Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I was on the opposite side of the ropes last weekend – the side you unfortunates have been on all these years since you started coming up to me in the middle of the night thinking I’d give a shit about you and the little lies you’ve told.

“I own my own company, yo! I make two-hunnit g’s a year, dawg, and that’s net! You need a job?”

What the fuck?

In any case, I was invited, last Friday night, to meet a group of people at Slate, an upscale Pool Hall/Lounge combination on 21st Street between 5th and 6th Aves. Problem was, I had absolutely no desire to go anywhere that night. I didn’t want to be out, wasn’t inclined to “meet new people” – am I ever? - and the last thing in the world I’ve been wanting to do lately is spend money in establishments like Slate.

Not that Slate’s a bad place, mind you. I couldn’t tell you whether it is or isn’t, because I’ve never been there when I’ve wanted to be there. If and when I eventually do go there voluntarily, I’ll give you a full report. I’m very much looking forward to the day where I’ll forget myself and actually enjoy going out. I’m just having a hard time with the whole spending-drinking thing lately. This isn’t your problem, however, so I won’t burden you with it much.

“Sorry man, we got a dress code tonight.”

“Wait here,” said one of the people I was supposed to be meeting. “Lemme go inside and tell everyone what’s going on.”

To get into Slate, you need to wear a collared shirt, pants and shoes. This was the best news I’d heard all night. I was wearing a pair of cargo shorts, sneakers and a long sleeve t-shirt, and the bouncer at the door – Slate is to be commended for the “niceness” of their door staff, incidentally – was determined to keep me out. For my part, I was even more determined to help him do so.

“Dude,” I said, “you’re doing me a favor.”

“How’s that?”

“I don’t wanna come in.”

“Why not?”

“Because,” I replied, “I work the door at ‘Axis’ and the last fucking place I want to be right now, on my night off, is here.”

“Shit, you work there?”


“God bless you, man,” he said. “Really.”

“Seriously, though, you’re doin’ me a favor. Please, please, please don’t let me in. I don’t care what these people say to you, I just want to get back on the train and go home, and you’re giving me a perfect excuse.”

Two guys from “our group” came outside. I didn’t know them, but they evidently knew me and wanted me to come inside. I was flattered, but I don’t know why they wanted such a thing. I’m not the world’s most sociable person when I don’t want to be out. I know I should be grateful that people want my company, but I’m not. Most times, I just want to be left alone.

“What’s the problem?” asked one of my new friends, addressing the doorman.

“We got a dress code. He’s got shorts on and he’s wearing sneakers.”

My incidental advocate reached into his pocket and peeled off a pair of twenties.

“Will this take care of the problem?”

When Dr. Generosity turned his head, I forced eye contact with the doorman, shook my head and ran my thumb across my throat to indicate my profound displeasure.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked, his arms extended with his palms facing skyward. “You can’t tell me not to take his forty bucks. You don’t have to come in if you don’t want, but forty bucks means it’s up to you, not me.”

I let out a long, deep breath and started walking inside.

“Thanks a lot, brother.”

So hard to be me.