Monday, February 25, 2008

A Great Reason to Knife Someone... because they bumped into you. This stupid shit happens night after night downtown. When will people learn that pulling knives and guns on people in the name a drunken bar fight is about the stupidest goddamn thing you could do? Probably never.

All to say, does anyone know where this happened? Because I sure don't.

Edit: It happened at Level 131. Apparently a kid got his throat slashed. Nice.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Things Happen

Awhile ago I decided to go to the gym like I normally do, which usually is a great idea. In the gym, I decided to do some dead lifts, which normally is a great idea as well. During my dead lifts, something in me decided to have some bad form with a little too much weight, and that ended up being a bad idea.

It was a long road to recovery but after icing the hell out of my back, eating Ibuprofen like candy, and cursing at myself for being incredibly stupid, I finally healed up and I could actually bend over to tie my shoes again. The experience sucked, but it made me ponder over previous injuries I've had, both in the gym and at the bar.

Years ago in the gym, I was doing a tricep excercise when I must have had some more bad form, and I ended up severely injuring my left tricep, which to this day still bothers me when doing extremely heavy bench press or military press. I have a constant tingling sensation in my left chest when doing heavy bench press as well.

Kicking someone out years and years back, myself and another bar employee took a very bad tumble down an entire set of stairs - headfirst, mind you - from top to bottom. Somewhere in the fall, I landed on my shoulder wrong and couldn't raise my arm above a 45 degree angle from my body for several months. That too eventually healed. Luckily it was a complete heal.

I've rolled both of my ankles several times, gotten black eyes and swollen cheeks, a busted nose, scraped elbows and knees, multiple scars on my legs, scratched arms, bruised practically everywhere, I've been to the ER several times for work related activities, once for myself and many other times for coworkers, and I have to wonder when the bar will ever offer us health insurance. Probably never.

It's a tough business. Sometimes when people don't like you or the job you have or the decisions that the job forces you to make, people get angry and they become violent towards you. Sometimes you get hurt, and that always sucks. As for myself, I'm getting older and my body seems to take just a little longer every time to heal from the things that happen while at work.

So here's to all bar employees the world over! Be safe out there.

Monday, February 18, 2008

That sidewalk was hard, wasn't it?

Sometimes at the door I feel like a pressure cooker, just waiting to go off. Line after line of the same bullshit that I hear 12 times every 10 minutes gets extremely irritating and slowly builds me up to the point where I explode.

So to the kid who happened to be arguing with me, testing me, cursing at me, and name dropping bartenders at me in order to try and get inside simply because I recognized that the ID he was using wasn't his and wouldn't let him in, I say this:

I wish I dropped you on your head a whole lot harder than I did. Maybe it would have knocked some fucking sense into you.

Have a great week, everyone.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Friday Night Recap

First of all, what the fuck? That has to be one of the strangest stories I've heard in a long time. If a guy is fucking me up the ass, then you'd be damn sure that I'd remember every second of it. Of course, I'd have to be dead for that to happen, but anyways...

Last night was one of our stranger nights. I knew it would be strange when a guy and girl approached the door wanting to get in. The guy had a dog collar around his neck and a leash attached to it. Holding the leash was the girl. I guess we know who calls the shots in that relationship, so I addressed her instead of him and told them they couldn't come inside like that.

The night took a further twist when an ambulance flew down the street with its sirens wailing. The crowd on the sidewalk, obviously extremely concerned that some drunk kid had drank himself into hospitalization, cheered loudly as it passed.

Only in Athens...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fake IDs

There's always a few of these in the paper every year or two.

Being at the door of a popular bar downtown, I have the unique perspective to have a "finger to the wind" so to speak, to the going-ons of which fake IDs happen to be in circulation at the moment.

I see it constantly, and it doesn't take long for me to figure out that there's a random guy printing fake Florida IDs up somewhere in his apartment when a new crop of them begin to present themselves to me by obviously underaged kids on the weekends.

Let's not forget the wonderful North Carolina IDs that were in circulation some time ago, or the Texas IDs before that. I see a lot of manufactured and/or altered Georgia IDs, but the good ones are few and far between. As of now, Florida happens to be a popular state to manufacture, and let me tell you...whoever's making them makes some shitty-ass IDs. If you're reading this, get a different job, dude. Because I just don't think forgery is in your cards.

All to say, the article in the paper is a nice little insight to whats going on downtown, but take a moment to think: what if the downtown police had been working with doormen all along? Don't you think a few questions by them from time to time might provide a little more insight more quickly than simply the police officers taking them up themselves whenever they have a run-in with a drunk 18 year old? Perhaps instead of threatening to give us background checks and license us or breathalyze us to make sure we're not drinking ourselves to death at work while letting underaged girls offer sexual favors to get them inside, maybe you could see if we'd like to help you instead of being the target of your threats?

Even better, I bet the government could put an even bigger dent in the fake ID manufacturing operation if those in power would go one step further and offer bars and doormen an incentive to confiscate fake IDs and cut off their use at the earliest point possible. If I had any incentive to do that, I'd be delivering a sack-full of the things to the police almost every single night.

But I don't have an incentive. No bar does. I'm not even aware of any bars that offer incentives to their employees soley as an internal policy for confiscating fake IDs. Why not? It's pretty simple: Because nobody really gives a flying fuck.

So until then, I'll just reject the poor, underaged soul and hand them their fake ID back for them to try and get into the next bar. And eventually, they'll get in and drink and the cycle will repeat itself until the county gets serious and actually passes a law that's worth a shit.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


So you come to Athens and start school and discover the joys of downtown and eventually the thought crosses your mind - all of you, that is, at one time or another - about how it might be cool to work in one of the watering holes that you and your friends frequent on the weekends.

You could be a bartender!, you think. You'd be "slingin' drinks" like the other bartenders do around town. They seem to do it so effortlessly and from what you hear, they make a killing. Plus...they look so damn cool doing it, right?

Whipping up complicated concoctions of liquid that everyone will be amazed to watch you do would be fun, you think, especially when you throw some bartending "flair" into it, just like you saw those guys at Firehouse do.

Sometimes the guys want to "bounce", and make sure everyone knows how tough they are. These are the guys spend a lot of time in the gym so they can look good..and big, too. They want to be assured of their dominance over the frail looking 20-something frat boy who will inevitabely cross his path at one point or another and get tossed out on their skull or beat to a pulp in some dark back alleyway somewhere downtown. Shit, you get into enough fights while you're downtown drinking anyway, might as well get paid to do it, right?

And so, the career, often short-lived as it is, of a bar employee is born. They'll do it for a few months - or longer if they can last - before something will happen. Normally, it's one of several things. Most commonly, they'll flunk out of school and move away because of all the late night drinking and partying. Or, they'll graduate and move on to bigger and better things, take a "real" job in Atlanta and begin a career in some financial firm while setting up their new Buckhead digs. Sometimes they simply tire of the late nights and recognize that the job's just not for them.

Or lastly, they don't quit and get caught in the never ending life-sucking vortex of downtown nightlife work.

Sort of like me.

I'm the rarest breed, having done this for what seems like forever. I think I've found myself to be thought of around town as one of the "lifers" who don't get out of "the business" until they're damn near their mid-30s.

There's a number of us working around downtown who have been doing this for waaay too long. We've overstayed our welcome and have outgrown our target demographic. We used to be the drunken college kids who wound up behind the bar, but now we're far removed, age-wise and intellegence-wise - most of us, at least - than the new crop of kids coming in to fill the vacant positions at the bar.

But for some reason we stay. Perhaps part of it is to hold on to our last shred of college innocence in a town where care-free days by the pool and night after night of partying continue on year round. Maybe it's because there will always be girls coming out to the bar we work at who are drunk and willing and ready for some late night action, where subsequently those elsewhere who are older know better. It could be that some of us never graduated college - or even started - and we're not really sure what else to do with our lives for the time being besides make jagerbombs and pop beer. Some of us have a real job and only do this on the side for extra money or for fun, or simply for a combination of reasons above.

Either way, I'm still around. A lot of us are. We were around years ago when smoking was allowed in bars. Back when Insomnia was a late night alcohol-free dance club where kids went to sober up after drinking all night before heading home (or so they touted). Or back in the days of Uptown Lounge, Gator Haters, Bird Dog, the original On The Rocks and Mean Mikes. We could walk down the street and get a coffee at Blue Sky before heading into work. We could hang out at One Love or head to Engine Room to get the hell away from the main part of downtown when we went out.

Either way, things downtown have changed and yet still some of us remain. We'll all have our own reasons for that, but it's always interesting to watch the changes happen downtown over the years, and I'm still around to continue to watch.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Nothing This Week

Anyone who reads this probably won't hear too much from me this week. Between having too much shit to keep up with and several other things that I won't divulge, my time and motivation to write will be sorely lacking.

Check back next week. Thanks.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Repost

I thought this was great. Reprinted totally without permission from a facebook group that looks like it was started by a guy who works at The Ritz. Enjoy.

Someone once pointed out to me the fact that there seems to be a micro-economy in the service industry. Restaurant workers take their tip money out to bars and clubs at night and give it to the bartenders, who promptly return it to the waiters and waitresses the next day at lunch. The cycle is almost self-sufficient and is mutually beneficial. Knowing the pain of waiting on customers, each group tips the other well and never raises a fuss. These people do not need to be educated. The rest of you do.

Many of us have stood in a noisy, crowded bar and asked, "What's a guy got to do to get a drink around here?" Well, you're about to find out. Here are some Do's and Don'ts that will keep the relationship between the bartender and bar patron running smoothly.


Fail to have your money ready

We're waiting on you. Everyone else is waiting on us. Therefore, by the Transitive Property of Equality, everyone is waiting on you. Rule #1: Have your shit together. Not only will following Rule #1 get you served quicker in a bar, it's a good general rule to adopt in life and is especially helpful in Central American border crossing scenarios.


This is an absolute No-No. You whistle at dogs, not people.

Wave money

Oh, you've got a dollar!! I'll be right over!! Hopefully I won't break an ankle in my fevered rush to get you your "curz lite." Well, at least you're not breaking the next rule.

Yell out the bartender's first name

There's something deeply psychologically disturbing about hearing your name called out, turning around and seeing a complete stranger. That's one of the reasons strippers use stage names. Bartender's do too. Mine is Cocoa.

Say "make it strong!" or "put a lot of liquor in it"

Oh, you're one of the rare drinkers that like their drink strong! When you say this, you're assuming I make weak drinks (which is insulting) and you're assuming that I'll stiffen this one up for my new best buddy, you. This is the best way to get a weak drink.

Give the ever-expanding drink order

You want a Bud. I go get it. I come back and now you want a Margarita. Okay, no prob. I come back, and (oh yeah!) now you want a shot of Tequila, too. You really could have told us this all at once. See Rule #1.

Pull the redirect (or the bait 'n' switch)

Usually used after the money wave or the whistle, this is when the gentlemen passes his turn to the lady behind him. Yeah, um, don't do that, okay? Chances are she's not ready, and your weak attempt at chivalry just cost you your turn. See you in 30 minutes.

Try the confused, lost look

This is usually accompanied by the question "What kind of beer y'all got?" while looking at all the beers we have. You did know you were in a bar, right? You didn't just appear here, did you? Refer to Rule #1.

Order High Maintenance shooters

Example: "Lemme get an Alabama Slammer, a Red Snapper, two Kamikazes, a Buttery Nipple and a Lemon Drop." Usually followed by a small tip. People, these shooters are fine by themselves, but there are multiple steps involved with each one. Translation: Time Sink. You may get them this time, but you'll probably be waited on last the next time we see your face. Here's a clue as to whether or not you're high maintenance; if two bartenders are working and they see you, and they flip a coin and the loser comes over to take your order, pretty good chance you're high maintenance.

Assume we know you're in the band

We know, we know, you're gonna be really famous, but you're not there yet, tiger. Tell us you're in the band and which band you're in. By the way, if you are in a band and get free/reduced drink prices, feel free to tip, as most bartenders are also in bands! It's not like we don't know how it is. Oh, and our bands will smoke your band.

Assume we know you period

Unless you've followed the first "Do" rule below, we don't remember you. You are one of a thousand faces for us, and when you point at an empty glass or a beer bottle that's invariably facing away from us, your attempt at a shortcut backfires. Tell us what you want.

Apologize for sucking

Don't apologize for not tipping. Acknowledging that you suck is not the same as not sucking. Oh, and don't say "I'll get ya next time." We know all about you.

Assume soft drinks are free

Are they free at McDonald's? Are they free at Wal-Mart? Are they free anywhere? I blame M.A.D.D. for this myth.

Put pennies and nickels in the tip jar

We don't want that crap in our pockets any more than you do. We don't have anything smaller than quarters. Have you ever ordered a drink that cost $3.17?

Be "The Microbrew Aficionado"

Usually a pseudo-hippy who can't tip a quarter but can't bring himself to drink "schwag," and who has to sample some new berry-wheat-harvest-ale that he heard about at Burning Man. "Do you have the new Vernal-Equinox Special Welcome-Fest?" "Does Anyone?" Here's your Newcastle. Go.

Be "The Daddy Warbucks"

Dressed in classic day-trader wear, this loud, boisterous guy smokes cigars and orders Martinis and generally exudes an air of money. Until the tip. We hate you.

Be a "Whiney Baby"

Under no circumstances should you ever whine to a bartender when asked to see your ID. Our jobs depend on them, and when we spot a fake/expired ID, don't argue; we've seen and heard it all a million times before, and it will get you absolutely nowhere. If you "don't have one" or "forgot it," forget it; you don't belong out on the town in the first place. That's the law, plain and simple. If we don't have the law, the terrorists win. You don't want the terrorists to win, do you? Bring your ID. Remember Rule #1, from a minute ago?



Tip heavy right off the bat, and you're the first person we aim for every time you come up to the bar. Did you get that? Go back and read it again. The word will spread to the other bartenders and you'll be treated like a prince. It will pay off in better drinks and the occasional free one.

Be patient

All you really need to do to get waited on is make eye contact. We see you, and we'll get to you before the guy right next to you waving money and whistling. Remember, this isn't insulin we're passing out here. If you really need the drink that bad, you've got a problem to address, Jack. The meek shall inherit the bar.

Be an attractive female

As in life, this goes far.

If this comes across as a little petty, remember: bartenders are a jaded lot.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Just Another Fight Story...

It was silly to have found ourselves in the exact same situation yet again, I thought to myself as I wrapped my arm around his neck and began to squeeze. If he didn't learn last time then I wanted to make sure that this time he did.

He was familiar. We had gone through these motions before some time back and it only took me a split second to know exactly what we were all about to go through yet again. It wouldn't be fun, but I was much less anxious about it all this time around. I knew what we had to do and I quickly prepared myself mentally for what was in store for us both. He was drunk, uncoordinated and I had the advantage on him, being physically superior and sober. I planned to expedite the whole situation and got behind him much more quickly than I did last time. And so I tightened up and sunk in the choke.

Those were the last thoughts I had as I began to squeeze his neck and cut off his blood supply. I was choking him out. If I wanted to sound politically correct, I might say that I "began to apply a carotid restraint on the individual". But I'm not. In the end, it's all the fucking same. I choked him to the point where he lost consciousness because his brain wasn't getting any blood.

When someone fights me as I begin the process of getting them out of the bar, sometimes they fight so much and so hard that there's simply no other option than to simply put them to sleep. They've behaved so badly and violently that we can't trust them to make decisions on their own and so we assume their decision making for them.

So that's what happened. Only, he wasn't all the way out. Like I've mentioned before, my thought process goes blank and I get eerily silent when I'm caught up in the glorified wrestling matches known as bar fights with our customers. If you look in pictures or footage - which actually do exist - sometimes I have a smile on my face while I'm involved with these things. Granted, I'm not particularly happy to have found myself in precarious situations such as these, but perhaps there's some part of me that enjoys it. Who's to know?

And so out we went, with him waking up and kicking, screaming, swinging and fighting the entire time, just like a small child going into a temper tantrum who simply can't accept the fact that there are consequences for socially unacceptable behavior. Only, this wasn't a child. He was a mid-twenties 200+ lb. grown man who had drank so much alcohol that he tried to start a fight and found willing participants in the form of our floor staff.

Sadly, he was overcome by men who were too numerous, too experienced, sober and much larger than he was. It was a losing battle for him from the start. However, his blood alcohol content clouded his judgment and refused to let him realize and accept those things as fact, so he continued to fight us, continued to attempt to get the upper hand, and miserably failed in all areas.

As we deposited him in the gutter, leaving him with a few choice words as we parted, his fighting continued. He leaped to his feet, ready for another round with the guys who had already done their part by ejecting him from the bar. See, that's what people don't understand. Once we get you out of the door, we win. We've done our jobs. But customers measure the winner of a fight by who's standing at the end of it all. Our only job is to get you out of the door and then we're finished. We have different goals and that's why fights continue outside of the bar.

This one was no different. He was drunk, angry, and wanted to find someone who he could impose his will on, frustrated that he couldn't do so with us. Logic would tell a sober person that attempting to fight when you're outnumbered 5 to 1 is a bad idea. Drink enough alcohol and your logic goes out the window, and his had left the building several hours and a half dozen drinks before that.

So the fight continued. And at the end of the day, he went to jail and we went home.