The point is not the point, the point is the poetry. This is the refrain that begins competitive poetry slams. And as much as we all like clowning minority lesbian’s poems about their, “love orchids,” in this refrain they have an excellent point. I’ll start off by saying I tended bar for the Seattle poetry slam for a couple years and these are people whom, for the most part, understand that competitive poetry is silly. This is a concept that I can truly grasp because the same can easily said about competitive bartending, these are things that are in no way quantifiable. Competitive poetry was created as a gimmick to draw attention to American poetry. And for every 15 poems you hear about a 45 years old divorced woman who is ready to love again, you’ll catch a poem about something that almost brings you to tears in a room of people you were just making fun of.
But the point is not the point is what I want to talk about here. If poetry ain’t yer cup of tea, then perhaps you like golf, poker or fishing. And I submit to you that if you know your handicap, can quote odds on various pocket pairs or actually have taxidermied fish you are doing things wrong. The point of golf, poker and fishing are all the same: drinking, smoking and dirty jokes. Just that golf is for the man who likes drunk driving (golf cart), poker is for the man who prefers to watch sports while drinking and fishing is for the meditative man. Buddha would have fished though he would not have used a hook or bait. Think about it.
Tonight I will go to work and serve the public, and will be annoyed by many of them (only the bastards) because they don’t get the point. Assuming that I, as a modern bartender, do indeed get the point that tending bar is about making good drinks as much as talking, as much as not talking and listening. Here are some people that don’t get the point. But one quick shout out to the dude who drinks a beer at the bar while waiting for take out: you sir, do indeed get the point, take a break whenever possible and have a beer. Wise.
Getting drunk in a park.
Some one today will order an extra drink or 3 at the last minute right before happy hour ends. This is not the point. Happy hour is about not working, and transition, not about weaseling as many free drinks as you can in an hour. As you might have guessed, I’m a bit of an asshole, and I used to date a girl who said, “you are an asshole when you get off work, you need to go unwind for a half a hour before seeing me.” She was right. Happy hour is about complaining about your boss, drinking on a patio after a long day in the cube and talking about how ultra fuck-able the new intern is. If you want to get drunk for cheap, I highly recommend kicking it hobo style, bottle and a bag. Or, not that I ever did this, buy a vitamin water, dump it, and refill the bottle with wine and people watch. That is how you get drunk and have fun for cheap, not happy hour.
Sit in the bar before dinner
Going out to eat is luxury, treat it that way. When you treat it like a quick lazy thing to just fill mouth with calories, you might just go to taco bell instead (but it could kill you). Having a cocktail before dinner whets your appetite. It relaxes you. It makes you take your time to pick out wine with dinner. It will make you care less you’re your food is taking forever with a slammed kitchen. It will make your server like you more because nobody likes waiting on a table of water drinkers. And really, it’s more likely that you’ll talk about something interesting or provocative during dinner that will likely lead to sex later, trust me.
Quantity is not the point
“Drinking to get drunk is like having sex to get pregnant.” –Robert Hess. 99% of the time I’ll have 1 great single malt instead of 3 crappy blended scotches. I’m not trying to be elitist here, because sometimes I do want 3 crap drinks to 1 good one, but more often than not I see quantity get out of hand. People often request bud light of me, and I reply, “You didn’t work hard enough to have a bud light today.”
Prove me wrong world, nobody likes a bud light, nobody at all, but some people like several bud lights.
I used to work construction and wash dishes, I know, sometimes you need a beer soda at the end of your shift to quick change the mood. But after that, it’s a joke. Most any bar without peanut shells on the floor (nothing against that) has a world to offer outside of light beer. And don’t try to play the calorie card, we all now that Guinness is as light as you can drink and most light beers have at least 80% of the calories that a regular beer has. So if you worked a 10 hour day of manual labor, I got an ice cold one (because a “warm one”, is not a “one”) and a shot of jager for you, but the rest of you, quit being posers in khakis.
I want you to try something new and be happy
If you eat 2 star chicken phad Thai everything you go out, you are a lost cause and a bad boring lover and I do not address you here. If you are a person that looks at a menu and takes chances, please extend the bar tender the same courtesy. Bitter and spiteful my rants may be I always want to help you, customer be happy and have an experience you’ll remember. I always have a new bottle for you to try, a sample of new Belgian beer or a wine that is off menu. You should try some. Remember, there was a time before we were teenagers, before we knew everything. Upon further examination, you may find that you don’t actually know everything. Take a chance on your drinks, you’ll find some new love. And if your drink is poo, send it back.
I hope if you are reading this you’ll go out tonight and drink right, noting that the point is not the point, really, ever. The point more often is the process or hidden or hidden in the process. You know, like fishing with out a hook or bait.