17. 17 scribbler50 June 27, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Donna B: Thank you, my friend, so nice to hear from you again. And yeah, every generation and town produces this guy.

  18. 18 bunkerbuster June 29, 2011 at 12:26 am

    i get why people would make fun of the guy but what’s up with the resentment and calls to boot him out?? if the guy bothers you, surely it’s no trouble at all to ignore him…

  19. 19 scribbler50 June 29, 2011 at 1:57 am

    bunkerbuster: First off, no one’s calling to boot him out, at least not at the bar. And secondly, it’s not that it’s no trouble to ignore him it’s impossible to ignore him. Big dif’. But we let him have his fun.

  20. 20 Jennifer July 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    If you’re thinking negative thoughts… you’re still sending the vibes, so face it! You’re doomed!! 🙂

    Curious… how old is he? Do you know his age, or have a good guess??

  21. 21 scribbler50 July 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Jennifer: You’re right, with what runs through my mind I am doomed! And as far as this guy’s age goes (are you ready for this?) he looks in his late fifties but he’s over seventy. Put THAT in your bottle of One-A-Day vitamins and chew on it!
    Good hearing from you, Jennifer.

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