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2004-09-04 - 7:29 p.m.

There was a time, once, where I considered the mark of a terrible job was the dreaded and horrific nametag. Any occupation that required you to pin your name onto your chest, usually not wonderful, as your employers apparently don’t even have enough confidence in you to believe you can properly introduce yourself without props. If your job requires a tie and a nametag, welcome to the wonderful land of doubly fucked. I grant you there are worse fates, i.e. spending an eight hour period in a polka dot skirt seemingly hemmed from the banner of a candy store, but that is rarely a work related necessity.

But, times change, and I now know that there is a lower echelon in Dante’s circling inferno of careers. Descending down and down that spiraling fire pit of staplers, cubicles, and “How can I help you today?!!” you come upon a fate that would drive even those in our population most crammed with glee to go barreling lemming-like over the white cliffs of Dover, or at least towards the neighborhood death trap: train tracks, tall building with minimal roof security, Al’s Pancake Hut.

Given this opportunity I must thank whichever higher powers out there, guiding us along our fates. Upon reflection there is so great a need for appreciation, that several goats must be slaughtered in the standard rite. For whatever reason, whatever grace I have earned, I must thank you that I have never been forced into a job at a restaurant or bar that required me to learn dance moves. Wearing a physics defyingly tight rolled up tank top is demoralizing enough, but curl that up in a tortilla shell with beans and lettuce and the choreography from “Grease” and you have a spicy Chalupa more than enough to keep you shitting tar for days.

And when that Kamaya-maya wave of defecate finally comes to a screeching farting stop you’ll end up wiping your ass with rough single ply toilet paper – the only kind your meager earnings could tender, scraping your already red and raw tushy into tiny fleshy blood soaked hunks of shrapnel.

Sitting there contemplating how many gallons of water it will take to rehydrate your pruning body, the strains of “Greased Lightning” will float through the transim of your mind as tears ebb from your eyes, falling to the floor along with your will to live.

That this scene remains merely a construction of a seriously perturbed mind, I thank all of you up there.

I must say, however, that viewing the ladies of said establishment dolling out liquor in containers as varied as jumbo sized syringes and test tubes, I am amazed at their brazen joy. While the look of defeat swung heavily behind quite a few of their pupils, the fight constant to keep from rolling their eyes at each and every turn, there were a few, one who happily gave me quite a deal on my rather sizable bar tab, who seemed to muster a slice of actual enjoyment out of the entire show, she must have performed fifty times already.

Dancing atop a piano, she mugged and giggled away the stiff, sub-cheerleader dance moves and truly seemed to be enjoying the evening. Whether she simply wore the mask of the salesman well, or been enjoying the contents of some of those syringes behind the scenes, I do not know, but in a sea of worn faces, it was nice to see what truly felt like a genuine smile.

Which leads me to wonder, why didn’t I ask for her number.

Oh right…I liked seeing her smile, not seeing her slapping me.



My suggestions to the rather talented piano players at said Piano Bar

Kiss off – Violent Femmes: Zero joy, none of them knew it.

End of the World as We Know It – R.E.M.: Complete redemption, knew all the words.

Instant Pleasure – Rufus Weinwright: Again, no joy, despite the man manning the ivories had been to his concert less that a week prior.

Everybody Needs Somebody to Love – Blues Brothers: Talked out of this particular song instead going for “Shake your Tailfeather” which once again called the entirely female drink staff to the top of the Piano, and “Sweet Home Chicago” which did not.

Crazy Game of Poker – OAR: Much shortened but well played.

Fly me to the Moon – Sinatra: Skipped Right Over.

And finally the pair of Shout by Little Richard and Blister in the Sun by Violent Femmes which garnered a Metal Face from the piano man.

I should mention, thanks to me writing this throughout my stay there, it became assumed I was a columnist of some sort. A theory backed by me saying, “I’m kind of…sort of…like a columnist.” This may have resulted in my lessened tab, and rather kind offer thrown my way. Ladies and Gents, bring your notebooks to bars…it’s lovely.

For their kindness, and despite the images described above, the show was actually pretty good, with each of the four piano players handling the bass and drums with equal gusto. I can easily say a good time was had by all, and surprisingly no cover on a Friday Night. Should you have a night to kill in Baltimore:

I’m not getting paid for this if you’re wondering, but if the Howl at the Moon staff is reading this, I wouldn't mind.

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