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Just Call Me Woody

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Well, there is absolutely nothing new on the Spurs front, aside from an ankle booboo Frenchy McWonderbutt picked up practicing with his national team, so I guess I'll give you all a little update on how my life has been going of late.

I've actually been quite busy. Manolis got me a bartending job at his place and the hours are pretty crazy. Some days I work from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m. Other days it's from 11 a.m. to midnight. I work pretty much every day or what seems like it. It's all I can do to watch a couple hours of TV when I get home before I pass out, exhausted.

Straight off you have to know something about me. I am not a drinker. In fact, before taking the job, I knew next to nothing about alcohol or the process of making various drinks. I couldn't even pour a beer properly from the tap. Me becoming a bartender was about as grisly and morbidly enjoyable to witness as your basic Jacque Vaughn jump shot.

Anyway, in the past month I have learned a great many things. To pour a shot you count to four and a half (so really five). The quality of vodka, from worst to best goes like this: Segrams, Stoli, Skyy, Absolut, Grey Goose, Ketel One. If you don't have Couintreau, use Triple Sec and hope nobody notices the difference. You can make a kick ass Bloody Mary or Margarita from scratch, but if you want it to taste consistent every time, you're better off using the mixes. The hardest beers on tap to pour (because they're so fucking foamy) are Sierra Nevada, Fat Tire, and Trumer Pilsner. The easiest are Bud and Bud Light. To make the perfect Irish Car Bomb, you fill the glass about 2/3 way with Guinness, and the shot glass with 4/5 Jameson whiskey, 1/5 Bailey's Cream. Those shot glasses are a bitch to clean, fyi.

Drinks I have made in the past two weeks:

Alien Secretion (vodka, coconut flavored Malibu rum, Midori melon liquor, pineapple juice)

Bloody Maria (like a Bloody Mary, but with tequila instead of vodka)

Bloody Mary (vodka [I prefer Skyy Citrus] tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, black pepper, salt, Tobasco sauce, lemon)

Chocolate Martini (vodka, white Creme de Cacao, baileys)

Cosmopolitan (vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, cranberry juice)

Gin Bloody Mary (gin instead of vodka, obviously, and also add cinnamon and extra Worcestershire sauce)

Grasshopper (green Creme de Menthe, white Creme de Cacao, light cream or half & half)

Grayhound (vodka, grapefruit juice)

Jack & Ginger (Jack Daniels, ginger ale, soda water)

Long Island Ice Tea (vodka, gin, rum, tequila, [optional] Triple Sec, Sweet & Sour, coke)

Margarita (tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice, lotsa ice, blended, salt on outside of glass)

Martini (gin, vermouth)

Screwdriver (vodka, orange juice)

Supercharger (like a car bomb, but with Red Bull instead of Guinness, and with vodka and Jagermeister in the shot glass)

Three Wise Men Go Hunting (Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Johnny Walker and Wild Turkey)

Ugly aka San Francisco Bloody Mary (beer instead of vodka [absolutely gross]

Also, the routine Jack & cokes, rum & cokes, gin & cranberries, vodka & cranberries, etc. Really, it's not that glamorous. It's anything but a high class bar. People watch sports, play pool, listen to the juke box. Mainly I pour beer. Most of our customers are poor or cheap and our regulars are hardcore alcoholics.

Here's a quick run down...

Amanda Blond, two kids, late 20s, friends with Sole I think. Drinks just Sierra Nevadas, but tips me a dollar on every one. She's usually there by herself, but sometimes her sister comes with her, and I shit you not, they sing folk songs together, in perfect harmony, while they play racing video games. They sound quite professional actually. She made out with Bryce recently.

Andy From Boston, works in advertising I think. Used to come in with his girlfriend, but broke up with her recently (she was a bit heavy). Lives with two broads in his house. Was a total asshole to me when I first started, despite me repeatedly telling him I had no bartending experience. He's nicer now though. Orders Sierra Nevedas, car bombs, or shots of Jager. Good tipper usually.

Bryce The current bane of my existence. Tall, Aryan looking guy, wears extremely baggy clothes and works as a chef at the Half Moon Bay Ritz Carlton. Drinks Bud Lights, car bombs, and shots of Southern Comfort. Routinely rings up tabs of $80 to $120 daily. Flirts with every woman, regardless of their availability or attractiveness. Tries to get into fights when drunk. Isn't particular about where he pees. Likes 80's hair bands. Always makes trouble and then apologizes later. Only decent tipper.

BBQ Bob Old fat bald guy with a pony tail and a fu man chu mustache. Very nice but quite poor as he lives in his van. Drinks Budweisers but can be cajoled into the occasional Three Wise Men Go Hunting. Tips if he has money, which is rare. Flirts with Ashley a lot.

Carl Works on the ranch as a heavy machine operator or something. Comes in once or twice a week and orders a ton of Coors Light (the worst beer) and shots of Jack, I think, or it could be Segrams 7. Nice guy, but kind of a dim bulb. Good tipper, but not nearly as good as he thinks. Another guy who leaves tabs and pays them off at the end of the week.

Carlos Oy vey, where to start with this guy. Might be the biggest alcoholic in the bar. I'm not sure what his job is or if he even has one, but he usually runs high tabs and it's a chore to ever get him to pay them off. Orders Bud Lights, and also car bombs and shots of Southern Comfort, just like Bryce. However, unlike Bryce, we are extremely dubious about his ability to pay, so we usually have to limit him to $20 per day or only so many car bombs. Doesn't handle his hard liquor particularly well. Almost never tips. Begs all the other customers for free drinks and they usually say yes somehow. Guaranteed to be in a complete stupor by closing time every night he's there. Doesn't know when to say when, if you catch my drift.

Dana Middle aged unattractive brunette. Drinks only Bud Lights and talks loud. She thinks she's witty and interesting but I find neither of these things to be true. Shared with me - for no reason - that size matters and that she lost her virginity at 22 but in retrospect wished she'd lost it much earlier. So so tipper.

Eric By far, my favorite. Works as a stockbroker. Orders just Sierra Nevadas, and usually just during happy hour (4 to 7 pm). Begs for a couple of free beers after his tab is already closed, but you give it to him because he's a super tipper. He has the money to pay, he'd just rather give it to you than the bar. Weird. Very friendly guy though, as long as he doesn't think you're charging him for too many beers and taking advantage of him.

Gary Fisherman, Chinese I think, middle aged. Only orders Grayhounds. Super nice, never in the bar too long when he is in there, incredible tipper.

Joaquin Old guy, 66 I think. He's been in prison a bunch of times but somehow has lots of money too. Super nice, an extremely generous tipper. Usually just orders Buds, but buys people drinks all the time. He gave me $50 one time to drive him to another bar after we'd closed and hang out there for half an hour before giving him a ride home. I think he went there to score blow though, so that part isn't cool. Still, everyone adores Joaquin.

Julian Another old guy, white hair, ponytail, complete bullshit artist. Always acts like he's the most cultured, experienced guy in the world who's led the greatest life. Owns a furniture shop I think but likes to talk about his expensive suits and his fancy pens. He tells us to buy more expensive liquor but usually just orders beer. Very ordinary tipper. Very, very fond of himself.

Lisa Works as hostess/waitress/bartender in some other place but comes to our place on her days off. Usually just drinks Bud because she disproves of all our beer and liquor selections (for example, we have Wild Turkey 80 and she insists on Wild Turkey 101). She keeps bragging about how her bar's Bloody Mary is the best but won't even try ours. Attractive, but not that attractive. Perhaps she comes to our bar because there is no competition there for her as we are a big sausagefest. Likes to play pool and swears like a sailor. Always orders French Dip sandwiches but tips the bare minimum for someone who works in the restaurant industry. A bit wiggerish.

Lynn A mechanic who never has any money and only orders Bud Lights. He almost never, ever tips despite being friendly and he pays his tabs at the end of the week. The problem is that every week he only pays like a hundred bucks and his tab usually runs $125 to $150. That doesn't seem like particularly smart business on our part.

Manuel Orders just Pacificos or Coronas I think and will sometimes order food. Never seems to have much to say to anyone, just broods and watches Mexican league soccer. I always think he's in a shit mood but he usually tips really well.

Mike # 1 Middle aged gentleman with shaggy blond hair, looks and talks like he should have been in The Big Lebowski. Plays pool mostly and has just Coronas or Buds. Decent tipper.

Mike # 2 Nice guy who likes to let you know he's a Vietnam veteran and he can kill you with his bare hands. Orders steak and prawns all the time and shots of Jack. Loves to brag about his technology, especially all the movies he's downloaded. Once asked Carl if he knows what the most dangerous weapon on the human body is and Carl responded "Yeah, the nuts!" Mike told him, "No you idiot, the thumbs," before walking away. This remains, by far, my favorite highlight of working at the bar.

Ruben Very quiet Mexican guy who plays pool and drinks Buds and nothing else. Will occasionally buy drinks for other people but does not tip. He's there almost every day but I don't mind him since he never makes trouble and he's never wasted.

Sole I'm not sure if I'm spelling her name right. She was born in Finland and has lived all around the U.S. She's this blond middle aged lady who wears glasses and almost the same outfit every day. She's a total barfly and likes to just listen to songs on the juke box and nurse her drinks. By far our most experimental drinker as she'll try almost anything I suggest at least once. Drinks Stellas or Bud Lights for beer, but she's also had all three different kinds of Bloody Marys, Jack & gingers, gin & cranberries, car bombs, chocolate martinis, even a Three Wise Men Go Hunting. She seems nice and innocent but has had her share of drama at the bar. May or may not be having an affair with Bryce. They got in a fight the other day and she tore his retainer off and flushed it in the toilet. The whole thing scared our other bartender, Sue, off and she quit (although she might have been a cokehead and that might have had something to do with it). Bryce is at least 20 years her junior and she's married. I don't really understand why her husband is perfectly cool with her going out every night and coming home at 2 a.m, but whatever. So-so tipper.

T.J. Old quiet dude who's somehow really good friends with Lisa, who's at least thirty years younger than him. Just orders Red Hooks and doesn't tip. Manolis told me he gets the money for them by begging for change out in front of Safeway.

So yeah, that's the whole gang. I may have forgotten a few actually. On top of all that, there's a waitress in the place I like named Ashley. As per my custom, she's completely wrong for me for about a billion reasons.

a) She's 21 and has an 11 month old baby.
b) Recovering drug addict.
c) Very, very dim.
d) Flirts with everyone and I'm told she's a slut.
e) I have nothing in common with her.
f) Just recently she had an abortion.
g) She has a boyfriend (not the father of the baby).
h) She has a major crush on Bryce.
i) I've seen her make out with Bryce.
j) I think I outweigh her by at least 170 lbs.
k) She loves um, dancing.

I flirt with Ashley, and she flirts back, but it's no big deal because she flirts with everyone. I think she told me I'm #4 or something on her list of potential boyfriends, which may not mean anything because for all I know she's dating/sleeping with numbers 1-3 simultaneously. Not one person who knows Ashley thinks I should go out with her. So obviously, you can see why I'm enamored. Really, over there, there aren't any other options.

Oh also, the editor from the San Mateo Daily Journal called and they hired me as an intern and supposedly some lady named Rachel will call in a week or two and I'll begin my training over there. This is good because I had stopped looking for writing jobs since July 23rd or so. I'm guessing I'll be extremely busy every day very soon but at least mom is happy with me for now since a) I'm not asking her for money and b) the writing career is still "on track." Perhaps I should have put this paragraph on top. I may have buried the lead, as it were.

Anyway, I realize this whole thing was extremely poorly and haphazardly written. I'm out of practice, you know. I will probably write again in a couple of weeks with my thoughts on the Eagles pre-season (tell me you're not all excited about that) and any bar/newspaper/Ashley updates.

P.S. Matthew: Barry Bonds kicks ass.