Saluting the Service Industry

bartenderAs I’ve said many times, I could write this column in my sleep -the trouble is, I’m an insomniac, and having to write it when I’m awake is really annoying.

Also annoying: there’s not enough bars around here, especially open ones. On Cape Cod, an alarmingly large percentage of bars -perhaps 25 or 30% -are only open about 25 or 30% of the time, because they close on Labor Day or Columbus Day and don’t re-open until Memorial Day or the fourth of July, which is just plain cowardly, if you ask me.

The good bars -the upright, stalwart, year-round bars -know that they offer a valuable service to the community, and that having us all drink in our houses can only make the homicide rate sky-rocket. The brave and selfless members of our local restaurant and nightclub business, though largely unsung, are truly the backbone of both our industry and our culture -yet they are constantly ignored in the local media (still so inexorably smitten by firemen.)

It’s perhaps ironic, then, to note that without bars, there might very well be no firemen; clearly, the first fireman was out of his mind on something. Not to mention the fact that without drunk people, there would probably be less fires to begin with. That bartender or waitress across from you is making a serious contribution to your spiritual well-being almost every day, and have you ever once really stopped and said “thank you?” Of course not, because you’re nothing but a bastard person!

Well, maybe you’re not a bastard person, at least not all the time. Maybe you’re not entirely evil, technically; maybe you at least mean well. If that’s the case, don’t you think it’s time you took that special bartender or waitress aside and told it what means to you, or gave it an especially large tip, or gratified it orally? Really, that whole fireman thing is so last week -this week, let’s all hug a bouncer!

Which reminds me, I forgot to wish you all a happy Sweetest Day last week! Sweetest Day is really one of my all-time favorite holidays, special because it’s really the one holiday that, year after year, we refuse to celebrate, the one occasion where we all just quietly draw the line, as if to say, no, no amount of marketing will force this one down our throats. We probably could’ve parlayed it into another day off, but we stuck to our guns on this one -hell, no, we wouldn’t go. And so, a belated happy Sweetest Day to one and all!

I ran into Zoe Lewis of Provincetown the other day; she had just returned from a gig in Las Vegas, and spoke highly of her visit to the Liberace museum. Zoe has also started work on her next CD with her band, recording with local rock impresario/new dad Chris Blood in Orleans at Trout On Wheels (TOW.) Zoe must be one of the hardest working women in show biz, always traveling hither and yon -it makes me shudder to even think about it.

You know, I’m really serious about this bouncer-hugging thing. I mean, bouncers especially. Heck, bartenders and waitresses at least get some gratitude, sometimes, but when was the last time anyone went out of their way to thank a bouncer? You know, “thanks for throwing me out onto the street, I was completely ossified and probably shouldn’t’ve been hanging on that ceiling fan to begin with. You’re a nice man -will you be my friend?” You just don’t hear that any more.

Or any less. You hear it the exact same amount you always did, which is never. So hug a bouncer -you’ll be surprised you did, and so will he. Let’s make every day like Sweetest Day!

I’ve got to go.

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