June 7 2011 10:49 AM

I’m not a bartender anymore


I’ve been serving booze in this town since 1985. That’s 26 years behind the plank. Truth is, I could have quit long ago, having parlayed other skills into a decent freelance business, but I really do love bartending, and believed I could do it forever.

Well forever came last month, when I was informed that my services would no longer be needed.

Now, this is not going to be a screed against my former employers. They had their reasons, which I respect. For the record, though, I did nothing wrong, apart from the fact that I got older and the bar got younger.

I don’t know why I’m so depressed about this. I’ve lost bartending jobs before. However, this time, something’s different. At first I thought it was because of my birthday. The news of my unemployment came the day after my 49th. But that didn’t make sense. I don’t sweat birthdays all that much. Then it hit me. What’s different this time is the knowledge that my bartending career is finished. I’m just too old to be looking for a bar job. There just aren’t that many available, and the ones worth having are going to the young and fun babetenders.

Well, polly wolly doodle if that don’t suck nuts! Bartending has been a part of my identity for as long as I can remember having an identity. It’s how I know everybody I know, and that’s how everybody I know knows me. Christ, I haven’t worked at Winstons Beach Club for 15 years, yet people still ask if I can get them on the guest list, which is really annoying because only friends have the right to request guest-list privileges, and if they were my fucking friends, they’d know that I haven’t worked at Winstons for 15 years.

But I digress. The point is, I’m not a bartender anymore, and it’s time to face the fact, time for closure. Hence this column, which is a bittersweet farewell (or good riddance) to the people and things that were part of my life for so long. So I send a heartfelt farewell to my former co-workers and bosses at 710 Beach Club. It’s been a brilliant 12 years. Thanks for all of them.

Farewell to my customers—regular or infrequent—who never gave me no guff. Your business was greatly appreciated.

To the sumptuous cosmo-metro mamas, the busty, blondie, beachy babes and the “Just-flew-in-from-Louisiana” Susyannas—who grinded each other’s pelvises on the dance floor in a Technicolor, quasi-lesbo grope-show—fare thee well, my fairy fays. 

But, to all the drunken trolls who approached them and said or did something trollish, thereby bringing the Technicolor lesbo-grope show to a screeching halt—good riddance!

Good riddance, in fact, to all the buffoons who inappropriately touched or leered at my female customers.
Good riddance to all the jukebox hoarders who played $20 worth of Celine Dion / Lil’ Bow Wow duets while Johnny Cash paced the jukebox green room, guitar slung over his back, waiting to go on.

And to all you impatient bastards who like to bang your bottle on the bar to summon the bartender, I bid thee a mighty middle-fingered good riddance. May the bottle break in your hand and sever a nerve.

To all the moocher-Minnies who rested their ample breasts on the bar and fake-flirted with me to get a freebie—I say, hidey, hidey, hidey ho—ho. However, to all those ladies who rested their breasts on the bar for no other reason than their breasts were tired, well, hidey, hidey, hidey hi, my lovelies.

To every band that rocked out, even on the nights when no one was there, and were just all-round good guys—goodbye, farewell, good luck. But to all the bands who bitched incessantly—on and off stage—and brought down the mood in the room with your grumpy, faux-rock-star demeanor, then had the balls to act like I sold your sister to slavery when I said your bar tab was a mere $75—good riddance. May your next million gigs be played at the Shady Meadows Senior Assisted Living Facility and Resort.

And to all those off-duty bartenders who asked for the (wink-wink) bartender discount, adios, mofos. I didn’t give you the bartender discount because you aren’t a real bartender. A real bartender never asks for a discount.

To all you last-call lizards who never could quite grasp the concept of closing time and refused to leave, even as the clock ticked ever-dangerously toward the 2 a.m. mark, and held on to your nearly empty bottle of backwash so tightly that I had to pry it from your hands and literally push you out the motherfucking door—oh, man, oh man, good riddance to youse.

To the Baileys Irish Cream—arriverderci! You always fouled my sinks right after I changed the water. Au revoir, while we’re at it, to being hunched over the sink washing glasses all night. Auf Wiedersehen, broken glass in the ice bin (you cut me the deepest). Don’t let the door smack you on the way out, bar rot. Catch you later, San Diego vice squad and undercover minor-decoy operation. Buh-bye, sloppy, excessive-high-fiving white guy. Ciao, garnish-tray gobblers (it ain’t a buffet!). Hasta la vista, “I-lost-my-beer-give-me-a-new-one-dude” dudes (It’s not my job to babysit your beer.) See ya, sticky, broken soda gun! Cheerio, giant cherry jar, with the chemicalized maraschino syrup that causes hand cancer. Too-da-loo, fruit flies. And tautugniagmigikpiñ, slimy lemons and limes. I will miss youse all the way Maria Shriver misses her housekeeper.

But to the rest of it—the people and things that make bartending great—fare thee well, fare thee well and a-polly wolly doodle all the day.    

Visit edwindecker.com to learn more ways to say goodbye in Eskimo. Write to ed@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com.