I had my usual Thursday night at the bar. This is why I like Thursdays. I have my regulars to keep things consistent and then the odd duck of a customer or a rowdy group that keeps me alert. Like any other evening Thursday evening near close I had some local rowdies roll in looking for one more drink having staggered in from another tavern. As per my option I chose not to serve them and was handed a long list of expletives in return for decision.
There is no point arguing with a drunk. Most people who have had one too many are belligerent and illogical in their rationalizations. I always stick my guns when it comes to denial of service as it is in my best interests to avoid any culpability for their inebriation or intoxication by other substances. If you want to get drunk elsewhere and walk into my bar think thrice. That group left and was replaced by a pack of wild dogs. That is to say they were unkempt, smelled of stale marijuana and had eyes that wanted to jump off their faces. I denied them service as well and they all cursed my poor mother as they exited.
One of my last patrons of the night came up and sat at the bar finishing his tall can of beer. He has been a patron for years but always at arms length never really seeking a conversation. He looked at me at me and asked me point blank why I have always been an asshole. I wasn’t taken aback. In my line of business I get asked a lot of questions and usually have a quick response. ” I always lower myself to my customer’s level I responded.” He coughed up some of his beer on hearing my response.
He spent a few minutes telling me how now that he had a young baby, that life was different and he saw things differently. He wanted to be the responsible parent but could not understand his friends and their lack of guidance and not wanting to improve themselves. I nodded my agreement with his change in life and re-enforced his belief that family is far more important that getting drunk or high. Those sensations last hours whereas as the joy of family lasts forever. He admitted that in the past he had been a rougher, ruder, more irresponsible person and understood that I really was only defending myself in enforcing house policies in the past. It wasn’t an apology but rather an admission of past transgressions. He said one of his friends on one occasion even wanted to kick the #%#$ out of me for not serving him when he was high but that I was twice his weight and six inches taller made for an unfair fight. They had waited for me downstairs but came to their senses.
So now, faced with this young man who had expressed his past hatred of me I really had only thing to do. I cracked open a beer and slid it over. “That one is on the house. Congratulations on making it to adulthood.” He smiled, and shook my hand.
As he walked out he looked back smiled and bellowed “Frank, I hope you are always and asshole. Good Night!”