|A standard night at the joint.|
I, however, am so different, self-entitled and far more unique compared to you common folk in every which way that I am going to do neither. We shall blaze our own path of glory through the hell of list articles and burst forth into the sea of completely identical and just as easily accessible list-shaped content, to be lost in the swell forever. I'm going to tell you about the skills and knowledge that come from working behind that most sacred of wooden platforms that can be transferred to your everyday life.
Prepare yourselves, for these are the lessons taught only by the tap, the harsh truths of the back-bar that might well be just what you need to MacGyver your way out of a sticky situation in the future:
1. Soda Water is Your Best Friend
You've been to a bar before, I assume. If not, you've at least offered your patronage to some sort of fast food place, be it a Subway or MacDonald's. Either way, you'll have likely tasted the wonders of post-mix soft drinks; that uniquely awful mix of weird syrup and crap soda water that's apparently the same as drinking an ice cold bottle of Pepsi.
|This loathsome contraption right here.|
|"Who cleans the cleaners...?"|
1 - Soda water will clean anything.
2 - Everyone is disgusting (see entry number 2)
2. Everyone is Disgusting
We are vile creatures, we really are. That's not even regarding this post; human beings are just horrible. But we reach a new level of gross, both as patrons and publicans, when it comes to being around booze.
|"Who would have thought being in close proximity to this stuff would impede my judgement?!"|
Quick quiz. If you're sitting at home making yourself a drink and you spill something, do you:
a) Clean it up
b) Throw a napkin on the spill and walk away
c) Look expectantly at the nearest person to clean it for you
Two of those options happen at a bar; and neither of them are a). Customers will knock drinks over, leave rubbish anywhere they can think of, shove random crap in their lipstick stained glasses, cover (as in absolutely coat) the toilets with toilet paper, sanitary towels, nappies, drug residue, and just generally be absolute lazy pigs. I once spotted a pair of people sitting on a patch of grass, smoking, with their discarded butts littered around them and an unused ash tray literally within arms reach on a nearby table. It took me actually handing it to them to get them to use it. Then there's the folk who almost seem to be running interference on you; like those who will be sitting at a table, finish their drink, get up, and, instead of just leaving it there for us to collect, shove the glass in a nearby bush. Like elbow deep in there. Why? Why do you do this to me?
|A re-enactment of what is likely going through that person's mind.|
But we get our petty revenges, oh yes we do. Because you may be disgusting, lowly public, but we are disgustinger. Oh my are we terrible. It's not just our glass washing facilities that are filthy, it is our very selves. Have you ever sniffed a barman at the end of their 10 hour shift? I'll save you the experience. Don't.
Even the most hygiene-conscious barkeep cannot keep on top of the constant onslaught of muck that gets thrown at them. You restock the bar, you have to go lug about some filthy boxes; you change or roll a keg, your hands end up looking like a chimney sweep's; you go walk around the site fishing items out of the foliage, you make friends with a healthy dose of spit, ash, dirt and bird poo; you lean on the damp, sticky bar; you touch the bar taps and measures and bottles that a dozen other grimy-handed colleagues have also touched. There is not one part of the job that doesn't involve getting at least a little dirty; and if, like me, you work on a temporary site with no immediate access to running water... Yeah.
I guess the lesson here is don't shake hands with a barman.
I guess the lesson here is don't shake hands with a barman.
|"You can let go now."|
"It appears I am stuck..."
I have learned, however, that if you're looking to clean your beleaguered hands with something other than shitty alcohol gel, rub an ice cube for a bit. Works a treat.
3. Money Keeps You Alive
I make good money at my job, I do. And, unlike some countries where your basic human rights are shunned spectacularly, I don't get taxed on tips. That means no-one is obliged to give me any more than they have to for their drinks. That said...
|"Quid pro quo, Clarice."|
4. Always Have at Least Two Pens Handy
There are three more things that are essential to have on your person when working behind a bar. The first is a bar blade; those things are wonderful. The only issue with them is that you will be guaranteed to have it swiped by another, likely bar blade-less, member of staff; often from your pocket while you're working. The second is a pen. And the third is another pen, for when exactly the same fate befalls your first pen as did the bar blade. I swear, sometimes it feels like bars have a similar recruiting strategy to the Night's Watch.
|Incidentally, this is my ID photo.|
|They are the middle child of the puzzle world.|
5. Routine, and then More Routine
You know how in the Holocaust the Nazis made the people in their work camps pick up heavy rocks and move them needlessly from place to place just to keep them busy? Working on a bar is nothing like that because, christ, who would be so insensitive as to compare pointless tasks at work to the greatest example of human suffering in modern history?!
|Not this guy. Nuhuh.|
|I have no quarrel with thee.|
That's it. That is the greatest lesson bar work can teach you. Eventually you will grow to accept the cosmic absurdity of existence and learn to live your life free of the confines of mortal toil. Pulling pints is the path to ultimate enlightenment. Join me, brothers and sisters! Worship the one true God! Praise be unto it's glory, the infallible Soda Gun!
|One day we will all be drinking the Great Post Mix in the Sky...|