The Benefit

Yesterday I bartended for a benefit for a friend.  When I say bartended I mean bartended.  Let me start off by saying what an absolutely wonderful day it was.  The weather was great, the turn-out was spectacular and the teamwork was outstanding.

My bartending partner was a good friend of mine who bartends for a living, that will be a good piece of information to keep in mind as you work your way through this story.  Several others’ helped us out during potty breaks, smoke breaks, a dinner break, times when it was too much for us to handle and keeping us stocked with plenty of product.  It was really amazing to see, for a group of people who don’t work together all the time the synchronization was awesome.

Now that I have told the serious portion of the day, I better tell the funny parts of the day as well.  I realized about the time I got home at 2:30 AM that you can’t bartend for 13 hours and not have a bunch of funny things to choose from so I’ll share a few.

Around 3:00 PM we realized that this was going to be a day like none other, we had already been busy for 3 plus hours and realized that we were only going to get busier.  We had stocked the soda in the cooler 4 times and the beer needed restocking already.  Panic ensues when you realize that you’re selling beverages at a breakneck pace wondering if there will be enough to get you through the night because if you don’t you will need riot gear and the bomb squad because things will get ugly.  Wide-eyed and laughing we kept serving.

Around 5:00 PM my ankles started a boycott that would last the next 8 hours.  They apparently don’t realize we’ve been going to the gym and they’ve been carrying around this weight for years because they were complaining quite loudly.  Today it seems that my ankle bones don’t exist and I think I should be calling them cankles, by the time we were done at 12:45 AM they were spilling over the tops of my running shoes.  When the night started I really thought they of all things would be cooperative, I was more worried about my knees and my back but they were troopers and held up well.  I did try to walk as gingerly as I could but that only made it look like I was waddling.  I’m sure it goes without saying but at this point my in-shape counterpart was not waddling at all.

Around 7:15 we took a short dinner break which was much-needed.  The bad part of this was that my feet joined in on the loud complaining my ankles had been doing.   Sitting down at that point was a really bad idea because attempting to get up from my chair was a major event.  My waddle had turned into a full-blown limp.  At this point I also have to question running shoes.   Is there a weight limit to running shoes? There’s no way I was putting more wear and tear on them than a runner and my feet were not happy in them.  One more reason on my list of why not to run.

At about 8:00 my underwear decided to join in the fun.  They just gave up, said screw it and completely gave up, they couldn’t even make the whole shift.  How was the rest of me supposed to make it through the night if they couldn’t?  The elastic had endured enough and gave out.  I’m sure you can imagine how comfortable this was, the waistband had made its way below my butt cheeks and stayed there, for no other reason than they couldn’t go any further because of my pants.  I guess it was a good thing I had pants on.  This added yet another element to the waddle and limp I already had.  I’d put a name to it but I don’t think there is one.  Needless to say, my counterpart did not have underwear issues, a waddle or a limp.

Around 10:00 I decided the underwear had to go so made my way to the bathroom which was a major feat in itself.  Hoping I could get my jeans off without taking my shoes off I sat down to make the attempt at separation.  Well, long story short, it didn’t work, no way was I getting my jeans off without taking my shoes off and no way was I taking my shoes off!  I figured if I took my shoes off it would be bartending suicide.  I didn’t have a scissors on me to cut them off so stood up, pulled them up as far as I could, wore them like a thong and went back to work.  The original underwear swagger was gone but a new one took its place.

Around 11:30 we got punchy.  I got a second wind, my ankles didn’t feel like they were going to snap at any moment and everything was funny.  My counterpart and I really started to notice the condition of many of the patrons and found it hilarious.  Although we were still busy, we did have some breathing room at times to enjoy the show that was playing out in front of us.

The jukebox was playing its heart out and one end of the bar was using that as an excuse to show off their singing ability, or lack there of.  The other end of the bar had drunk their fill, including the toothless guy who brought his own mix and was now crying.  The silent auction tables were gone so another group of people turned that portion of the bar into a dance floor and believe me, I use the term dance loosely.  The woman who was drinking “Budweiser in a can bottle” (which is how she ordered it every time because we didn’t have bottles, only cans) had spilled for the third time all over the bar and the guy next to her.

About 12:45 we finally gave up and handed the reigns over to the others who had worked their butts off not only helping us but keeping everything else in line.  I felt rode hard and put up wet while my counterpart seemed to have the energy to endure more but I couldn’t let her as I thought it would make me look bad.  I took my waddle, limp and bad underwear to a seat on the other side of the bar.  We sat next to a couple of our friends to share laughs about the day and stories of boycotting body parts and pieces of clothing.

Bartending

Bartending is almost as good as going to the state fair or Wal-Mart, especially in west-end Duluth.  It’s entertainment, an ego boost and exhausting all at the same time.

Yesterday started with me screwing up the popcorn, there was a miscommunication in the way it needed to be done.  I was informed there was a ‘new’ way to do it which consisted of two glasses of oil.  Well, two glasses of oil is enough to deep fry a Cornish hen and a couple of corn dogs, but okay.  It became painfully obvious this wasn’t going to work so I was going to dump some of the oil out.  Why wouldn’t I do that in a plastic glass?  What a jackpot!  Sometimes I wonder how I get through life.  After a couple burns and a roll of paper towel I removed enough oil to get the job done.  Come to find out, there was no ‘new’ way, it was the same old way I’ve always done it.  I should have asked for clarification.

I brought two books with me today with intentions of getting them finished, well, that didn’t work out either, stayed just busy enough to be irritating.  I didn’t feel it was appropriate to tell everyone to leave so I could read, I think that would have affected my tips.

We open at 10, which means most of my patrons have had a good 3 or more hours of drinking in, considering they go to Wisconsin to start drinking at 6.  Yes, that’s 6 AM I’m talking about.  They start in Wisconsin, move to next door about 8 and then move to me at 10.

Today the motorcycle club was having a party so they were all leaving from the bar, which is good because it kept me on my toes until about 12:30.  After that a couple old guys, some regulars and two hilarious ladies kept me company until my shift ended.

The two ladies completely made my day, they were drinking PBR taps, eating pizza and writing dirty limericks.  So funny.  While I was chatting with them one of my old guys left but said he was going to be back, I look over at his glass and there was a bottle of lotion next to it.  Lotion? Really? He had been there for quite some time, no lotion prior to this.  Where did that bottle materialize from?  The three of us found it hilarious and made up a few stories as to why it was there.  Let’s just say none of the stories were good.

The other bit of good news is that I only had to cut one person off, which is odd, usually there’s a few of these.  I didn’t have a choice, he couldn’t keep his eyes open and I could no longer understand what I can only assume was English coming out of his mouth.  The speech was hindered by beer and a severe lack of teeth.