I’ve had just about all I can take
Ya know I
Can’t Take it no more!
- excerpt from “Gut Feeling” by Devo
I just walked back into the barbecue joint after stepping outside to witness a fist fight in the middle of the street, a testosterone-fueled melee that brought traffic to a halt in all directions, attracted gawkers from nearby tenement buildings, and resulted in the presence of two police cars and an ambulance. And what, you may ask, ignited this spectacle? A dispute over a parking space.
But that’s typical of some parts of Brooklyn, so it’s just a tiresome case of same old shit, different day, and there’s just too much of it going around. I mean, along with the street fight, I just went outside for some fresh air and witnessed some very agitated Hispanic dude screaming at no one in particular about “I pay for everything in cash, motherfuckers! Ain’t no WIC, no Medicaid or welfare up in my house! I pay cash, and too fuckin’ bad if you don’t fuckin’ like it!!!” The neighborhood is a twenty-four-hour-a-day freak show, its explosions of violence, profanity and dysfunction occasionally interrupted by periods of outright turgid tedium, and while I used to crave day-to-day madness as a form of adventure, I am now thankfully beyond that. I suppose working in a bar/restaurant comes with a certain amount of built-in lunacy, but I am simply sick to fucking death of it. Once I leave the barbecue joint, I will ride outta town like the Lone Ranger — minus some hot Injun dude named Tonto by my side; I’d rather have the incendiary topless Injun gal played by Toni Basil in GREASER’S PALACE — knowing that my job here is done, and leave behind the following irritants:
FUCKING COKEHEADS- there’s a certain element at the joint that indulges in the Bolivian Marching Powder a bit too much for my tastes, and when one of them offered it to me I told him in no uncertain terms that such shit was not welcome on the premises; he could do all the coke he wanted to elsewhere, but any snorting or selling of such while I was around would earn him a swift ninja boot straight up the jacksey. To his credit, he cooled out on that shit immediately. I’ve had a low tolerance for cokeheads since I was in my teens and saw that shit do some insidious shit to one of my best friends, so it’s best for me not to be around such idiocy lest I get violent.
NEIGHBORHOOD MOOKS WITH A MISPLACED SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT-
This group consists of neighborhood locals of Italian, Irish, and Hispanic descent who have lived in the area since the invention of dirt and expect to be accorded the rights and privileges of conquering heroes or some such that they once enjoyed during the days when the barbecue joint was a neighborhood dive. If the staff doesn’t bend over backwards to kiss their asses or give them buy-backs and free shit they get obstreperous to an irritating degree and curse us out in fluent Brooklynese. With the exception of Brooklyn Blarney Chick, they can all lick my hairy ass-crack.
DRUNKEN HORNY CHICKS WHO ARE HALF MY AGE- some of you might think that I’m bitching about this one for no good reason, but try to look at it from my perspective; these young wimmerns come into the joint looking for some play, they’re liquored up and feel safe enough because they know me and the rest of the staff and as a result they flirt and get waaaaay too physically friendly, so where’s the harm? I’ll tell ya where the harm is: they’re too young for me to have much in common with other than an interest in fucking, and at this stage in my life I’ve realized there’s more to it than that. Plus, many of them smoke like fiends, and the cigarette thing is a major deal breaker for me. But they’re soooooo damned cute…
THE BOTTOM FEEDERS-
And while we’re on the subject of cute drunken chicks, where there is blood in the water, there will be sharks fast approaching. The joint has a number of guys in regular attendance who lurk about in hope of snaring one of the tipsy tarts, regardless of how sloppily wrecked the girls may be. Seriously, one of them recently spent a good amount of time talking to me about a woman he wanted to go after, but the second he saw a smashed, friendly blonde he forgot about the other girl and descended like Dracula at the blood bank. Now, bear in mind that the guys in question are not rapists and definitely understand that no means no — I’ve heard proof of that from both sides — but I personally find it sleazy to circle like a carrion bird after prey that’s so obviously debilitated by booze. Yes, there are some women out there who get themselves shitfaced in order to unleash their Rampant Pink with no sense of inhibition, but maybe I’m old fashioned in my preference of a level playing field.
OBNOXIOUS BAR REGULARS I DON’T LIKE IN THE FIRST PLACE WHO JUST WON’T SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GO AWAY- there are several regulars whom I genuinely like and will continue to associate with when I’m gone, but there is also an element of utter douchebags who act like assholes from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave, unless frozen out by the well-practiced indifference of the staff. Not only will they yack your fucking ear off about absolutely nothing for hours on end if given the opportunity, but they get belligerent as all fuck if you don’t hang on their every word and whim.
DISTURBED AND DISTURBING DRUNKS WHO HAUNT THE JOINT- Birthday Girl and a guy I’ve nicknamed “Sturgess” after the director (there’s your clue for his real name) are the prime example of this category. They show up already soused, escalate their condition, and thereby amplify their various psychoses, often scaring the living shit out of the staff and the clientele. I understand about having issues, but stay on your meds and avoid inflicting your snakepit of a head on innocent people, for fuck’s sake.
PARENTS WITH LITTLE ONES WHO EXPECT THE STAFF TO ACT AS BABYSITTERS WHILE MOM AND DAD GET THEIR DRINK ON- a classic example of old school Black/ethnic parenting working better than that of the current crop of fucksticks who see their kids as accessories, these assholes reside in a special section of the barbecue joint’s hatred arena thanks to their towering inconsideration and generally lackadaisical douchebaggery. They show up with their uncontrolled genetic waste (translation: verminous children), turn them loose, and then mom and /or dad get fucked up while their brats run about the place like lunatics, shrieking and causing all manner of destruction (namely spilling food all over the fucking place, puking, and breaking glassware) despite my warnings to the parents about the dangers of the kids entering the kitchen (hot and sharp things are present there) or running head first into the solid steel pole that stands in the middle of the restaurant. That pole saves my sanity on a daily basis since it acts as the target for my physical aggression and has helped me hone my hand skills — particularly my shuto — to a degree that I will probably never use, but let it suffice to say that the thing is a solid, steel-hard motherfucker, and I’ve seen kids run into it and nearly pass out, after which much crying ensues while I flash idiot parents a look that states “I told you, you dumbass!” And to top it all off, the dipshits usually leave next to nothing by way of a tip for the waitress or bartender who has to clean up after their kids, sometimes not even leaving a goddamned dime.
BAY RIDGE/DYKER HEIGHTS ASSHOLES-
simply put, most of this crew that I’ve had to deal with are uncouth, walking, talking stereotypes who would shame most Italian-Americans, and for the most part dumber than a bag of doorknobs. Basically harmless, but highly annoying.
WOULD-BE HIPSTERS- be they self-proclaimed poets, musicians, actors or whatever, you know the type: so-called artists who are clearly more focused on their own artifice than their art, they try to dress trendy and spout off endlessly about their latest alleged creative endeavors, boring and irritating the living shit out of all within earshot before waking up the next day for another glorious shift at the local cardboard warehouse.
“UNWANTED PERVY SHENANIGANS”-
there’s a semi-regular who comes in and, after a few drinks, puts the moves on certain overweight men in the room, including yours truly. The fucking closet queen once got totally soused and would not keep his hands off of me until, after three stern warnings, I threatened to put my fist through his head. You’d think the guy would have learned after that, but about a week later he felt emboldened enough to return and, as I sat with my back to him on a barstool, he walked behind me and ran his index finger slowly across my back before retreating into the men’s room. That move was so creepy that I got what some folks refer to as the “douche chills.” And the motherfucker had the balls to pull that one while he was here with his beard, er, wife!
THOSE GODDAMNED GYPSIES-
the joint occasionally gets blessed with a visit by some of NYC’s actual gypsies, a group despised by restaurants across the five boroughs thanks to their strategy of finding a place that doesn’t yet know them by face, arriving en masse and ordering a shitload of food and drink while loudly proclaiming whatever alleged lucrative businesses they’re involved in, and then either shorting the waitress or running out on the check altogether. The first time we dealt with these pricks, they told us that they were thirty bucks short on the tab and they’d come back the next day to pay us the remainder, a promise made after they attempted a dine-and-dash but were chased down by our bartender. Needless to say, they did not return the next day and the bartender covered what they shorted with his tips for the night. They have returned a few times since, but we called them on their bullshit, so now they pay, but they make a thousand annoying, piddling demands, leave no tip and leave their table looking like a cat exploded across it.
THE TROLL AND COTTON EAR- there’s a truly hideous middle-aged couple who have plagued the joint since the day we opened, and I have often prayed for them to be gnawed to death by rabid penguins. This odious pair are known to us as the Troll and Cotton Ear because the guy looks like a scaled-down under-the-bridge goat harasser, and his wife once charmingly pulled a wad of puss and earwax-encrusted cotton from her ear while sitting at the bar, so the moniker of Cotton Ear just stuck. Proof that hillbillies exist above the Mason-Dixon Line, these two are apparently major abusers of substances yet to be figured out by the staff — my money’s on heroin — and whenever they arrive they’re fucked up and obnoxious, initially attempting to get gigs as the house entertainment until my boss put the kibosh on that horseshit; y’see, the Troll and his beast-woman came in with their little one — an adorable toddler whom Tracey and I were convinced had to have been abducted from somewhere because she was too cute to have sprung from the Troll and Cotton Ear’s burnt-out loins — and immediately sucked down two whiskeys and three beers each, then the Troll began his pitch by telling us how he was allowed to play his guitar at a bar down the street — conveniently unidentified — and how he and the wife used to headline in Atlantic City, but “dem places is all closed now.” Then he attempted to get his wife to give us a sample of her vocal stylings, but she thankfully declined due to the aforementioned ear infection, stating her case in a voice that could scrape the rust from a battle ship’s hull, an unfettered display of fluent Brooklynese that made all within earshot long for sudden deafness. They then got into the first of many shrill arguments at the bar while the baby screamed, and then they announced they didn’t have enough money to cover the bill. And as if that wasn’t enough, they asked us if we put bleach in our garbage, and when we bewilderedly said no, Cotton Ear asked if they could pick through our garbage at the end of the night for any food that had been thrown out. That’s pretty fucking sad when you consider that they own a nearby house — which has a backyard that’s an uncleaned, reeking minefield of dogshit, and mountains of discarded beer cans and liquor bottles visible through the living room window — and are raising a child in such a pit.