OF MICE AND MEN (Summer vacations and going semi-anonymous)

Copy of bartender“You should know you can’t keep secrets in this business for long,” said one of the bartenders at the club.

It wasn’t really a secret.  It’s just the way we’ve always done things.  If you want time off, you need someone ready to fill in the shifts before you ask the owner to get out of them.

I’m planning to take an extended summer break this year — the-mother-of-all-vacations.  Two, maybe even three months off from the club.  But I wanted a tentative bar schedule in hand when approaching Carla, Johnny D’s owner.

Apparently she overheard someone talking about it before I could speak with her.

Oh well, I’ll just tell her first-hand when she gets back from a family trip.  Not the way I planned it, but I’m still hoping my vacation will start in June.

I think I deserve the time off.  (Which I’ll spend working on the book I was supposed to finish in 2012.)  It feels like I’ve been working at Johnny D’s forever . . . for at least ten years my schedule was as the closing bartender six nights a week.  Another bartender closed the seventh night, and when the club needed her to become the floor manager . . . I closed seven nights a week for three straight months.

That’s not a casual or estimated figure . . . for over three months, for one quarter of the calendar year, I was the last person to leave.  And when I finally had one night off after that long run, I immediately started in again six nights a week for the next five years.

Yeah, it’s time for a good, long summer vacation.

I’ll probably still have to do the club’s weekly payroll, and I may not be able to fill one shift in particular (no one wants to work Sundays during the summer.)  But I’ll take what I can — I do really need to finish that book.

Going semi-anonymous . . .

Part of this summer vacation plan was to go underground once I came back.

When starting this blog almost three years ago, I was determined to put everything upfront . . . who I was and where I worked.  I wanted readers to understand that everything I was writing about actually happened and that all the characters were real.

Most other bloggers remain anonymous, and I understand the justification . . . no one wants to be caught bad-mouthing their boss, and it doesn’t make sense to criticize customers who are currently tipping you.

But being anonymous has also tempted some bloggers to just make stuff up.  (Certainly no one on my blogroll, but I can name a few.)

Let me give one example . . .

A couple of years ago I was reading a very well-known server blog.  There was one story in particular that caught my eye . . . it seemed so familiar.  As the post continued I realized that I had seen it before.

What this server was describing as a “personal experience” had appeared in print back in the mid-eighties in a national magazine.  It was told as a humorous anecdote that just happened to occur in a restaurant.

Every detail was exact.

The foreign customers were the same (they could have been French, Italian, Russian, Latin American . . . but no, they were the exact nationality of the original story.)

The situation was the same, how it all unfolded, and the dialogue was copied verbatim right down to the last words.

That punch line . . . the wonderful line that made me remember the story . . . the punch line was exactly the same.  (When I first read the line years ago, I remember thinking, “Damn, I wish I’d said that!”)

Apparently this server felt the same way, and couldn’t resist pretending it had all happened to him.

(I can see it unfolding . . . this old story must have become something of a restaurant urban legend.  The server was probably out drinking with other restaurant workers — someone told the old story as though it had happened to them — and the blogger must have thought, “Hey, why don’t I just say that was me!”)

Of course his “personal experience” was simply a rehash of an old restaurant tale.

Shame, shame.

In this business, if your eyes are open, you don’t need to make up anything.  It’s entirely too crazy, too unbelievable . . . but it’s all real.  There’s no reason to blow smoke.  Truth is stranger than fiction, especially in a bar.

That being said, I’ve definitely missed the advantages of being anonymous . . .

There are so many good stories that have been put on the shelf simply because I didn’t want to offend anyone.  I was trying to stay politically correct . . . not wanting to crap where I eat, so to speak.

But what if something really bizarre happens on the job?  Something embarrassing that might not reflect well on the establishment, or those involved — good people who just happened to do something dumb.  Could I really tell you about that now?

Everything will change when my vacation is over.  I’ll still have stories about Johnny D’s (as well as The Lark Tavern, The Cantina Italiana, or other places already mentioned in this blog.)  I’ll still have a work history . . . but now I won’t necessarily be writing from Johnny D’s.  I’m not going to say where I am.  I’m going undercover.

I’ll start easing into it beginning next week.  From now on I’ll assume the underground work anonymity of most bar/restaurant blogs.  I’ll be a bartender at large.

It may not be perfect . . . and my vacation might not turn out as lengthy as planned, but I’m going to give it a shot.

I can’t wait.

See you next week with more bar stories.

(Ed. note:  Thanks to Best Restaurant Blogs for citing our post “Danny” as one of their top picks.  Check out their webpage if you haven’t already . . . it’s great resource for those in business, and those who enjoy hearing about it.)

Posted in Life on a Cocktail Napkin | 14 Comments


Copy of Copy of ManHidingTwo waitresses from a nearby restaurant were in the club the other night talking their jobs, and they asked what I thought about life in this business.  When I responded, one of them said, “Well, you’ve always had a positive outlook.”

Yes, I have . . . and that’s not going to change, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have my gripes. Here’s one of them.

Years ago I worked in a place that had a large potted plant at the end of the bar.  It wasn’t real . . . made of plastic or something, and it sat on the floor like a Hawaiian-type tree, with large broad leaves.

For some reason it was stuck in a corner at the end of the bar, with a small space behind it between the bar and a side wall.  I only mention this space because it was Sam’s favorite place to hide.

Sam used to come in and try to sneak to a spot where the bartender had just left.  It was a long bar and he liked to complain that he couldn’t get quick service while the bartender was at the other end, busy with the waitstaff.  He really got off on this.

One day I spotted him standing behind the plant.  The plant was taller and bushier than the one pictured above, but that’s basically how Sam looked to me, standing behind it.  He was waiting for a chance to sneak onto a bar stool unnoticed.

I leaned around the corner.

“Hey, Sam . . . didn’t see you there.  Would you like a drink?”

He was clearly disappointed I’d seen him hiding, but quickly recovered.

“Well yea,” he said, “Wadda ya think I’m here for?”

“What are you here for?” I wanted to say, “Looks like you’re here to play hide and seek, Sam.”  But instead I just smiled, and left to get him his usual cocktail.

Sam played this little game every time he came into the place.  I mean ever single freaking time.  He’d make himself scarce until your back was turned or you were at the other end of the bar . . . then quickly snag a seat, and bitch to the person next to him about having to wait.

‘Why would he do that?” Colleen asked when I told her about Sam.  (This was late last night as we talked on the phone — I try to run all these stories by Colleen first.)

Why?  That’s a good question . . . I’m really not sure.  I think he must have worked in a restaurant at some point, because this was just an old manager’s trick.

I’ve seen managers duck behind the cash register whenever the bartender comes by, only to pop out when that bartender walks away.  Then they’ll sometimes wave their hand as though they really need something . . . but they always wait until the bartender is walking away, back turned to them.

I’ve seen managers talk with a group of people, turning their side to the bartender so that he/she has no opportunity to ask if they want anything.  They’ll talk and talk and talk, until the bartender finally gives up and walks away.  Then they’ll complain at the next meeting that the bartender wasn’t being attentive.

I’m not kidding.  I’ve seen it more than once.

“That seems childish,” Colleen said.

Yes it does, doesn’t it?

This this job is tough enough . . . staying on top of things in a busy bar.  We certainly don’t need someone trying to make it more difficult . . . with artificially created problems.

But it’s a game I’ve seen many times.

Anyway that’s my guess . . . Sam must have been a restaurant manager at some point, and not a very good one.

Sam was so well know for his childish tactic that we began referring to him as “Disappearing Sam.”

I remember one night I spotted him walking in the front door, and decided to play the game along with him.  I kept my eye on him no matter where he went.  I could see him stealing quick glances back at me, waiting for a chance to sneak up to the bar unobserved.

Finally I had to turn my back for something, but when done I immediately scanned the bar to see where he might have gone.  He was just settling onto a stool at the far end, so I rushed down to him.

“Hey, Sam,” I said cheerfully, “How are you?  Would you like anything?”

There was disappointment all over his face.  He hadn’t been able to sneak to a spot I didn’t see.

“Well, can you at least give me a minute to get settled?” he snapped.

“Sure, Sam,” I continued to smile, “You let me know when you’re ready.”

And I left him stewing there, clearly miffed that his little effort had failed.

Let me tell you . . . that’s one guy I really don’t miss.

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Copy of kitten(The first part of this story appeared here in early 2011.  Today’s post will start with a recap before revealing the rest!)

Honest, I’m not kidding.  She liked to be tied up . . .

One of the waitresses had brought a cute little kitten into the The Cantina Italiana, trying to find a home for her.  The kitten was so small I could hold her on the palm of my hand.  While we waited for someone to adopt her, we kept her in the office.

She was so frightened, she’d hide under the office desk until everyone was gone, and then edge out cautiously and crawl up onto my knee while I put together the next day’s banks. At least she had a name now . . . we called her “Tina” . . . after the restaurant.

I ended up taking Tina home with me, after it was decided she couldn’t stay in The Cantina anymore.  (See the whole story about burglar alarms, the cops, and a gun-toting owner at the end of this post.)

I’d had a cat before.  A former girlfriend and I owned a cat when we lived together in Tealle Square, so I thought I knew what to expect.  But back then my girl worked days and I worked nights, so our cat was rarely alone.

Now living by myself, and working as GM at The Cantina, I kept late hours.  I’d leave in the afternoon and by the time I came home early the next morning, Tina would be bouncing off the walls.  Frantic, and with eyes as wide as saucers she’d be jumping all over me before I got my coat off.

“Cats need company,” a date told me one night when we’d come back to my apartment.  “You have to do something to help her burn off the energy.”

“Just trail a piece of string in front of her,” my date suggested, demonstrating on the living room floor.  She dragged the long string across the floor, up onto the couch, back across the floor and up onto the chair on the other side . . . back and forth in a figure eight.

“Just drag the string around until she gets tired chasing it . . . then she’ll be exhausted, and back to normal.”

It worked.

After that, every night when I came home from work, I’d run the string across the floor, back and forth in a figure eight until Tina just gave up.  She’d lie on her back, panting.

Sometimes I’d tease her.  As she lay on her back, I’d dangle the string above her paws and she’d take exhausted swipes at it.

One night as she lay there, swiping with all four little paws  . . . I don’t know why, but I quickly looped the string around her legs.  Like a cowboy tying up a steer.

With her paws now bound together, I began to rock her back and forth.  I was just teasing her a little.

Tina struggled for a second and then a look came over her face . . . if a look can actually come over a kitten’s face.  She began to purr loudly.  With her mouth open and her eyes half-closed, she lay on her back purring like crazy.

(She liked being tied up . . . she was purring like I’d never heard!)

From that night on, it became our little routine.  I’d drag the string, and Tina would chase it.  Then at some point . . .  as if saying, “Enough of the foreplay!” . . . she’d lie down on her back in the middle of the living room, with all four paws up in the air, bunched together.  She was trying to make it easy for me.

She’d just lie there on her back, legs patiently raised, waiting for me to tie her up again.

Once I did . . . and I began to rock her back and forth, she’d just purr, and purr, and purr.


Why I wound up taking Tina home; why she had to leave the restaurant . . .

The reason I originally took Tina home with me — it was decided she could no long stay at The Cantina.  At first, we thought we’d adopt her as the restaurant’s house cat.  We’d put out a bowl of milk and a plate of dry cat food, and at the end of the night we’d lock her in the office.

Fiore Colella, owner of Cantina Italiana and Ristorante Fiore, both on Hanover Street in Boston’s North End.

One night the owner, Fiore Colella, got a call from the alarm company.  (Whenever a restaurant alarm goes off, the company dispatcher immediately calls the owner, and the police.)

It was four o’clock in the morning and Fiore lived in Medford about twenty minutes away, but now he got up — got dressed — and headed into Boston.

He took two handguns with him.

Outside the restaurant, Fiore could hear the alarm continue to ring.  He’d driven all the way from Medford, but the police still hadn’t shown up, even with the central Boston Police station only a couple of blocks away.

Fiore waited in his car as the alarm kept clanging.

Finally he decided to go inside by himself.

I have to tell you a little about Fiore — he isn’t afraid of anything.  Once he and some friends were hunting wild boar on a game preserve when a squat, 250 lb. animal came charging out of the bushes at them.

The other guys were running away, climbing up trees to escape . . . but Fiore just stood there as the raging boar charged.  He raised his 45 cal. revolver, and fired twice — BAM!  BAM! — the boar fell dead at his feet.

Another night, Fiore was giving his nephew (who worked as a bus boy) a ride home.  It was two o’clock in the morning and they were on Causeway Street, just before the Tobin Bridge.

They were stopped at the traffic light when suddenly a large, looming man appeared on the dark, deserted street.  He was approaching them fast, now only 10-12 feet away, and then he whipped out a meat cleaver from behind his back. As he raced toward them, he raised the cleaver high as though preparing to smash the driver’s side car window.  A wild man with a meat cleaver only a few feet away!

Fiore calmly lowered the car window.  He stuck a semi-automatic handgun out window and told the guy, Get the fuck outta here or I’ll blow your fucking head off!

The guy dropped the cleaver, and ran away like a madman.

When the bus boy told us about it the next day, his eyes became wide with fright again, as though it was happening once more.

Born and raised in Avellino, a tough provincial town in southern Italy, Fiore has ice water in his veins.

Anyway, the police still hadn’t arrived and the alarm kept ringing, so Fiore got out of his car and walked toward the restaurant. He had a gun in each hand.

Inside, he discovered it was only Tina. No wild charging boar, no maniac with a meat cleaver.  Fiore stood face to face with a frightened little kitten.

She’d managed to get out of the basement office by working her way up through the crawl space . . . and once upstairs she set off the motion detectors.

Copy of cantinaFiore locked her up again (this time in the liquor room.)  He called the alarm company, relocked the front door and headed back to his car, ready to go home.

Outside the restaurant, it had been an hour and a half since the alarm first went off, but still no sign of the police.

Now Fiore noticed a police cruiser parked behind his car on the street.  “About time!” he must have thought as he approached the cruiser.

“What took you so long?” he demanded as he walked up to the police officer.  It was a woman officer, and she turned toward him.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“What took you so long to get here . . . they called the station at the same time they called me!”

“Oh, that’s a different department,” the uniformed woman replied calmly.  “I’m with traffic . . . you’re parked in a handicapped zone.”

In his haste, Fiore had parked in a $75 handicapped spot . . . and the officer was writing him a ticket.  As they argued, the police still hadn’t arrived to check on the alarm.

“I have to send something to the Herald about this,” I told Fiore the next day.  Howie Carr had a column in the Boston Herald back then, and I was sure he’d be interested in the ticket story.

“Naw, don’t want to ruffle any feathers,” Fiore said.

But that’s the story of why Tina had to leave The Cantina, and why I took her home with me . . . the kitten who liked to be tied up.

Posted in Life on a Cocktail Napkin | 10 Comments


Copy of Scott ProutyLast year on May 17th I went to work behind the bar — made the usual drinks, chatted with customers, earned some tips and went home satisfied that I’d done my job.  That same evening, another Boston-born bartender had a somewhat more productive shift.

Remember the election last year, with a secretly-recorded Mitt Romney video going viral just before November’s presidential vote?

The video was made by unknown person/persons while Mitt was speaking at a private $50,000-a-plate fundraiser.  Many experts claim the release of this clip may have swayed the election, completely turned it around.

Who was behind the camera?  Who made the secret recording?

Scott Prouty finally ended this mystery when he was interviewed on The Ed Show” (MSNBC) last Wednesday night.  Turns out the bartender done it.  And he’s from Boston.

Most of you have already seen this part of the video — the part that went viral — it was played and replayed on every news outlet.  Everyone was talking about the “47% video.”

But it wasn’t the “47%” part that bothered Scott Prouty the most.  A blue collar guy and a bartender, Mr. Prouty was more interested in Romney’s attitude toward everyday workers.

From the full video — listen to the heightened tone in Romney’s voice as he describes the working conditions in China.  He was looking into the purchase of a factory in China, and he’s almost salivating as he talks about the cheap labor available there.


Romney’s company, Bain Capital, ended up buying that factory.  They couldn’t resist all those young girls working so hard, and being paid so little.  (For living quarters, twelve girls crammed into every room, with ten rooms to a section — and in each section — all 120 young girls share one small bathroom at the end of the hall?)

What about that “huge” fence . . . the tall fence surrounding the factory, with barb-wire strung along the top, and armed snipers in guard towers above?  That was to keep people out?  Be serious . . .

No matter, Bain Capital was interested in cheap labor.  Slave labor, child labor . . . that doesn’t seem to concern international business companies, as long as they achieve their bottom line and make lots of money.

This is what bothered Scott Prouty, and he made that clear during Wednesday’s interview.

“This was the clip (referring to the China part) that motivated you to go public?” interviewer Ed Schultz asks.

“100%”, Mr. Prouty replied.

Was he worried about the consequences, what retaliation he might face from releasing the video?

“These were the most influential, the most powerful people in America,” Mr. Prouty recalls, “I had to ask myself . . . do I want to put myself out there?“

But according to Scott, as he debated for weeks what to do, he walked into the bathroom one night and looked into the mirror.  Out of his mouth, without thinking, the words “You coward” came out.

The rest is presidential history.

“Today Mitt Romney lost the election,” (Bloomberg.com; the day after the video was released.)

“Bartender put Romney’s campaign on the rocks,” (a CNN headline following Wednesday’s interview.)

The fact that a presidential contest was influenced by something a bartender overheard was not lost on MSNBC interviewer Ed Schultz.  Here’s some of what he had to say about the irony:

“Bartender’s are in the service and hospitality industry . . . but they are also some of the best ‘arm-chair’ psychologists you can find.”

“Bartenders are some of the best ‘people-readers’ on the face of the earth.  They can tell if someone’s in a good mood, a jerk, the worst guy in the place . . . one of the nicest people in the world you’ve ever met.  You know how it is . . . they interact with everyone.”

“People confide in bartenders.  They tell bartenders things they might not tell anybody else.”

“What I’m saying is that the bartender sees it all.  The bartender knows people . . . and in a way, you know it’s kind of perfect that the guy who secretly recorded Mitt Romney was in this industry . . . was a bartender.”

On May 17th of last year, I guess you could say bartender Scott Prouty put in a pretty good shift’s work.

Back next with a more typical post . . . more bar stories.

(To view the entire video, click on part one and part two.)

Posted in Life on a Cocktail Napkin | 6 Comments

DROPPING THE BALL (Restaurant fuck-ups)

We’ve all seen it.  At a crucial moment in the game — when everything is on the line — some key player makes a horrible mistake.

(Bill Buckner’s legendary error costs the Boston Red Sox the 1986 World Series title as he allows the ball to go between his legs.  Go to the 00:56 second mark — and weep.)

This happens in our business, too.  Bars and restaurants see really good players, as well as the bad ones, make serious errors they’d like to take back.  Here are three of them I’m remembering today.

“Oh the humanity . . . ”

Let me be frank, Jeanne was a big girl.  She was around 5’ 5”, and must have weighed 225-250 lbs.  And she was loud.  It was as though she had decided not to be intimidated by anyone . . . so everything she did was exaggerated and in-your-face loud.

When she said — “Why do I have to do the roll-ups?” — you could hear her from one end of the restaurant all the way to the bar at Johnny D’s.

She wasn’t a bad kid, and although her loudness could be irritating I don’t want give the impression that I’m picking on her.  (I’ll relate one of my own embarrassing moments below.)  It’s just that something happened to her one night that was pretty amazing, a little frightening, sad  . . . and yet somehow funny, all at the same time.

Jeanne was in the kitchen getting ready to take food out to her customers.  She must have layered 8 – 10 plates of hot food on a large tray that night.  She was carrying it on her shoulder, using the other hand to hold the edge of the tray.

Nobody but Jeanne would have stacked so many plates on a single tray at one time.

One her way to the platform dining area, she successfully negotiated the two steps up . . . but then she seemed to pause on the platform carpet.  She began to sway a bit, first a little to the left, then to the right.

The large tray on her shoulder began to sway with her.

She took two quick steps to the right to keep her shoulder under the tray, then two quick steps to the left as the tray swung the other way.

Back and forth that tray swung, and Jeanne was taking quick little steps, a little dance beneath the moving tray.  

The tray swung to the left . . . back to the right again.  We watched in horror from the bar.  Everyone on the platform began to watch.  She was losing control.

The tray swung too far!  Suddenly Jeanne’s feet came out from under her — and for a moment that tray seemed to be suspended in the air.  But then it followed her down . . .

Jeanne landed with her arms and legs bouncing a little.  Her entire large body seemed to bounce up and down, so it looked like something in slow motion.  The plates and silverware clattered all around her like debris falling from the sky.

John B. and I were watching the spectacular fall from behind the bar — and recalling the Hindenburg incident, he solemnly announced,  “ . . . Oh the humanity!”

(“Oh the humanity . . . ,” John said as Jeanne hit the carpet.  The line from the Hindenburg video is at the 00:42 second mark.)

I’m sorry, I don’t mean to appear thoughtless or cruel.  Fortunately Jeanne jumped right back up unharmed, but she must have been terribly embarrassed.  Anyway, it’s not nice to laugh.

But I  couldn’t help it . . . at the bar, John’s wisecrack had me biting a knuckle to keep from cracking-up out loud.


Bright lights, big FUBAR . . .

Steve wasn’t a bad manager, really . . . just a little inexperienced when it involved working in the trenches.

He had the right attitude and a good heart when he came up with a new plan to help the wait staff.

At Johnny D’s on a busy night the customers sometimes can’t spot their waitperson . . . there’s just too many people in the crowd.

Steve wanted something to easily identify them.  Something to immediately let customers know that this person could get them drinks.

I don’t know if this is the same tray, and for all I know this particular brand might actually work.  Ours didn’t.

I don’t know if this is the same tray, and for all I know this particular brand might actually work. Ours didn’t.

His solution was a wait staff tray rimmed with small, flashing lights.  I guess he figured that no matter how packed the club, no matter how short the wait person — with those flashing lights on their trays they could be spotted at once.

Of course, the trays were very expensive.

They came as a package that had to be assembled.  Included in the package was a handle that was to be attached under the tray.  It was supposed to make it easier carrying large rounds.

The handles didn’t really work well, and soon all the wait people were taking them off, after spilling too many rounds of drinks.

But the biggest problem was something that the manufacturers apparently hadn’t thought of . . .

The strings of lights circling each tray . . . the small, colored flashing lights . . . those lights weren’t waterproof.

That’s right.  If some beer should spill off the top of a pint glass, or a drink was knocked over onto the tray (or God forbid if the tray was washed) . . . the LED lights simply shorted out.

And once they shorted out, they never worked again.

One by one, tray after tray began to quietly blink out in the middle of the crowd.  Maybe when a server’s lights went out, customers thought that person was simply going off duty.  (Like at a cab stand . . . “Nope their lights are out, we’ll have to wait for someone else!”)

Steve left the club shortly after that, although not just because of the winked-out trays.


My own fuck-up . . .  (I’ve told this story here before, but that was almost three years ago, so I hope you don’t mind me repeating it.)

I was new in town, and The Sunflower Café was my first job in the Boston area.

Having done my time at the service bar upstairs, this was my first shift in the basement club.  It was Christmas Eve; none of the other bartenders wanted to work.

There was a manager on duty somewhere, but I didn’t see him all night.  I was alone behind the bar, and feeling a little nervous.

The evening started with my only two customers somehow getting into an argument that escalated into a table-toppling fist fight.  Later a woman broke down and began to sob uncontrollably halfway through her drink.

More people wandered in and as the place got crowded, a waiter we knew from a nearby restaurant got really hammered and began loudly yelling a surprising, and most intimate confession.

“I’m gay,” he shouted as he stood up on the rungs of his barstool, “I’m gay . . . I’m gay!  And I don’t care who knows it!”

Finally I managed to quiet him down, but the worst part of the night was yet to come.

Around ten o’clock, some guy stumbled down the stairs and wove his way to where I was standing behind the bar.

I’ll ha..ha..ha..ve a gi..gi..gin and tonic,” he managed to stutter.

I looked at him. He was a mess. He was an average-sized guy, twenty-five or so, with thinning hair. His glasses were tilted on his nose and his hands kept jerking as he tried to order the drink.

G..g..g..gin and . . . Te..Te..Te . . .” .

I stopped him before he could repeat his request.

“Not tonight,” I told him. “I think that’s it for tonight. Come back another day.”

He looked at me.

He adjusted the glasses on his nose.

I’ve g…g…got,” he said.

I’ve g…g…got . . . Cer..er..rebral Pa…al .. palsy!” he managed to stammer.  His hands were jerking in front of his face as he spoke.

I felt the eyes of everyone at the bar bearing down on me.

I could hear them all thinking:  “That poor man . . . he has cerebral palsy, and now the bartender is calling everyone’s attention to it!  Rather than just serve him . . . and it’s Christmas Eve!”

I felt like such a jerk.

“I’m sorry,” I told the man.

“I’m sorry,” I said again as I set down his drink, “I really am.  This one’s on the house.”

Apparently, although the man really did have cerebral palsy, he was also falling down drunk.

Halfway through that first drink, he tumbled off the bar stool and lay helpless on the floor, unable to get up.

He’d probably been shut off someplace else before stumbling in here.

Now the manager of The Sunflower Café suddenly appeared.  As we carried the man up the stairs to a cab, the manager kept glaring at me as if to say:  “What the Hell were you thinking?  How could you serve someone that’s so trashed?”

Dropping a tray full of food, serving a drunk who has cerebral palsy . . . if you play the game long enough these things will happen.  Sometimes you gotta laugh, even when the joke’s on you.  See you all next week.

Posted in Life on a Cocktail Napkin | 13 Comments