Doorman Diaries

The honest truth about slinging drinks

Sometimes decapitating Coronas and carefully tipping Jack Daniel’s into glass buckets isn’t quite as glamorous as it seems.
As sad as it sounds, when I walk into a bar, I usually pat my back pocket on arrival, checking for my shiny, worn bottle opener.
Every bartender’s bottle opener is the tool by which they conduct business.
It’s called a church key because the bar is my safe haven and where others congregate to clumsily genuflect on past transgressions.
A cop has his pistol. A teacher has their chalk. A politician has the ability to speak from both sides of their mouth.
We slide on our can-we-help-you smile, and try our best to keep as many people in the bar drinking and tipping until 2 a.m. As callous as that sounds, it’s in our fiscal interest to do so.
Those of us in possession of the church key also have days where we’d like to use that slender dull metal to cut you, while screaming the lesser points of how to bestow a gratuity.
It’s not an easy job, regardless of what any bartender tells you. There are times when you throw a bitchy, whiny tantrum and quit on the spot. Sometimes it reaches an exasperating crescendo to where you want to finally just walk away from bar, and all the rude, unwashed miscreants that dwell on the other side.
I grew up in a town that has quickly become a vacuum for vile and repulsive behavior. El Cajon is a punch line that spawned laughter I never thought possible about a parcel of land. Yeah, granted the place is kind of gross now, I’ll be the first to admit that. But unfortunately, there are still people there who can’t get out.
I know a few individuals that still bartend in El Cajon. They tell me how life really is. Trust me, they aren’t people who are destitute and can’t fend for themselves. They just can’t walk away from the money at this point.
If you had a job that paid you well for working less than the mandated 40 hours of work, wouldn’t you be a daffy twit for not taking the position?
Some folks bartend because they have no other option besides slinging drinks to the parched individuals who find themselves living in the eastern portion of San Diego. The only problem is that an occupation like this starts as a big party, where everyone gives you attention and the feeling of importance. Not to mention being compensated while reveling in the party.
It does tend to make you look at people in a different light though. I think jaded is a term often overused, but in this situation, I could say that it appropriate. Dealing with every little grating detail, day in and day out. It’s like being in that Bill Murray flick “Groundhog Day,” except everyone is drunk and surly.
So when you walk into the bar tonight, try and realize that we may seem to be smiling and happy to be pouring your drink, but it’s not always true. We hate our jobs sometimes just as much as the cube dwellers, fast food philistines, and the snobby smoosh attorneys.
I guess we’re all on our own when it comes to being happy at our place of employ.
Now if I could just find a job playing video games and drinking Macallan …