In my line of work, particularly in a seasonal resort town, the wonders never cease as far as the things I see and hear. Even after over 30 years of restaurant work, and over a quarter century’s worth of that spent behind the bar, I’m still stunned on a regular basis by human behavior. It makes me wonder from time to time if high ranking members of the animal kingdom like lions and such ever just sit back taking us all in and asking themselves, “how the hell did that dumb species find their way out of the food chain?”

It’s amazing how far opposable thumbs and speech can get a species.

And now, without further adieu, here are some completely random thoughts and observations as seen through my eyes. First is one of my personal favorites, the late night coffee drinker. This is an anomaly that every server has experienced and can relate to. It’s that person who insists that you brew them a fresh pot of coffee within the last 40 minutes that you are open. If they don’t insist on it, they subtly guilt you into brewing it for them. They are invariably the only member of their party drinking coffee. So you reticently brew the pot of coffee, knowing what is about to happen, and then comes the inevitable; they never, ever have a second cup. I think that if – God forbid – I ever have my own place, I’ll post a sign explaining that if you are that person, there is a three-cup minimum before you are allowed to leave.

I think from now on, when I go to someone’s house for dinner, I’m going to insist that my ice water has a straw and a lemon in it. I’ll look at them as if they just keyed my car if they don’t oblige. This will go one of two ways. Either I will quickly cease getting invited to dinner parties, or it will prompt an awareness group that alters how people behave when they go out. It’s worth a shot. Truth is, I already don’t get invited to any of my friends’ homes anymore. Who wants to dine with a cynical guy who rolls up with a van full of kids?

Does anyone actually believe that if you layer a shooter, that it enters your system one liquor at a time? Does anyone believe that drinking a shooter that’s layered makes it taste better? Does anyone believe that ordering a layered shooter will endear you to the bartender? Or, do you think this was a concept that was created by youthfully enthusiastic, self-proclaimed “mixologists” who worked in places where they had a lot of free time and wouldn’t survive their first shift in a high volume establishment? Keep this in mind for the future if you ask a really busy bartender to bust out the bar spoon for your B-52 and he either flat out refuses, or pauses for a moment as if he is having a stroke. It’s not going to come out right anyway now that you have his hands shaking convulsively. I’m just throwin’ it out there.

Here’s another scenario that still befuddles me every time, and every time it’s exactly the same. I can only assume that there’s a very specific demographic that this product is targeting, because I’ve never had the response deviate in the slightest. First, let me say that much to the dismay of a small handful of society, there are in fact places in the universe that do not serve Bud Light Lime. Any bartenders reading this who have not had the luxury of working in a place that doesn’t carry this product, follow along, because the scenario is always exactly the same.

Customer approaches and says,

“I’ll have a Bud Light Lime”.

I respond, “I’m sorry, we don’t carry that, but I have Bud Light, and I have limes.” Never once, has that been acceptable.

I have not had one single customer say to me, “OK, that will work.” It’s always first the look of shock, as if I just told them that we only serve Necromancers and they must consume a live caterpillar before they are permitted to sit at my bar. This is followed by the look of sheer disappointment as if they were members of the “Men in Black” and were told that this is the place, and that was the password. I’ve never been able to figure out why, but they always gravitate towards something completely different. They’ll either switch breweries and go with a Miller Lite, or they’ll really jump and go to a vodka tonic. I have never once had a person just go with a Bud Light after dealing with the disappointment of my failure to provide them with a lime infused brew. It’s actually a little strange to me.

One of the many things I would do if I found myself in possession of a time machine would be to go back and be there when the first guy stuffed an olive. I’ve tried in my mind to absorb the thought process. Apparently, the olive, once pitted was so aesthetically unappealing to some that they roasted red peppers, cut them into little plugs, and stuffed them into the hole where the pit had been removed. This became accepted, and pimentos were fine for many, many years. Then came the era of the martini drinker noir. It’s a whole generation of people who don’t actually care for vodka or gin, they just think it’s really cool to drink something out of a martini glass. So they began to tinker with it, adding things like the brine the olives are kept in giving them that shelf life of eternity plus a week. Next thing you know, people were stuffing everything accept their own children into olives and submerging them into a drink that after achieving their desired level of ‘dirtiness’, now looking like bay water.

So here’s a little piece of advice for the future: if you think it’s a pain in the ass for your bartender to stop everything he’s doing to hand-stuff crumbled bleu cheese into an olive for you, then you’re probably right. If you think he has a thousand other, more pressing things to be doing right now, then you’re probably right. And if you think he secretly hates you as he stuffs, then you’re probably right. I’m not saying they’re not delicious, I’m just saying it’s not the most enjoyable process if you happen to be on the other side of the bar.

Thanks for playing along everybody.

Until next week,

Syd Nichols