Thursday, August 31, 2006


Let's say you're in human resources -- in other words, you're the head bouncer -- and you hire some guy, and he turns out to be a pretty decent employee for a while. You hire this guy, and for the first few weeks he's working for you, he shows up on time, doesn't call in sick and takes the job seriously. For the first few weeks, you think he's the model employee, and you're just as pleased as punch to have him on board.

Then, after those first few weeks are up, you start to see some changes. You look over at the spot where he's supposed to be standing, and all you see is air. Or the wall. Or a dancing Guido. You have your little pre-shift meeting, where you run your little psyche-jobs on the bouncing staff, and you notice your supposed Golden Boy sauntering into the room fifteen minutes past his start time. The following night, it's twenty.

Then some shit breaks out, and you're all standing out on the sidewalk, and your boy's playing a major role in the ejection of the ejectees. You walk over and ask him for the relevant info, and you notice he's slurring. And glassy. And flushed. The motherfucker reeks of rack vodka, and now you're pissed because you took the chance on hiring this kid without meeting him, and it's your ass that'll be heading home without a job if someone splits their head open on the sidewalk as a result.

So you fire him. You let the guy finish out his shift, you hand him his envelope, and then you call him the next day and let him know he's done. And you're a good guy -- universally respected in the bouncing "community" -- so you tell him why. Maybe teach the kid some kind of lesson about how to hang onto a tit job like the one he just blew.

Two weeks later, your phone rings. Actually, it vibrates while you're at the orthodontist, waiting for your oldest to be fitted for his retainer. You run outside, flip the thing open, and it's Pete, the guy who recommended the Golden Boy in the first place.

"Listen, JD," he says, "I gotta talk to you about the Golden Boy."

"What about him?" you ask, knowing damned well what's coming next.

"Look, I just had a long talk with the kid, and he knows he fucked up. He's havin' a bad time right now. His father's in the hospital with that prostate shit, and he's been havin' money problems, and he just got caught up in some bad shit. He's a good kid, JD."

"I never said I didn't like him," you say.


"But, I'm not gonna hire him back, if that's why you're calling. The kid came in late every day, he didn't do what I told him to do, and I caught him gettin' drunk on the clock. What am I supposed to do with that? How am I supposed to work him in, when he's pulling shit like that on me every night?"

"Listen, man," he says. "He's a good kid. I know him since he's a fuckin' baby. A fuckin' baby! He didn't ask me to call. I'm callin' on my own, 'cause he's embarrassed. He's ashamed'a the way he acted, and he don' think he's ever gonna see that club again, but I know if you, y'know, gave the kid another shot, he'd be okay. I think he learned his lesson."


"What? I'm serious. I'll vouch for the kid. He steps outta line once, you throw him the fuck out, an' you put the blame on me, okay? Just do me this favor, JD. I don' ask you for nothin', do I?"

"Fine," you say, relenting. "I'll take him back. But you tell him if he's late even once, or he ever has a drink in that club again, he's gone."

So he comes back, on time the first night. And he gives you a whole song and dance. "Thanks, man," he says. "I know I had no right to expect a second chance, and I'm sorry about the way things happened the first time around. You won't have any problems out of me anymore. I need this job too bad, and I'm not gonna fuck it up by doing the wrong thing like I did last time."

And then, three weeks later, right on cue, you see the little son-of-a-bitch standing at the bar with a rocks glass cupped in his right hand -- like nobody's gonna see -- when the only drinks your bouncers are allowed to have anymore are bottles of spring water.

So you accuse him of recidivism. At least I would, but I'm not JD, and JD doesn't use words like recidivism. JD would probably just say, "You're fired, motherfucker," or something along those lines, which, though not quite as entertaining as being the only one in the room who can use the word recidivism in a sentence, is infinitely more effective in bringing matters such as this to a close.