This has been an ongoing piece in which I introduce the ‘cast of characters’ – and by that I mean some of the stereotypes that I witness every night while working in a bar in a seasonal beach resort town. Don’t get me wrong, I love these folks in an oddly entertaining way, and I need them in my life on so many levels. This is simply a list of easily identifiable and recognizable people whom we’ve all (unwittingly or not) encountered before.  As my loyal readers know, I take what must people are secretly thinking and give it life. I was born without that oftentimes necessary filter between brain and mouth. Needless to say I’ve comprised quite a cast of characters in my tenure, and an even longer list of observations on said characters. Based on the feedback I got from the first two installments of this piece it’s been well received, so I’m going to march on with it. I hope you enjoy.

When we finished last week, I was in the process of being berated by a lady-child who was disappointed in the ingredients I used to make her shooters because they were not  up to her “worldly” standards. If you remember from last week, I’ve been standing behind a bar and making drinks professionally longer than this twit has been alive, and the drink she ordered I’ve prepared more times than she’s brushed her perfectly bleached teeth in her young meaningless life. Yet, she’s made it abundantly clear to me and anyone in a twelve foot radius that I just did my job wrong. O.K., I’ll play.

Her opinion and knowledge of this particular shooter are solely based on what she was told by her favorite bartender back in that putrid smelling hole in the wall dive bar in her college town. Her ‘favorite’ bartender is the omniscient, tattoo-sleeved, dreadlocked, 23-year-old moron who works two nights a week in the bar because he was fortunate enough to claw his way out of a coal mine; which in his 2-digit-I.Q.’d mind makes him a philosopher. His only qualifications for being a bartender are that he miraculously got through his first training shift without passing out, vomiting, or slipping anyone a ‘date rape’ drug. And yet she deems him a more reliable source for beverage ingredients than I.

She is more familiar with this shooter than I because she goes there every Thursday night for 10-cent, 40-ounce draft and dollar shooter night. She’s there religiously every week to spend her $7 (including tip and transportation home) to fawn over this onion head for no deeper reason than that she’s pissed at her Dad. Unfortunately for all of us, this girl exists in much larger numbers than you would think.

Cast Member # 5. We’ll call him “Air Guitar Guy”. We’ve all seen him and can readily identify him. He stands there right in front of the band in prime dance floor real estate. He doesn’t actually dance though; he just stands in the way mimicking what, in his mind, playing an imaginary guitar would look like. There doesn’t even necessarily have to be live entertainment. This dude will happily bust out his invisible instruments just because ‘his jam’ is playing on the stereo. Depending upon what song he is playing along with, he is also a seasoned veteran drummer and saxophone player. I almost feel bad bashing this guy because he’s completely harmless, and more often than not, he’s the happiest dude in the bar. You never see a sad or angry guy playing an invisible instrument. So play on my friend. Nonetheless I will maintain that all of us should collectively adopt the ‘friends don’t let friends play air instruments in public’ policy. If each of us were a better friend, we could be rid of this pestilence in like a year. There is a sole amendment to this however. There is in fact one circumstance (and one only) during which it is acceptable to play an imaginary instrument. It is a very specific set of circumstances, but under these you have a free pass to go nuts. If you are alone in your car and Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” is playing, you all have carte blanche to join Phil on the short drum solo about ¾ of the way through the song. So continue to beat on the steering wheel and dash board for this tune and this tune only. And don’t even try to tell me you’ve never done it.

Cast Member # 6. We’ll call him; “Overzealous pre- season football watcher”. This guy/ girl has been crawling out of the woodwork lately and is an absolute nightmare to every bartender. In fact, I recently had to talk myself out of going over the bar after a guy who tragically cheers for the same team as I. I’ve said before though; Ravens fans are like lawyers, 90% of them give the rest of us a bad name. I’m not limiting this cast member solely to Ravens fans though. They come in all colors and take the meaningless ritual of a pre-season scrimmage way too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, nobody looks forward to the first day of regular season NFL games like I do. That day is like Christmas, Father’s Day, and my birthday all wrapped up in one. However, it must be noted that to come storming into a crowded bar like you’re hitting the beach at Normandy dressed head to toe in your team’s colors (while on vacation) and DEMAND that all of the T.V.s in the area be turned to this game is Barbaric! Let me run through the list of how many different ways this is wrong, incredibly rude, and has guaranteed that the guy behind the bar already hates you:

1. None of us have ever seen you before. It’s not like you are a regular who sits in the same stool every Sunday all season long. 2. As I said to a guy recently; “this is not your freaking living room!” Many of you seem to have lost sight of that fact as you come in making demands about what the 150 other people are going to watch. 3. Probably most importantly, IT’S PRE SEASON! It means nothing! After the first 8 minutes of the game, you won’t recognize any of the players anyway, and most of them will no longer be on the roster by opening day. 4. I’m not your bitch. Be real careful how you submit your request for a channel change. Be warned that few people you will ever encounter have a shorter fuse than bartenders in a beach resort town near the end of summer. Not being polite about requesting the game could potentially be hazardous to your health. 5. The fact that you are in the middle of your annual family vacation and you made sure to pack your ‘colors’ and sacrifice one entire evening of your time to watch a meaningless scrimmage is pathetic. 6. If you truly believe that we are going to have the band stop playing so we can give you volume for the game through the stereo speakers, than you are actually a bigger idiot than we thought.

Thanks for playing along.

Until next week, Syd Nichols.

Happy birthday to my first born and only son, who turned 23 this week. You’ll always be my little buddy. I love you.