Barroom Humour

“All parents are an embarrassment to their children.”
(novel) The Rosie Project

Sometimes I’m grumpy, foul-tempered, negative and impatient. At least that’s what I’m told. And apparently not everyone appreciates what I consider to be a marvelous sense of humour. But, here goes…

My daughter had a summer job bartending. I found this ironic because until she scored this plum position she didn’t even know how how to open a bottle of beer. I kid you not. She calls me a
“raging alcoholic.”
Imagine that.

The thing is, I’ve dropped into ‘her’ bar a couple of times in the past two weeks, mainly because I discovered that her night manager picks up my beer bill. So naturally I became a little distressed the other night when I mounted the stairs with my arthritic knees and sore back to the terraced bar overlooking Dow’s Lake and saw no one. No servers, and more importantly, no bartender. Fortunately I had the presence of mind not to panic and proceeded to the window separating the outside patio to the indoor section. Several waitresses were sitting around a table, as if their night’s work was over or something. Of course my only recourse was to tap loudly on the window.
“Hey, where’s your bartender”? I was a little put out and possibly, I was told later, a bit too loud. “What kind of operation are you running around here?”

Which was met by some blank, but mostly indignant stares. As if they didn’t know who I was or something. Maybe my daughter had failed to mention that the short, stubby guy frequently drinking beer on the premises lately was her father.

The embarrassed barkeeper made her way quickly back to the bar when she noticed who the late -arriving patron was. No use allowing him to hang around even longer, making an even bigger fool of himself than he was, and what’s worse, reflecting badly on her.

“What kind of draft beer do you have ?” I inquired, hoisting myself onto a stool at the empty bar.
“You know what kind of draft beer we have,” came the answer. “We go through this every time you come here.”
“The usual, then.” My memory was coming back to me. “Does anyone ever call you Porky?”
Another indignant glare. My daughter is a university hockey player and she works out at the gym every day year round. Porky she is not.

So I had to tell her the story from my own university hockey-playing days. My New Jersey friend, who also happened to be the team manager, Mike Dunn, and me, had taken out a young rookie on the team to what was probably his first foray into any kind of bar. We were in Massachusetts, just after Christmas, and we really shouldn’t have been out the night before a game. But remember, this was the ’70s.
“I’ll have a Budweiser, barkeep” said Dunn. With his New Jersey accent barkeep sounded more like ‘baakee.’
Our rookie friend, Johnny Parker, was from rural New Brunswick and hadn’t really attuned his ear to the tones of deepest , darkest New Jersey. He looked at our server, heavy-set and scowling.
“Yeah, you can get me the same thing, uh, Porky.” Poor Johnny had misunderstood the nomenclature. Back in the day it wasn’t unusual to call a fat guy Porky, especially if you’d just heard one of your friends use that moniker already. However, our service for the rest of the night was grudging and intermittent.

My story done, I thought I’d finish off by impressing my daughter with my generosity. After all, that virtue had been the subject of many a lecture. “Beers for the house,” I announced,”and keep ’em coming.” I circled my finger in the air, using the universal signal of barflies everywhere. You might be startled by my generosity, but I have to admit I was the only one still on the premises.
And the beers were free.

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