As promised, I’m coming back this week to introduce you to some more of the cast members for the 2015 season. If you haven’t been following, cast members are the people who come to the bar night after night and fit into some sort of cliche, stereotype, or outright bizarre behavior. We’ve all witnessed these people and maybe didn’t even realize it. I’m watching them from the best seat in the house every night, so I will not only identify them for you, but also bring to light how humorous they are. As much as I haze these people and poke fun at them, I need them in my life, if only for balance and entertainment. When you do what I do for as long as I’ve been doing it, you have to develop a thick skin and a warped sense of humor or you’ll choke someone. Nothing about human behavior shocks me anymore, and I’ve developed an innate ability to find humor in people and things that would go unnoticed by most normal thinking people. As annoying as each of these individuals are, as long as they exist I have not one, but two jobs. First I serve them drinks, then I write about them later. Some nights the human ensemble is so odd that this column just writes itself. Apparently I get a sinister grin on my face at these moments because several of my coworkers can now identify the exact moments that I’m standing behind a crowded bar and writing Shorebilly’s Swill in my head.
The first cast member I’ll be introducing you to this week is one I like to call; “guy who doesn’t realize he’s left his hometown.” He exists by the hundreds, but I’m going to give you one specific example. A group of guys walk into the bar. A middle-aged, unkempt, rather portly one approaches the bar. He quickly scans all 12 TV screens and immediately looks shocked and disgusted. He looks at me, throws both hands up in stunned disbelief and says; “where’s da game?!” He says it in a manner as if I broke into his home while he was in the bathroom during a commercial break and when he returned I had changed the channel and hidden his remote. So I look back at him and say; “Well, that’s a charming way to greet a complete stranger but what the hell, I’ll play. What’s ‘da game’?”
Now keep in mind that every time this guy opens his mouth it’s a personal assault on the English language. He spews forth verbal fecal matter as if he has a vendetta against grammar. He looks at me again as if I’m the idiot in this conversation and simply responds, “Mets.” At this time by the way, the NBA playoffs were going on, the NHL playoffs were happening, there were at least a dozen Major League baseball games going on, the championships in just about every college spring sport, and even women’s soccer. But I’m supposed to know instinctively what game this dingleberry is talking about. He couldn’t even believe that I had the audacity to ask him to be specific. How dare I not know that he wanted to watch one of the two teams who play a sport in another city four states away from where this freakin’ onion head is now standing.
So as politely and professionally as I could, I explained to him that all of the TV’s were accounted for by people who had arrived well before him. Again he looked shocked and disgusted. I chuckle good naturedly, and say to him; “you do realize that the 6 hours you just spent in the car to get here you weren’t just driving around the block in your own neighborhood, right?” He seemingly had no grasp at all of the concept that he was now in Maryland.
You’d be amazed at how often this exact scenario happens.
The next cast member I want to introduce you to is the guy whom I like to call; “the flailer”. He comes into the packed bar with a group of people and when it’s time to order drinks, he shouts and flails both of his arms wildly in the air to get my attention. You’d think he was a castaway on a desert island and I was a passing ship or airplane. He waves with the vigor of a shark attack victim trying to signal a lifeguard without ever realizing what a complete ass he’s making of himself. I invariably make eye contact and nod as if to say; “I see you and I’ll be right with you.” Most rationally thinking people would understand that gesture and patiently wait, but not this guy.
At this point, my mood dictates how I’m going to deal with him. If I’m having a particularly shitty night, at my next free moment I go over and stand directly in front of him. I then start jumping up and down, waving my arms wildly, and shouting to him; “what do you need, what do you need, what do you need?!” As he stands there staring at me completely dumbfounded I say; “Looked pretty freakin stupid didn’t it?” Then I walk away.
Another scenario that happens more often than not is that I’m in a pretty patient mood and despite the customer’s choice to act like a mental patient, I go and politely ask what I can get for him. He’s been looking like one of those inflatable wavey arm guys you see in front of a used car dealership for the past 7 minutes. I’m now here to take his order. He then turns his back to me and asks his group; “what does everybody want?” Are you kidding me?! And believe it or not, this guy is everywhere! Go out tonight in Ocean City, or any other town for that matter. Go to a crowded bar and just wait. I guarantee you’ll see him.
There are still many cast members yet to be introduced, but I don’t think I have enough space left to give another example this week. Thanks for playing along. Until next week, Syd Nichols