Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last Call For Alcohol

After taking a roadtrip this past weekend to LSU with my kids, it brought back a lot of great college memories. Something about the smell of bourbon in Tiger Stadium triggered some flashbacks.

I compare our current economic times with a massive hangover. If there's one thing I learned after my 4.5 years at LSU, it is that a great party is always followed by a bad hangover. I would surmize that the "fun" and the "hangover" have a linear relationship. You can't just have the fun without the pain to follow. That's "natural law" of alcohol consumption.

We have to go back to 1982 to really understand when and how this party really started. Bartender Ronnie known by most bar patrons as "The Gipper" kicked the party off with a nice happy hour. Drinks were 2 for 1 and the party quickly kicked into high gear. Bar owner at the time, Mr. Volcker, loved the happy hour concept. Getting the patrons drunk early led to great revenues later in the evening.

When Ronnie announced that his time was up, the bar patrons asked for a bartender just like him. In steps George I who had all intentions of continuing the party. Unfortunately, the bar was sold just prior to Bush I starting his shift. Early in the bar ownership, Mr. Greenspan was more cautious with his drink specials. In 1987, a patron drove home drunk, crashed, and sued the bar.

Due to George's limitations, the bar patrons asked for a new bartender. In steps Bubba. He knew what the patrons liked. He restarted the cheap drinks and threw in a few dancing girls and free cigars. The party went into overdrive. Everyone was intoxicated and the drinks kept pouring and pouring. The law only allowed bartenders to serve for so many hours, so in steps new bartender George II.

At first, the patrons were cautious, but after seeing him beat up some unruly patrons, everyone got on board and the party continued. Bar fights started to breakout more often during George II's shift, but the alcohol kept flowing so the crowd continued to dance the night away. The bar ownership had changed one more time, but the new owner, Mr. Bernanke, promised that they were going to "party like it was 1999!". To deal with the fighting thugs, he just hired a bunch of massive bouncers to keep the crowd in line.

Some wise patrons decided that they had consumed enough for one night and they departed for home. The bar just didn't feel the same to them anymore. While they missed out on the wildest part of the night, they travelled home safely and quickly relaxed in the comfort of their home. George II, like Bubba, had to end his shift, but the remaining patrons were about to kick it up one more notch.

The new bartender, Barack, shows up and announces "tequila shots are 2 for 1 for the rest of the night!". Many hours into the partying, the patrons are so intoxicated they don't know right from left. Tequila is pouring everywhere and the bar is in high gear. Dancing and singing, the patrons don't want the night to end. Barry was so cool of a bartender, that he even drank beer with the patrons.

Without warning, the lights come on, and someone announces on the PA system, "last call for alcohol". There's a frenzy as everyone races to the bar to get one final round of tequila from Barack. Due to the limited time left, there is a lot of pushing and shoving. Everyone knows that all won't be able to sip one final round of tequila, salt, and lime. One patron yells, "one more body shot please!". The bar finally closes. Being daily savings time night, it was able to stay open one extra hour. One extra hour of tequila seemed like a great gift at 2 a.m.

At 3 a.m. the real partiers headed for their cars and the drunken ride home. Two were killed as they crashed head-on into a tree. Most were blessed to arrive home safely despite their inebriated condition. Sleep came and lasted well into the next morning.

As the bar patrons awoke, their head throbbed, and their muscles ached. Their mouths were so dry, they hardly could speak. They quickly questioned the decisions from the night before. One yelled "Why did we do those tequila shooters?". The other yelled back "Why did we do four rounds of those tequila shooters?". The third yelled "because it tasted good my friends!".

As the day wore on and the hangover continued, some started to get angry at the bartenders from the night prior. "They knew we were drunk. Why would they keep serving us?". Another stated "That last dude Barack should have never sold tequila shots 2 for 1. How could we pass on that?". "Yes, it's his fault one said to another. He just wanted to make the bar more money. He took advantage of us.".

Amazing to all, the same crew ventured into the same bar the next night. They didn't seek out the tequila, but they quickly shifted back into party mode. The weekend consisted of two nights, and they wanted to get their share.

So I ask, when will we hear "last call for alcohol!". Be proactive and head home from "the bar" early. Take some tylenol before bedtime and drink a lot of water! The party was fun and we all took part. Blaming the last bartender is cowardly and irresponsible. If you want to blame any, you have to blame them all. Remember, it all started at 2 for 1 happy hour. Don't blame the bartenders for your own decisions.

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