An online journal of the nightly (and daily) nonsense endured by a (former) bouncer at two of New York's most popular nightclubs.
Friday, March 31, 2006
Fun with Paranoia
Sorry about this morning's idiotic post. What went on last night would be a very quick, very easy anonymity killer were I to write about it. It's something that happened to me, and me alone -- with shitloads of witnesses -- and since everyone and their bloody uncle knows about this blog by now, I'd rather not spill everything this late in the game.
Why is Washington Mutual airing commercials depicting a penned-in herd of "old white guy" bankers being baited by a young African-American actor in a blue polo shirt? Has anyone seen these? They've been airing rather frequently during CBS's NCAA Tournament coverage.
They propose an idea to the "old white guys." If the "old white guys" object, then the idea must be good, and Washington Mutual will then offer it to the public, who will then undoubtedly benefit. Because, after all, "old white guys" are all out to screw the general public every chance they get.
I'm hardly someone who's ever been inclined to bemoan reverse racism, but I'm actually finding myself vaguely offended by this ad campaign.
Sometimes when you're standing at the door, and one of these idiots comes flying out, what you have to realize is that it's all about the drugs. That there's no talking to some of these douchebags, because they're all tuned up on something. That you'll not be reasoning with some Guidoed-out juicehead who's fallen into the dreaded k-hole and can't claw his way back up to the surface. That if you play your cards right, you might walk away from this episode without having to go to the ground, but you know it's not likely to happen.
Because it's all about the drugs.
And sometimes, when you're standing at the door with the words of your mentor, Patrick Swayze, running 'round and 'round in your head, you think you've got it all figured out. That the best bouncers really do work with their mouths and not their hands. That you, above all people, with your "cerebral" approach to the Guidified world, can come at things from the proper angle and keep your hands clean.
Then out rolls Carmine, gasping for air, his jaw a' swingin', and there goes your theory.
And you wonder. You look at this, and you think, "Why does everyone here look so gosh darned silly?" And what you come up with is, they're all on drugs. What you think is, they'd fucking have to be. And what you consider is, you're the only one in the entire goddamned place who's not.
Which explains everything. And accounts for my standing theory, as of right now, that the reason all these fucking people look so fucking stupid is because they're all smoking fucking crack. All the time. Twenty-four hours a day. Because if they had one sober moment -- just one -- where they weren't hitting the pipe, they'd realize the utter insanity of their actions. They'd look in a mirror and say, "Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what the hell did they do to me, and where's my lawyer? Thank God I was wearing rubber soled shoes!"
They'd realize all that, and say all that, because this -- this entire club culture -- is nothing but abject ignorance, an awareness that's impossible to come by when you have foreign substances coursing through your bloodstream every hour of the day and night.
...neither of which I do. So, taking inventory yet again, I realize...
1. That if this whole book thing had never happened, I'd be doing something else with my life. I'd likely still be keeping some kind of journal, but it sure as hell wouldn't be about bouncing. I'd be long gone, with this stupid-ass club in my rearview mirror, because I've gotten all that I possibly could out of this job, and then some.
2. That bouncing really is a pointless pursuit. Holy Mother-of-God what an empty existence these assholes lead! Not the employees, mind you, but the customers. How could anyone -- anyone -- want to do this night after night, week after week, year after year? It really is the worst. A monumental waste of time and money on something that's totally detrimental to your health.
This strikes me so suddenly because I've realized that it simply continues on. And on. And on. And my book will come out, and I'll never set foot in a club again as a hired goon -- let's hope -- and yet the same sorry motherfuckers will make the same sorry-assed pilgrimage to the meatpacking, or where-the-fuck-ever, wearing the same stupid looking silk shirt, and making fucking nuisances out of themselves on the street at four in the morning. And this will all go on without me until the end of time.
You know, what happens is, we stand around and say things like, "I don't see people like this anywhere but here." And what I want is for it to go back to being like that, only I'm not here, so I won't see them.
3. That people need to stop asking if I have a MySpace profile. I do not. I will not. Sure, I messed around with it a little when I heard about the concept, but it quickly wore thin wHeN i ReAlYZd I HaD 2 tYpE OuT sUm CrOcK oF BuLlShItZ DaT lOoK'd lIkE dIz. 98.7% of the pages on MySpace are FILLED with this nonsense, if you hadn't noticed. And while I could likely use this to my advantage -- by getting myself laid, of course -- I simply can't attach the stigma to my good and anonymous name by submitting myself to MySpace assimilation.
4. That not drinking is a better thing than drinking, at least for now. Next week, who knows?
5. That I want -- nay, need -- to get the fuck out of New York as quickly as possible. Because I used to be a guy who needed a couple of extra bucks, and now I'm Margaret Fucking Mead, dropped in the middle of this miasmic little blotch of stink here in the middle of New York, and I don't quite get anyone anymore. The misunderstandings, the lack of comprehension -- that goes for the rest of the bouncing staff, too. With me just not getting it, that is.
See, I know where everyone's coming from around here, because it's a bitch surviving in New York. The way it is, what they've cultivated is a place where you just need to stack money on top of money. Doesn't matter how you make it. If you raped old ladies and got away with it, and made more scratch than a doctor -- or a drug dealer -- you'd get what's known around here as respect. It'd come easy.
Me? I'm not on that page anymore, if I ever even was in the first place.
The best bouncers I know, and I'm not talking technique here, are the ones who couldn't give a flying fuck about what happens in the club. You get too involved -- you mouth off a little too much, crack a little too wise -- and you're hip deep in bullshit, with no way out except to lose your job. Which is why I've regressed to the way things were when I first started out.
A fight? I run to it. Grab somebody. Haul 'em to the door. Return to spot. Repeat. The basics. Back to the assembly line, because when the customers start to recognize you -- and management finally learns your name -- the acknowledgement you may once have wanted quickly becomes the noose from which your paycheck will hang.
The entire thing is tedium. Pure, unadulterated tedium. And the clock, my friends, has begun to tick.
Reader response to my insomnia posts was, as always, incredibly informative. Although I'm much too lazy to go to the lengths many of you suggested in order to get to sleep, I've made some changes, and I'll report back as to how it's gone. In the meanwhile, here's a sampling of some of the responses I've received. I've gotten a few too many to comb through and do this in a professional manner, given my time constraints, so I'll post things from various categories:
Prescription Drugs: Go to your doctor and get a presciption to try Ambien. I know there's a lot of stuff about it in the news lately, but I've been using it 5 nights a week for 7 or 8 months and it really saved my life. No side effects at all here. good luck.
Non-Prescription Drugs and Supplements:
I know you don't use drugs but I don't really consider pot a drug. my suggestion is to smoke a joint prior to going to bed. you'll definitely be able to sleep.
In the past, I used Tylenol PM as a last resort without any side effects in the morning.
Decreased seratonin levels mess with your sleep patterns. You don't sound like the type to do extasy - but you can get a simmilar problem from not enough sun (Sun is one of the precursors to the production chain that triggers your neurochemistry to produce seratonin). I don't know what its been like in NYC lately, but at the end of winter it gets more common to see people with decreased seratonin production and the side effects. 5-HTP might help if you're in that boat - you get it here in health shops - breathe through your mouth while you're looking for it and the patchouli oil isn't unbearable.
Valerian root helps. It smells really bad (even in tablet form). But it helps.
I've been a longtime fan of your blog. At any rate, I ran into a similar lack-of-sleep pattern a while back. Try Unisom. It's got the same sleep agent as Tylenol PM, without the Tylenol (only twice the dose). It's non-addicting and completely safe for you. I normally drop 2 pills 30 minutes before I want to rack out. You'll feel a little groggy in the morning but a cup of coffee usually does the trick.
If you want something more natural, you can try 5-HTP. It's a precursor to serotonin production and one of the side-effects is drowsiness.
While I have no clue why you are having trouble sleeping, are you aware that the usual dose of melatonin that you can buy is too high? I've seen some references to stories about it; plugging 'melatonin dosage' into google may help.
Benadryl caplets. They work like a charm.
My dad has problems sleeping and has found the following to actually work for him. Natural stuff:5-hydroxy-tryptophan and Sriphos... and if you wake and can't go back to sleep and your thoughts and worries go round and round in your head use Bach remedy(Bach Remedy homeopathic solution): White Chestnut.
Try Sonata -- it works wonders.
A few years ago, I had some trouble sleeping (was working full time, finishing up my final term at university, had just bought a house, and was pretty much uberstressed).
I found that listening to hypnosis tapes knocked me right out.... You can find some good stuff on just about any torrent tracker or P2P (I can suggest some for you if ya like). Bandlers neurosonics, Major Marks "Trance in the first place" and "all the way down", just about anything by Glauberman. It's supposed to have all kinds of affects, but for me, it's a sleep draught.
The other thing for quality of sleep that I've had INCREDIBLE success with in the past few months is a memory foam mattress topper & pillow (got them both for $150 CDN dollars). Very comfortable, very supportive, great nights sleep.
I find white noise to be very helpful when trying to sleep. You could spend some money for a gadget that does just that, but I find a fan or humidifier works just as well and can have other benefits.
Well, here I am to add my two cents to your 'sleep tips' jar. In a word, masturbate. Nothing takes the edge off like a lil' (or big) climax. Seriously.
Also, I am not surprised that you slept well in the hotel. There is just enough distraction in new surroundings to neutralize the top layer of stress that may be keeping you awake. That layer is otherwise known as jitters.
Insomnia can be a serious disorder, one that is not necessarily solvable with a warm glass of milk or a folk remedy. You should seriously consider seeing a physician - I would wager that you would find much better advice than you will from an open call on your blog. I understand that you might hesitate, but you are right in that you need more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep. This could cause health problems as serious as those caused by other diseases.
1. Make sure your bedroom is only for sleep. Don't watch tv in there, and don't read in that room. Seriously- your mind should associate the room with sleep.
2. Some noise helps me. I enjoy having the hum of my A/C, or a fan (though I don't need it).
3. After 40-60 minutes of trying to sleep, get back up and do something- tv or read. It helps to reset my body.
4. If you are really struggling to fall asleep, switch rooms. When I absolutely cannot fall asleep, I go to my couch, and it works.
I wanted to offer some safe suggestions that might, through trial and error, help you sleep longer, and sleep deeper.
1. Try a fat-protein snack just before bed. A slice or two of cheese works well. The fat and protein, even in small portions, shunts blood from your limbs and brain, to your stomach, liver, and intestines. The shunting of blood away from your brain, helps to induce sleep.
2. Try a small glass of Port or Brandy just before bed. I read that you do not drink alcohol, but even a tablespoonful of alcohol at bedtime causes vasodilatation and lowers blood pressure. The vasodilatation lowers the blood flow to the brain just slightly, and helps to induce sleep.
3. I too am a coffee addict, and would never suggest giving up morning java. However, if you drink any caffeine after about mid-afternoon, (caffeinated sodas, tea, Red Bull style energy drinks), the residual caffeine will still affect you by bedtime. Switch to decaf by .
4. Nicotine is a powerful stimulant. If you smoke, try to avoid cigarettes after mid-afternoon. While most smokers find nicotine relaxing, it does interfere with sleep patterns.
5. Consider trying the amino acid supplement L-tryptophan. It must be taken on an empty stomach with water. Contrary to popular belief, the tryptophan in turkey is ineffective as a sleep aid - the fat and protein content of the heavy Thanksgiving meal is what induces drowsiness - not the tryptophan content of the Turkey. In the late 1980's there was an L-tryptophan scare resulting from contaminated product being produced by a Japanese lab - an autoimmune disease (EMS) was linked to a bacterial residue in the product produced by this lab. The FDA now restricts importation of L-tryptophan. Make sure the product you buy is made in the US from a reputable supplement brand.
6. Consider trying St John's Wart (an herb with a good record of helping with depression and sleep disorders). Like Prozac, St John's Wart may modulate serotonin levels in the brain that are important to restful sleep.
If this fails, consider getting a Sleep Study done by an Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) doctor. These studies are covered by major medical insurance, but they are expensive for the uninsured (+/- $1,000). These studies can detect sleep apnea, but they can also pick out which sleep phase is being disrupted. A sleep study is the only rational way to decide if prescription sleep aids are needed.
Make sure you're not working out too late in the afternoon, or at night; this can be disruptive to sleep. Try to work out before . Unless, of course, you go to sleep at Just adjust this to your own personal clock, OK?
Make sure you're avoiding tea, iced or hot, and sodas with caffeine before you go to sleep. It's not just the coffee. Keep your coffee and be well.
When you wake up, try:
A tryptophan of some sort: it's a component of dietary protein, and it promotes sleepiness. It's particularly plentiful in chocolate, oats, bananas, dried dates, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, meat, fish, turkey, chicken, sesame and peanuts. You might consider having, for dinner, a variation on the above, and when you wake up:
A cup of hot cocoa, the kind you make with real milk (1% or 2%); or A banana; or A turkey sandwich. Most health-food stores sell a cheap metabolite of tryptophan called 5-HTP. I don't read myself to sleep, because I'll be reading until dawn's early light, if it interests me. You may not want to read once you wake, at least not during the current situation; instead, if you have the facilities in your place (that is, a tub, not just a shower), run a very hot bath and soak in it, with Epsom salts, if you have any. I'd say soak with the light off. If you have a candle, light the candle and focus on slow breathing techniques while you watch the candle.
There's another sleep-inducing activity which can take place in the tub, even in the absence of your lady friend: you might want to take matters into your own hands, so to speak, specifically to induce relaxation. It's better than being told to take castor oil, after all.
I will assume no caffeine other than that one coffee? I used to have the worst insomnia when I didn't realize I was drinking a large Coke at lunch and another with dinner, plus all the sugar in it. I will also assume that you are sugar-free or close to it as you obviously are so health conscious.
I also assume that your exercise is done earlier in the day.
Two things are useful to encourage sleepiness: relaxation and food. Food, by taking blood for use in digestion, removes it from the rest of the body (esp brain). And it doesn't take much.
Try combining both to knock you out. First eat something light (NOT fruit, of course). For instance 1/2 slice of wheat bread and a few swallows of milk or spoons of cottage cheese. Eat slowly and chew well. If you don't want to eat carbs maybe a few bites of chicken or of tuna salad. It is surprising how little you need to make a difference; veggies work fine too.
Next do some very very mild exercise, definitely not enough to break a sweat. For me that might mean some leg exercises while lying in bed, for you it might mean lightly running in place beside your bed for a few minutes and/or some ab exercises while lying in bed. Your goal is to just get warm enough to cause a little relaxation.
Then immediately get in bed and do some mental relaxation, or anything of a meditation nature to short circuit your usual mental worrying at problems or planning. Mental relaxation and meditation combine nicely in this pattern: start with deep slow breathing, work from feet to head tensing muscles regionally (feet & calves, thighs, belly, upper arms, chest, face) for a long held breath and then relaxing the muscles as you release a breath. Deep breathing exercises can be very effective for relaxation.
If this isn't enough to get you to sleep in less than an hour there is probably a deeper problem. You might want to up the ante by doing some more serious aerobics in the evening before bed, following them with a quick warm shower and then some small snack.
Another possible tool is to list your tasks for the next day on a piece of paper as a way of planning the next day. You see suggestions of this sort in seminars for salespeople and self-help books. The idea is that if you list what your tasks/goals are for the next day your mind will be less inclined to worry about things that you know need to be done. Often you end up thinking of these things without even realizing it.
Last but not always least play some slow relaxing music at a very low volume, especially if you have an ambient noise problem. Some people swear by white-noise generators and new agey recordings of rain or surf. I never found that to be much help myself but it might be worth a try. If you play the exact same music every night (and if you are successful in getting to sleep) then the music alone may come to act as a Pavlovian signal to your subconscious that it is time for sleep. -Barb
Please don't be offended if your suggestion hasn't made it into a post just yet. This is just a random offering of the emails that've come in since my insomnia post. I hope some of this stuff can be off assistance to anyone with the same problem. Really.
I stayed in a hotel room one night last week -- was not particularly exhausted, mind you -- and slept for nearly ten hours straight. My best night's sleep in months. This leads me to believe there's a problem with the environment in which I'm sleeping, which is odd because I've slept in some pretty fucked up places, and have never suffered from insomnia before.
Thanks for the overwhelming number of responses. I'm still combing through them. And, inspired by a reader's suggestion, I'll compile the tips I've received and publish them on the blog sometime this weekend.
So here's another solicitation for help from the readership...
I'm having massive problems sleeping, problems which have led to me feeling like crap later in the day when it's time to start writing. For the past month or so, I've only been getting about three or four hours per night, at best, and I need more. I need more, but I simply can't remain unconscious long enough to feel rested. This needs to be remedied immediately.
A little insight into my routine may be helpful...
1. I start off every single day with a fairly large cup of coffee. This is not something I'm willing to give up. I'm addicted, and will be for life, so this one doesn't get touched. I've been doing this for years, and have never had problems sleeping until recently.
2. I'm not under any excessive stress at this point in my life. Everything is actually pretty mellow, even my concerns regarding the book and my deadline.
3. I exercise very strenuously at least four times per week. Usually more. One would think this would make me sleep like a baby, but it doesn't.
4. I supplement daily with protein shakes, a multivitamin, creatine, glutamine, fish oil and l-tyrosine. I do so occasionally with l-arginine and l-carnitine. And no, I am NOT on any steroids.
5. I have tried to help myself sleep by using -- not at the same time -- both melatonin and ZMA. Neither have helped.
6. I am sleeping (alone) on a fairly good, fairly new mattress, in a comfortable, dry environment with very little noise.
7. I don't smoke, nor do I use any drugs.
8. I try to stop eating at least three hours before I go to sleep, and am usually successful in doing so.
9. I rarely drink alcohol anymore.
The problem, here, is that I usually can't fall asleep. When I wake up, no matter what time it is, I can't fall back to sleep. I read myself to sleep every night, a practice that worked like a charm until about four weeks ago. Nothing in my life -- neither my diet nor my stress level -- underwent any changes before or since this shit started, so I can't come up with a root cause for the problem.
This thing is fucking KILLING my level of productivity, so if anyone can suggest anything I can try, I'd appreciate it.
The dialogue in this story has been somewhat fabricated due to my hazy memory of the events I'm attempting to relate here. There are certain specific details about the evening in question that I can't recall, and so there may be some minor factual errors involved. I apologize in advance if I've misquoted the person with whom I conversed that night, and for anything else I've gotten wrong in the retelling.
Some years back -- it has to be at least four, an assumption you'll understand at the end of this story -- I was riding the Long Island Railroad into Manhattan in the early evening. I was living out on Long Island at the time -- far enough east that the train was empty when I boarded, but the cars filled quickly because something major was going on in the city that night. I can't remember exactly what that something could possibly have been, but by the time we reached Freeport, things had gotten a tad cramped.
Baldwin station, hardly the most active stop on the line, would bring us to critical mass. A man in his mid-forties, clad head to toe in denim and lugging some sort of industrial toolbag, wedged his way into the seat next to mine, a maneuver that made me regret ever getting on the damned train in the first place. You have to be kidding me, pal. You have to sit here? You really have to sit here?
"Sucks, huh?" he asked, turning to have a look at his new seatmate. You have to talk to me, too?
"I hate when the train's like this when I'm tryin' to go to work. I wonder what the hell's goin' on in the city tonight."
"No idea," I said. "What do you do?"
"Union stagehand. I work on Broadway. How 'bout you?"
"I'm a(n) (giveaway detail). I work in(at) (giveaway detail)."
"Really?" he asked. "Sounds like interesting work."
"Not really. Kind of sucks, actually."
"You're a pretty big guy. You play any sports?"
"Yeah," I replied. "Played football in college."
"At (giveaway detail)."
"You ever play any lacrosse?" he asked.
"Yeah. High school. Defense. Wasn't bad."
"My son plays. Just graduated from Baldwin High School. He's going to Towson in September, and he's gonna be playing there, we hope."
"Oh yeah?" I asked. "On scholarship?"
"Not yet. They're giving him some money, but he pretty much has to walk on and earn his spot the first year before they give him anything. Towson was really the only school that gave us any kind of an offer. The coach down there's been pretty straight with us, so that's where he's goin'."
"Towson's a good program. They've always been up there."
"Casey's a tough kid. He gets a chance there, he's gonna surprise some people."
And so it went, shooting the breeze about work, life, college sports, and everything under the sun for the next forty-five minutes. Making the ride bearable. Good guy. Made an impression on me as someone who really gave a damn what his son was going to make of himself and his athletic career.
Finally, Penn Station. Not that I had noticed the train's overcrowding, however, so engrossed was I in our conversation. "Hey, what's your son's name? Maybe I'll keep track of him if I can remember."
"Casey Cittadino. And I'm Al, by the way."
"Good to have met you, Al. My name's (my real name). Good luck with everything."
"You too, (my real name). Good luck to you, too."
And so, over the next few years, life came around, and I forgot about Casey Cittadino. The name didn't come to mind once, even when I found myself passing through Baldwin. Hadn't paid much attention to college lacrosse lately, what with my work situation, the book and all the rest.
Funny how the pieces of one's memory begin to fit back together after a while, though, isn't it? I was on the train the other night, headed into the city for St. Patrick's Day, and the crowding of the cars reminded me of the night I had spoken to Al. A night train into Manhattan without a seat. Late Sunday night, sitting at my desk, cranking out material for the book, it finally occurred to me to check on his son, to see how the guy had made out -- a four year career encapsulated in one click of the mouse. I had no idea what I'd find. Hell, I didn't even expect the kid to still be there. You hear about so-and-so "playing ball" for such-and-such, and it never works out, and they're never to be seen again. Especially when their fathers are the ones telling the story. Delusions override the cold realities of Division I sports. You hear "My kid's trying out," it inevitably means "My kid ain't got a prayer," and that's the end of it.
You never know, though. New York's a tough place, filled with tough people. Riding the train every night? Working a union job? A sense of perspective on what your kid can expect on a college team? There was something there, and I found myself rooting for the guy before I even got off the train. I remembered. So, years later, I clicked. Right here.
And found what you just found, if you looked at the link. Captain of the team. Honorable mention All-American. Pre-season All-American this year. Still there, and it looks like he's been better every year. Lists his father as the person he "admires most."
What this did, was it impressed the hell out of me. Brought a smile to my face on a night -- one of those lousy blocked-up nights -- when I was struggling with my inability to make the pieces of this book fit the way I know they need to. And I realized what it takes to make this thing work -- from people I don't even know, save for a cramped three quarters of an hour on a decrepit commuter train -- is to do what I've done along. To put my head down, and go to work, and let this thing fall however it may.
If anyone gives a shit, here are the last five books I've read, in order:
1. Idoru, by William Gibson: My affection for Gibson's writing is no secret around here, and this one didn't let me down whatsoever. The way the man can craft a sentence never ceases to amaze me.
2. All Tomorrow's Parties, by William Gibson: Same shit. I liked Idoru better, and read them in reverse order -- read Idoru first, if you're planning on taking my recommendations -- but this was worth the time nonetheless.
3. Distraction, by Bruce Sterling: This was one of those "if you like this, you'll like this" deals. I'm not a huge fan of the Cyberpunk genre per se, but the one thing that's constant throughout is that these guys -- Stephenson, Gibson et al -- can really write. I've heard good things about Sterling, but I didn't think this work was on the same level as either Gibson or my man Neal. I am, however, willing to give him another shot.
4. The Closers, by Michael Connelly: I have to read stuff like this once in a while, and when I do, it's best to go to a proven source. Connelly's Harry Bosch novels essentially read themselves. You've got a murder. You've got smart cops on the case. You're genuinely surprised at who actually commits the crime. What more could you ask from a mystery novel?
5. Haunted, by Chuck Palahniuk: I have no idea why I had such a hard time getting through this. Really. I like Palahniuk, I really do. I consider myself a fan, but this one took me about a month to read, off and on. That's never happened before with any of Chuck's books. I don't get it.
I'll make this as simple and concise as I can. I'm coming into the homestretch with the book, wrapping everything up and making my final preparations to turn in the manuscript. As a result, the blog is going to suffer for a couple of weeks. I can't really devote any time to posting anything of "quality," because all my time and effort, at least in terms of writing, is going into this manuscript at the moment.
I'll continue posting, but they'll necessarily be short ones for the next two weeks, because I have a major deadline hanging over my head. Thanks for all the support!
"Yo, what the fuck?" asked the Guido who'd just been so unceremoniously shoved to the curb. "Yo, lemme back in, muthafucka!"
It's just so very tedious, no?
"Listen," I said, adhering to the script, "you're not coming back in."
"Yo, why not?"
"You know what, dude? I have no fucking idea why not. I'm the door guy. Do I look like the guy who threw you out? Do I bear even a passing resemblance to the guy who just pushed you out here?"
"Yo," he shouted, "dis is bullshit. What'd I do? Why I'm kicked out?"
"Honestly? I really don't know. My only job is to make sure that you don't go back in, so that's what I'm gonna do. And if I find that I can't do that," I said, gesturing to Johnny the Cop, "he'll just shoot you."
"What you say, n---a?"
"Didn't you know all Manhattan door guys carry guns and wear bulletproof vests?"
"Yo, fuck you!"
"I'll tell you this much, though," I said. "Somebody did a really nice job waxing your eyebrows."
"Yo, they ain't waxed, muthafucka! Dese n----s is threaded, yo!"
Now, lest you think I'm making this exchange up, I can assure you I'm not. It began as mundane. The same nonsensical repartee in which we engage with every jerkoff who gets the boot. The difference here could be found in those magical eyebrows. Blah, blah, fucking blah, and all the while, I'm making scary-intense eyebrow contact, because I was fascinated. Transfixed. Held in thrall by the perfect lines above this man's eyes.
Threading. The threading of eyebrows. The Guido's lines were so precise, I nearly lost concentration and allowed him back in.
"Threaded? What the fuck is that?"
"Yo," he said, "why you wanna know, muthafucka? You need to start wit a chainsaw for yo' shits!"
"How much you gotta pay to get your eyebrows threaded?"
"Yo, same price to suck my dick, yo!"
"Oh, come on," I implored. "Why you gotta be like that?"
"Yo, my boys is in there. Could I jus' go back in an' get them?"
"Dude, if you got kicked out, and they don't come outside looking for you, are they really your friends?"
"Yo," he replied, "what the fuck I'm s'posed to do?"
"How about not doing whatever you did to get thrown out?"
"Yo, fuck dis place, n---a!"
"I'll tell you what," I said. "I'll make you a deal. You tell me where you had your eyebrows done, and maybe I'll think about letting you back in."
"Yo, I get my shits done at the Staten Island Mall, dog. Could I go back in now?"
"What are you, fuckin' stupid?" I asked. "Get the fuck out of here, you stupid fuckin' Guido. And take your cheesy fuckin' eyebrows with you."
Creating a female lead character has been, no pun intended, a royal bitch. See, I know a lot of people, but I can say with authority that I'm the only person any of them have ever known who's writing a book. Or has ever even thought about writing a book. Most of the people I know aren't accustomed to knowing someone who's writing a book, and I don't mean this in a pejorative sense, because hell, when I think about it, I don't know anyone who's ever written a damned book. It's not like HarperCollins has ever invited me anywhere, you see.
"Guys like me" don't write books. Clint, AM3.149854, "The Boy," Johnny, Jimmy, Freddie, et al; we don't write books. The idea of putting a hundred thousand words in writing is an ephemeral one for us, the province of pointy-headed guys with glasses off in the ether somewhere. Our lives are entirely too real for that sort of thing, I say. So it's gonna get weird when people start seeing themselves in my writing, especially when it comes to the women.
The book I'm writing is based on my experiences as a bouncer at nightclubs all over New York. Thing is, though, it's not just about bouncing. It's about what's happened to me, and my life, and my value system, and my interactions with the people around me as a result of taking this job, and -- shockingly -- being quite good at it. If you set the blog and the book deal aside for a moment, what you have to understand is that going back to bouncing has changed me quite a bit over the past two years. I've made a ton of new friends and altered my attitudes toward many things -- some for the better, and some for the worse.
What you have to do, necessarily, when writing a book, is to focus primarily on those characters -- participants -- who've had a direct effect on these perceptions to which I'm referring. You create a literary personality for people you know, because you need to find a way to translate the things they do in the real world to the page. And this transference, so to speak, is where things get a bit dicey.
People are bound to recognize themselves, even in places where I've meant to be flattering, and I'm not entirely sure how they're going to react. The men? They'll know who they are. If you know Clint, you know he couldn't possibly be mistaken for any other human being on the planet, and rightfully so. The man is unique, thank God. As an aside, if there were more than one of that guy walking around, I'd suggest we all run for the hills immediately, lest we find ourselves ensnared in some pyramid scam that'll leave us, well, caught in the mystique, if you will -- the North Koreans on one side, the IRS on the other.
The women, on the other hand, might not know. They'll try to figure it out, but they'll likely fail. By design, of course. But the question is how they'll take it. Whether they'll continue speaking to me once they've read my written portraits. I'm writing, here, about people who aren't used to being written about, and from an extremely personal perspective, so as I've done so, I've become increasingly curious as to how they're going to respond to me once everything's finished and out there for the public's perusal.
So, it's uncharted waters for the bouncer, but what, over the past nine months, hasn't been?
"Yeah," said Carbone. "He talks about you once in a while."
"Makes sense. I called him a month or so ago to ask about something. Some kid came in throwin' his name around."
"Who gives a shit?"
"I don't," I said, "but I wanted to let the guy know."
"What'd he say?"
"Nothin'. Just left him a message, an' he never called me back."
"He don' give a fuck," Carbone said. "Was prob'ly bullshit, anyways."
"Yeah, that's what I figured."
Jimmy lost his job at the club a few months back. Lost it, you could say, for losing it. It's easy doing this shit one, maybe two, nights a week, but working someone's door four, five, six nights a week? When do you sleep?
Of course, Jimmy figured he could catch his sleep on his bouncing gigs, finding a place in back, maybe in a locked office, or a storeroom, to close his eyes for an hour or two. Place this size? Who the fuck's gonna notice? Well, nobody, for a while, but there comes a point, like in any other job, where there has to be some accountability, and in running a club, that means making sure all your bouncers are where they're supposed to be, when they're supposed to be there.
And that don't mean the broom closet.
"So what's he doin' now?"
"Ah, you know," replied Carbone. "It's tough on the guy, all that financial shit comin' down on his head all at once like that."
"I couldn't even imagine."
"Hit him hard."
"Y'know," I said, "I didn't even mind the way he worked. The sleepin' and shit, and the not showin' up to fights. Bothered me when he first started doin' it, but it was like I just stopped dependin' on the guy, right? Like you knew he wasn't gonna fuckin' show up anyway, so why bother with him?"
"Man, that's no way to work."
"I know, but you know what? He wasn't on my fuckin' dime, an' as soon as I figured out he was sittin' in there takin' charity, I didn't give a shit no more. This fuckin' place can afford it. Better than gettin' handouts from the fuckin' state."
"He had to go," said Carbone. "Had to. You can't keep a guy around, workin' like that. No job's gonna keep somebody like that."
"You never answered my question. What's he doin' for work these days?"
"I dunno, man. I really don't, but it's gotta be somethin' shady. They start garnishin' your wages, it can make you get kinda stupid."
Doesn't stop them from dropping the name at the door, though. Girls, even. Jimmy's stable of hoovers, the ones who'd blow him for drink tickets back in the lounge bathroom. They all want in, all the time. All that work, all that praying, and it's gone to waste now that he's gone. The Italian bouncer, what straight-shooter Guidos can aspire to be, once they slick back the spikes and let the eyebrows out a touch.
"You know," said Carbone, "I got a guy on my door who's always tryin' to use Jimmy's name over there."
"Thing is, he knows I know, and I ain't gonna do shit for him now."
"Why not?" I ask.
"Why the fuck should I do Jimmy any more fuckin' favors. He's lucky I still take his fuckin' calls after the shit he pulled."
"So why do you?"
"You know how it is," he replied. "We were friends, you know? I helped get the guy his fuckin' job here."
"And then he treats it like a fuckin' toy. The guy's jerkin' you off, you know."
"Yeah, I know. An' I wish he'd finish up, 'cause I'm just...about...there."
So you own a bar, and you're looking for bouncers. Maybe you do the old "open call," and you get a bunch of takers. Guy walks in, hands you a resume, says he's a "Federal Agent" -- part of something he calls the "Fugitive Recovery Team" -- and tells you he's yours if you want him. Let's, for argument's sake, pretend I'm the manager conducting the interview:
"So, uh, Jonathan Blaze, is it?"
"Well that's just terrific. Great name, my friend. NEXT!"
However, if we were to move on to another question, it'd read something like this:
"So, uh, Mr. Blaze, it says here you're a Federale."
"Then why in God's name are you looking for a hundred dollar a night bouncing job?"
"Well," he might say, "my wife just had another kid, so I need the extra cash."
"Why didn't you say so? I'm gonna put you right out at the front door, starting tonight! Because, of course, it makes perfect sense to have a federal agent working the front door of a Soho bar!"
But I'm curious about a few things here:
1. Why didn't this bouncer have a New York State "Security License"? Yes, I have one, if you're wondering. Was I asked for it when I was hired? No, I was not. I went and filed for mine for "professional" reasons, because you can never really be sure, in this business, when the axe is going to fall. I did this on a "just in case" basis, in the event I needed another job on short notice, but the entire process is purely a charade. I know you need the license to get work with a private firm -- one that supplies bouncers to the industry -- but most bouncers who work for private security companies are clownish hacks who are willing to work for $100 a night, kicking back the extra $50 they should be getting to the agency that got them the gig. In other words, the bottom of the barrel.
The licensing standards for bar and club security can and should be tightened, however, and the Imette St. Guillen tragedy should necessarily force state lawmakers to reexamine the issue. Obviously, Darryl Littlejohn was uniquely unqualified for licensing in damned near anything in New York State, given his criminal record. If he'd been asked to present a license instead of some bullshit resume on the day he was hired, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. 2. Why is a bar so hard up for security help that they're accepting resumes? Call me. I'll fill out your staff for you. I'll find you a dozen guys who can more than adequately fill the position, and I can vouch for each and every one of them. Hell, maybe I'll even take the job on one or two of my nights off. I haven't written about it much on the blog, but I've done a bit of moonlighting over the past two years, working a shift here and there at some smaller places as a favor to a friend. Bouncing -- "good" bouncing, that is -- is a job requiring "connections." If you're soliciting resumes, or hiring guys off the street, you've got problems that hiring a new staff ain't gonna solve.
3. Did anyone actually read this guy's resume? Federal agents don't become bouncers, do they? I mean, I can't say this with total authority, but I'd wager the practice is frowned upon by the United States government. Someone comes to you looking for work, claiming they're a Fed, and this doesn't set off a few alarms?
4. How can you not know a person is on parole? Yes, the bar and club business can be somewhat informal, at least in terms of the hiring process, but how can you go about bringing someone onto your staff without even asking for one reference? Do these places have bottomless insurance policies? Do they not have to worry about any sort of liability whatsoever? I'm sure the people who own the club where I work would love to be able to operate with that kind of impunity, but they don't. Why not? Because they've developed the unfortunate habit of actually putting some thought into the way they operate their business. That's why not.
5. Why did they permit this guy to carry a firearm while bouncing? If you're NYPD, this is acceptable, because it's mandatory. But then again, as a member of the NYPD, you're not permitted to be a bouncer in the first place, so it's a Catch-22. As for a member of any other law enforcement agency, refer to #3 above. You find out a bouncer is carrying a gun while working your door, and you're not going to check and see if he actually is a cop of some kind? I don't know about you, but when I'm around someone carrying a gun, I usually get a little curious about whether he's going to use it on me. Therefore, you check.
6. Where is our common decency? If I'm a bartender, bouncer, or bar manager, do I send an attractive, obviously inebriated woman out into the streets of Manhattan, alone, at four in the morning? No, I don't. I can't. I'm a bouncer, and a pretty good one. I'm also capable of being a heartless asshole when it comes to my treatment of the customers. But, as has been documented on this blog, there have been two separate occasions where I've paid for cab rides for customers -- out of my own pocket, mind you -- rather than leaving them helpless on the sidewalk.
I don't care how drunk or obnoxious she is. When you throw a pretty young woman out of a bar at closing time, you have to do the right thing. A professional will call her a cab, and then get her in that cab. And please, don't give me some line of bullshit about how "bouncers don't care," and how we're "all assholes." I'm a high profile bouncer, working at a high profile club, and I'm speaking from authority, whether anyone believes me or not, so know this: I've put male customers into cabs because I was concerned about their safety. Grown men. It may not be my legal responsibility, and yes, I'm paid to be an asshole most of the time, but at the end of the night, it's also my responsibility to the human race to not throw a helpless person to the wolves. And that's what you'll find in the streets of Manhattan at four in the morning. Wolves aplenty.
This could easily have been avoided if people simply gave a shit. But, as always, they don't.
How does one become a bouncer? I can only speak from my own experience here, because there are so many different types of bars and clubs in New York, all with wildly varying standards for the hiring of their security staffs. I was hired by someone who knew me personally for well over ten years. In other words, I was "vouched for." There are many places around here, however, where one can walk in off the street and secure a position.
This may come off as arrogant -- what else is new? -- but I'm decidedly a member of the "upper echelon" of New York City bouncers, for what little that could possibly be worth. If a bar or club didn't force me to jump through a number of hoops before hiring me, I wouldn't take the job, because doing so would entail working on a staff consisting of jerkoffs who couldn't get themselves hired at any of the better places in town.
As much as I complain about my job -- two years worth of disgruntled blogging, to be sure -- I'm relatively fortunate, right now, in this regard: The core of our staff -- of which I'm now a part -- consists of a group of well-trained individuals who've all known one another for several years. I bounce with several police officers (don't tell anyone) and ex-military types, in addition to a handful of former professional fighters. I've associated with many of these guys outside of work; I've met their families, and, in two cases, tutored their children in math. I trust the majority of them implicitly, know exactly what role all of them will play in any given situation and would compare our staff, man for man, favorably with any group of bouncers in the city.
The club where I work hires only a certain sort of bouncer, and since I've been working there, we've never offered employment to anyone who has come in looking for a job without a referral from someone in the 'inner circle.' I'm thankful for that and would not want to work as a bouncer in any other environment.
Are there ever background checks? Again, this depends on the place. My employers do conduct background checks, and I highly doubt anyone with a criminal record like that of the primary suspect in the Imette St. Guillen case would be hired where I work. In fact, I know for certain that this wouldn't happen. The bouncers where I work are paid very well, relatively speaking, and it's a highly sought-after job in the 'industry.' It's not one of those places where the sole requirement for employment is a pulse. You're hired on the basis of your reputation, which is established through knowing someone -- usually in management, as it was in my case -- for a number of years. You needn't exactly run a gauntlet of interviews like you would at, say, Goldman Sachs, but the story of my hiring is hardly that of an ex-con walking off the street looking for a job as a glorified thug.
A point of interest here, at least for me, is that the bouncer they're fingering allegedly worked the door at one of these bars. This is rather odd, because the front door is a position of trust in the nightclub industry. Ownership and management types tend to avoid putting someone they don't trust at the front door, unless they're either exceedingly stupid or something untoward is going on. Even in the latter case, it's difficult, because there's money involved. An ex-convict with an extensive criminal past wouldn't be permitted within a hundred yards of the door where I'm employed.
I'm a perfect example of this. I've been working the front door at my club since last spring. I have no criminal record. None. The person who decided to post me there has known me since I was a teenager and stated, explicitly, that I was there because I was "reliable" and "trustworthy." In fact, his exact words to me were, "I'm putting you at the door because I know you won't steal from me." Despite his knowing all this, however, I still had to pay my dues inside, "standing on the box" for more than eighteen months before being given a lucrative door spot.
Having never been there, I know nothing of the way The Falls is operated. It's a bar, however, and not what you'd term a megaclub, like the one where I work. Their hiring standards are different -- likely a lot less stringent -- and I'd wager their bouncers are paid significantly less per night than we are.
How can a bouncer leave a bar with someone without anyone noticing? Again, without knowing anything about The Falls -- I had never even heard of the place until the other day -- I can't say for certain. Where I work, doing this would be difficult, and someone would definitely take note of it. We all generally leave together, and anything out of the ordinary -- including someone's absence -- is noticed, and usually commented on, immediately.
Do I have to worry about something like this every time I go out from now on? Hell, yes. Anyone reading this blog for any length of time is well aware of my stance on Manhattan nightlife. Despite appearances, this remains a dangerous city, and when you're alone and drunk at four in the morning, you're an obvious target for the many people in New York who'd hurt you if presented the opportunity. The list of people of whom you need to be wary -- whether this particular bouncer committed this crime or not -- can and should include employees of the establishments at which you've been drinking.
What do you suggest? Be careful with whom you're associating. If you have a friend or group of friends with a history of leaving you stranded, avoid placing yourself in situations where you're at their mercy. If you're out with a group -- advisable under any circumstances -- stay with the group. I'd be a hypocrite to tell people not to drink to excess, but you need to stay in control of your faculties. Don't drink or use controlled substances to the point where you'll be needing anyone's assistance. And if you find yourself asking for the help of strangers, things have assuredly gone way too far.
Every night at work, we'll see people who can't hold their liquor or their drugs. They're in a complete stupor and can't walk without being propped up by a Guido on either side. They're puking on the sidewalk. Looking for a place to collapse. You know what you are when you put yourself in this position, don't you? You're a victim looking for a perp. Combine these two states -- an incoherent drunk whose friends have abandoned him or her -- and you have an utterly helpless human being who now needs to rely on the kindness of bar/club employees, cab drivers and the police to make it home safely.
Sure, this sort of thing needs to be monitored by the employees of the establishment, but it's impossible to keep track of everyone in a club at any given moment. Shit happens. Friends feed each other drinks. If I go to the bar to buy a drink for my drunken friend, and I appear to be sober, how's a busy bartender supposed to know who it's for? And it goes without saying that a certain segment of New York's nocturnal society are predisposed to the carrying of rohypnol, among other "rape drugs" -- yet another reason why personal responsibility is paramount in this environment.
The industry is what it is. As distasteful as I find the entire bar and nightclub scene, I'm still also a fairly frequent customer. Bars and clubs necessarily have to exist, because as long as people in New York are still breathing, there's always going to be a market for places where people can congregate in groups, listen to loud music and drink. Hell, I have intimate knowledge of what a cesspool this business is, yet I still enjoy going out in the city from time to time. Who doesn't?
The solution? There is none. As a bouncer, I'm always aware of what you, the customer, can do to me. One of you stabbed me once, and I have a nice big scar to serve as an eternal reminder of what you're capable. You just have to understand that you can't trust anyone you don't know, no matter what position they're in -- authority or otherwise. Stick with your friends, regard strangers with skepticism and suspicion, and above all, keep your wits about you.
Several of you have approached me regarding the Imette St. Guillen case, and the fact that the NYPD is currently regarding a bouncer as a "person of interest."
Please be advised that I know absolutely nothing about the people involved in this tragedy, nor had I ever even heard of any of the establishments that have been mentioned in connection with the case until reading accounts in local newspapers over the past few days.
With the possible exception of a blog post, I will not be providing comment on this issue.
"Yo," says Unsavory Character #1, "I had to get away from that girl, yo!"
"I saved you, dog," says Unsavory Character #2.
"Yo, she won't leave me alone."
"Horrible, dog. Horrible."
"Yo," says #1, "she's gon' be botherin' me on MySpace all the time now, yo."
"Yo, I saved you, dog. I saved you."
You know, I sit and listen to this shit at the front door -- one Guido intercepts another as he's on the threshold of drunkenly acceding to the blurred wiles of some less-than-aesthetically-pleasing girl -- and you'd think I could identify. You'd think I'd look on, and listen, and laugh, because I've been in the same situation myself, many, many times. You'd think, as a group of guys standing at the door, that the tension would be lifted as we all shared one of those moments common to everyone with a penis. You'd think, right?
Yes, you would, but I'd be a world class hypocrite if it were easy for me to reach that point with every Tom, Dick and Carmine coming up front for a breather. Sure, we've got some things in common, and, on occasion, it's kind of fun to come out of character and laugh together, but it's hard for me. Hard to do that with the sort of people I'm dealing with at the club, because we have so few shared points of reference between us. For that, of course, I'm eternally thankful.
In actuality, the first person I thought about, when listening to this asinine exchange, was the father of the girl in question. It has to be fucking horrific for the guy, when you really consider the situation. I mean, your wife -- or "baby mama," as the case may be -- has a kid, and for several years, your lovely little daughter is the sunshine of your Staten Island life. Ribbons, bows, sunshine, rainbows, puppies, kittens, Barbies, tea sets, and all the rest, right?
Fast forward twenty years, and now she's on the pill, desperately chasing some tattooed, semi-literate warehouse helper around a Manhattan nightclub, and, sadly enough, she's actually striking out. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, is that what you had in mind? I'd fucking shoot myself if it ever came to that. I really would. Hollow points, too, just to make sure. Your precious little girl aspires to spread her legs for that guy. Worse still, she's being rejected!
Now, I'm not married, nor do I have any kids, but I have some very young nieces and nephews, and I simply can't fucking imagine what that could possibly be like for their parents. Seriously. I mean, I'd rather my kid simply become a smack addict and just go ahead and die than have my daughter turn out to be some random cum receptacle who frequents clubs, blowing every Guido who shows her a bag.
Fuck, man. It's depressing. So much preparation goes into life. You get your own shit together, you piece together a life, and then, should you possess even the tiniest shred of decency, you try and do the same for your kids. And what happens? You end up with a Guido. Or a slut. A slut! Can you imagine what it'd be like to even think that? My daughter is a slut. My daughter sucks lots of cock. My daughter is a desperate loser who chases Guidos around nightclubs.
And yeah, I know, not everyone comes from a happy home. Lord knows I didn't. People get abused. They devalue themselves, and their lives. Addiction is a disease. Blah, blah, fucking blah. Not everyone's parents give a shit. Not everyone plans ahead. But what of those who do? Save a bullet for me, I say.
"Reason number five-thousand six hundred and fifty-three not to get married."
"You know what," I said. "Why the fuck you sayin' shit to Johnny about me not comin' to fights anymore?"
"Yeah, dude. He told me you said that."
"I didn't mean it like that," he replied.
"Then how'd you fuckin' mean it? I'd really like to know."
"What'd he tell you I said?"
"Oh, what," I asked, "I should tell you exactly what he said, so you can turn around and put your little spin on it? Like he took you out of fuckin' context?"
"Dude, if you got somethin' to say about the way I do my job, go ahead and tell me to my face, otherwise fuckin' keep it to yourself."
"Rob," he said, "I don't want any problem with you."
"Listen, Richie. I don't want any problem with you, either, but you gotta watch what you say, even if you're just fuckin' around. You think if you badmouth me, Johnny's not gonna come back an' tell me five minutes later? I talk to the fuckin' guy on the phone every day."
"You can't fuckin' do that," I said. "I'm not gonna put up with it. I been workin' here two years, an' I've taken two days off that entire fuckin' time. And I've never, ever missed a fuckin' fight call. Never. Not one. You're gonna say somethin' like that, I'm takin' it personally."
"I'm sorry, man. What else can I say?"
"Fine. Lesson learned. But next time?"
"Next time," I said, "there ain't gonna be no next time, capeesh?"
So, problems with coworkers. Problems with bouncers. Nothing new, that, and yet this might be the first time ever, in my bouncing 'career,' that anyone's ever accused me of lethargy on the box. I mean, fuck, I might not be Bruce Lee and shit, but the one thing I always have been is there.
Even with the book, I'm still good at this, so I'm not entirely sure what the motivation behind this is. Why do people talk? Why do they run their mouths? Why would you say something about me to someone you know is a good friend of mine? And why finger me, of all people? Odd.
So, we're about to find out. The situation is about to be dealt with, and we're going to get to the bottom of things as soon as I get to work. It's not going to wait.
Hey, I heard you had something to say about the way I conduct myself here. Care to share it with me in person?
And then we'll see. Now, I'm not looking for a fight, here. I'd rather it not even escalate into an argument. No. This is a lesson to a young guy who evidently hasn't learned how to make his way in the adult world just yet. This is a friendly chat to let him know that 'throwaway' lines aren't always thrown away. That things get back to people, and piss them off. Sometimes the wrong people.
Am I worried? No. Would I win? Yeah. Not the point, though. Not by a longshot. I'm too secure here. He throws a punch, I throw one back, and he's on the next bus home, not me, because I've got enough in the bank to have the backing of everyone in the club. So this'll be easy. Fish in a barrel.
I've never been much of what you'd call a shit talker. Most of any kind of rough-and-tumble, self-aggrandizing tough guy swagger-mouth that I do tends to be accomplished right here on the blog. And even that's not all that bad compared to some. In person, at work, I'll usually leave the yapping to others. In fact, I don't even go in for the typical "Who can kick whose ass?" nonsense that invariably ensues when large groups of alpha males conglomerate with an excess of time on their hands.
Why? Because it's hard for me to care anymore. I'd just as soon tell someone, "Sure, sure...you'd knock me out," than get into a pissing contest with someone to whom such things carry weight. To me, it's simply another aspect of the job about which I no longer give a shit, which is why I now leave all that internecine bullshit to the younger and more eager amongst us. In any event, I'm too busy acting "sketchy" to spend any time worrying about such matters.
Still, though, it comes as something of a surprise that anyone would lodge a complaint about my willingness -- or lack thereof -- to get involved on the job, which, evidently, is what happened last Friday night.
"I don't like that kid," said the Bouncer of Telephone Harassment.
"Nah, me neither. He just gets on my nerves."
"He's talking shit about people now. You heard about that?"
"Talking shit," I ask, "about who?"
"You, for one."
"Yeah," he replies. "I shouldn't even be telling you about this shit."
"It's a little late for that, asshole, seeing that the can of worms is already open. Tell me what he said."
"He was just sayin' that you never show up to calls anymore, and that when you do, he never sees you doin' anything."
"That fat fuck said that?" I ask. "Dude, the guy's only been workin' here for six months. What the fuck? Is this about last week?"
"I think his exact words were, 'What good is having Rob here if he never leaves the door?'"
"Okay, first off, I'm not allowed to leave the door. And second of all, what the fuck does he think happens when people get thrown out? Do they just magically decide to go home and disappear? Or is someone, namely me, out front with them for the next twenny minutes making sure they don't come back in?"
"Hey, I didn't..."
"And another thing," I said. "Who the fuck is he to be talking shit about another bouncer? I mean, I can see if it's a new guy, and the guy sucks or something, but is he fuckin' kidding me talking shit about one of the guys who's been here for a couple of years?"
"Lemme tell you something. You don't fuckin' do that. He's in there rollin' around on the floor and he's mouthin' off to you about me, and he's gonna expect me to get his back? I'll tell you what, man, he's lucky it's me."
"Yeah," he says.
"But you better fuckin' have a talk with this guy, 'cause I don't like that shit, and I don't think it has a place on a bouncing staff."
"Hey, I agree with you, but if I talk to him, I'm just gonna get mad."
"Well," I said, "you shoulda shut him up before he even started sayin' that shit. Of all the guys here he coulda pissed off, why's he pickin' me? Strange fuckin' choice dont'cha think?"
"Yeah, it seemed..."
"You know what? Fuck it. I'm gonna straighten this asshole out myself. I'll see ya Friday."
"Can you," I asked from the audience, once questions were being fielded, "explain the 'dead bug' series, and how, exactly, one goes about firing out one's transverse abdominus?"
"That's sort of broad," he replied from the podium.
"Well actually, I don't really know what those exercises are, and I was wondering if you could demonstrate them."
"They're used for rehab purposes."
"Yes," I said, "I understand that. But you keep mentioning them in terms of firing the transverse, and I'm unclear about what they are, or what role the transverse abdominus plays in making anyone stronger. Can't you just go over that real quick?"