I’ve been thinking too much since I’ve turned 37. One of the things I’ve been considering is deciding on the age I will lie to other people for the next 5 years.
Is 35 pretty good? That says ‘I’ve been around” and also simultaneously “I’m not 40, so it’s still okay to date me”. I got too many grey hairs in my beard to go younger.
I wouldn’t be the first person to lie about my age. Actresses have been doing it for years—I’m sure some fellas too. And I understand that ‘40 is the new 27’ or whatever (as all the people around say to make me feel better about this whole ‘adult-transition’ thing) but I don’t fucking buy it.
The change has already started. I feel it. There’s already new paranoia, neurosis, physical ailments, all while staring at my empty wallet (cue cartoon fly buzzing out from my opened weathered wallet).
Choosing the art path (if there could be one specific path) was a bad move. What is cute and charming about the artist life at 22 (squalor, greasy long hair, nihilism, a vagabond, ‘tortured’ nature) becomes tedious, dull, and plain sad when you are pushing 40.
I remember being very young, thinking of my life at this age, and I just plain could not see it. I had visions of creating an amazing piece of art that would move the world (yes, I was 14 once too, you know) and I would be lauded for my genius and I suppose I believed a fanciful lace carpet would float down from the sky and pick me up. I would sail around the world, respected by many for my inspirational works that changed the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of this fine planet.
Or that’s how my little 14-year-old mind envisioned. Exactly what sort of ‘work’ this would be is beyond me. I still don’t think I’ve created it (or even have the ability to do so).
Now, sitting alone at a bar pushing 40, listening to the drunken babbles of wanna-be dreamers, half measured men, and blubbering philosophies of coke-addled women—all lost to the drink—I wonder:
Why didn’t I just go for the regular job? Why did I decide upon a 20-year ‘adventure’ of serving people? From barista, to waiter, to finally, dive bartender—what was it I thought I was doing? Couldn’t I have picked a ‘real job’? Joined the ‘real world’?
But what the hell is a ‘real job’ anyway. There are a few that escape the ‘golden handcuffs’ career of this lifestyle.
Some have gone into the weekly paycheck world. The biggest complaint I hear, nursing a vodka and tonic: “Oh my God, I make no money! The government takes everything.”
This is the sad reality of that world. There is no cash out. There is no tax-free money stuffed into your beer soaked pants pockets.
Let’s go through the ‘real jobs’ I have considered over these whiskey-filled years.
Years upon years of school and work, only to start at the bottom of the food chain, harassed by insurance companies and state issued ‘health care’ plans. There was the psychologist option. After all, how hard could it be? Listen to other people’s problems all day: Check. Analyze already present issues in the person: Check (Note: Alcohol is the greatest solvent between reality and truth. After consumption of many beverages, people get real honest.)
What ruined this option? Schooling. Money. Competition. My age. I believe this ship has passed for me. By the time I would be ready to go into my own private practice, I would be at least 45 years old. Not old, but I would have to drastically alter my current lifestyle choices. And leave New York City just so I could concentrate.
Everybody knows this is a nation of lawyers. The only way not to eventually get fucked by one of these broods is to fight back with the same rules, and becoming a barrister is the greatest defense. Plus people always need a lawyer to protect themselves from other lawyers, so the want is strong.
But, again, the schooling, the years, and my current age again place this late stage game change a little far fetched. Knowing me, I would become a lawyer and consistently fight for the weaker party, which means I would become one of those bleeding heart liberal types, broke and squeezed into ill-tailored suits. I would start some class hatred shit (I have that terrible leaning) and probably become a pariah in the legal world.
Also the only place I would want to go to law school would be in New Orleans at Tulane. There would be a whole new slew of problems eventually, I can already see it. But that is a whole other blog.
It is a known fact I know everything about bars and the operations of them. But then I would become the enemy, since we of the bartending community know that most bar owners and managers are the worst power hungry, control freak types of people. I could do it, sure. But then I would be like them. And since I have a distinct hatred for all authority, I myself, would become the enemy. It would be a shameful day.
I was a manager once, and quite beloved of my staff. Because I knew the honest truth. The customer is always wrong. To serve people feeds into some kind of aristocratic need in people to be waited on like a Marseille King, although they lack the bloodline, the class, and the money befitted for devaluating someone by asking for that extra ketchup. I can’t even sit at a table in restaurants anymore without feeling guilt rage up my spine. The “Hi, welcome to blah-blah, hope all is well, have you guys decided on drinks?” makes me shudder. Please don’t treat me like a human. I’m not. I’m like you.
I don’t know people. Maybe the cash that day golden handcuff lifestyle has finally grabbed me by the balls.
Like my mother told me when I was a kid: “Be careful, Matthew. What you choose to be part-time now may be your full-time future.”
I know, Mom. You were right.
But what now?
Where do I go from here?
This week, The Bartender doesn’t know shit.
Till next week.
HI GUYS. DR. MATTHEW HERE.
HI GUYS. I'M YOUR PUBLIC DEFENDER.
YOUR FUCKING FIRED!