We touched briefly last week on the fact that I am technologically inept and that I have no formal writing skills and limited education. If you are seated with red pen in hand, or are expecting literary genius, I’m probably not the guy you want to follow.

Once again, I would like to start by thanking my editor in advance—who has the daunting task of taking my incessant ramblings and transcribing them into what you see before you. Fortunately, I’m never in the room when this happens, for I can only imagine the level of frustration—I imagine it to be something like this:  A prepubescent teenage boy who in recent days, has discovered the magical powers of self-gratification. Almost immediately following this amazing discovery the boy is involved in an accident. The accident has rendered him bed-ridden and in a full upper body cast for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. Both arms are plaster clad from shoulder to second knuckle. Directly across the street from his bedroom window is a modeling agency–and why not throw in a strip club next to it, to up the ante?  Yeah, THAT kind of frustration.  Moving on, I’m done discussing my own ineptitude, I think it goes without saying I’m a fan of self-deprecation.  Now, onto the juicy bits, the stories from my sordid younger self…

When we left off last week, I was a recent high school grad who had just arrived in Neverland—and yes I get the fact that this little analogy makes me Peter Pan—trust me, it’s fitting.  I simply pointed my mullet and Oldsmobile in the direction of the second star to the right and headed straight on til’ morning. As was mentioned previously, I had the intention of only staying for one week—a summer camp respite before entering the adult portion of my life. In my possession in the aforementioned vehicle were: a cooler full of cheap beer, a crappy wardrobe stuffed in a garbage bag, a bad fake ID, my Polaroid One Step camera and a shoebox full of condoms. As it would turn out, all the necessary tools to embark on a life of sheer debauchery. It didn’t take long for me to fall head over heels in love with this town. I came here as a senior, and as it turns out, I’ll leave here as a senior.

Once I had the O.C. bug, I decided to apply for jobs. Not expecting this to be my career, or permanent settlement, I unabashedly lied about my age on many of the applications. I landed a job cooking at one the hottest spots in town, and somehow, quickly became a bartender. By the time they would eventually find out that I had lied on my application, I had already worked there for ten years. Being eighteen and standing behind a really great bar didn’t take long to go to my head. It gave me a feeling of omnipotence that unfortunately would last for years. This position would unfoundedly inflate my already swelling ego and give me a sense confidence that can only be described as ‘dangerous’ in the hands of someone like me. It certainly didn’t make me a better person, at least not at first, but it did make me quite popular with the ladies; (insert apology to family here). That first summer, as with a large portion of the 80’s, was a complete blur—but a really good time.

I now find myself still dwelling in this same beach town as a forty-something father of three. It’s taken me nearly a quarter century of perpetual adolescence before I finally tapped the brakes on my rock star lifestyle. I’ve spent pretty much that entire time standing behind one local bar or another–slinging cans, bottles, and glasses of personality. I’ve amassed a veritable treasure trove of stories, experiences, observations, and opinions. I’d like to share these with you each week in as entertaining a manner as I can muster. I’ll be drawing from my own stories and experiences in hopes of capturing your interest. I may embellish a little, but they are all at least based on truth.  Continue the ride along, with an over-aged beach bartender—it’s about the journey right?

I just actually giggled out loud to myself, hearing the intro to Law and Order in my head. In my deepest, most monotone movie-trailer voice…

”In the town of Ocean City, Maryland there are select group of people responsible for being harbingers of adult beverages. These people are members of an elite group known as BARTENDERS. These are their stories.”  Da-Dommm!!!

Thanks for playing along.
Until next week,
Syd Nichols
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