I’ve Never Had That Happen – Exactly
LAST NIGHT, MY WIFE, the charming and lovely Dawn, and I were watching a show on Netflix where the two main characters in the story were thrown out of a bar. Dawn turned to me and asked, “Have you ever been thrown out of a bar?”
I quickly thought back over the decades of my life and answered her truthfully, “A bar? No, I’ve never been thrown out of a bar – exactly.”
That answer did, as you might expect, elicit a call for my definition of the word “Exactly” in this context.
Have I ever been thrown out of a bar? No.
Have I ever been asked to consider my continued presence an unsafe extension of privilege? Yes.
The year was 1978 and I was out with a few friends from work and we somehow ended up in a Country and Western bar that resembled something from “The Blues Brothers” movie.
Given as I was, when properly lubricated in those days, I would drop little thunderbolts of wisdom that were always uncalled for and often unappreciated. Such was the case that night in the Country Western bar.
How was I to know that the large group of physically fit young men at the next table were all members of the United States Marine Corp? And how was I to know that they all had alcohol-impaired senses of humor about the Corp?
The place was noisy and I had to speak up to be heard when I told my friends that you can sing the Marine Corp Hymn to the tune of, “My Darling Clementine.” Of course, when I did tell them, it was at that moment that everyone else in the joint turned into Marcel Marceau.
It was like Synchronized Outrage. All of the Marines stood up at the same time and looked at me like I had just said something bad about their mothers.
In about 3/5ths of a second a contingent of bouncers moved in to keep me from having to embarrass those boys. (Work with me here.)
While I was not technically “thrown out” of the bar, it was firmly suggested that I and my friends find alternate venues of entertainment. We complied, not wishing to die there.
So, you see, when I told Dawn I was never thrown out of a bar I was being truthful.
I was, however, thrown out of a Perkins Pancake House one time.
The year was 1976. No Marines were involved and everyone there was completely sober. That may have aggravated the situation.
It was a Saturday evening about 11PM. I and about ten fellow cast members had come to the pancake house after a performance of “Man of La Mancha” at a nearby theater. We were all still feeling the adrenaline from the show. We were not being loud or disruptive. We were not upsetting the other customers. Why there were that many people in a pancake house at that time of night on a Saturday I’ll never know.
We were all just chatting and telling jokes when it became my turn.
In an effort to be heard, I stood up and began to address our table. My choice of joke was what is known as a “Shaggy Dog Story,” a story that is long, involved and usually ends up with a bad pun.
After about 15 minutes into my story I noticed that I had also garnered the attention of the folks at the other tables. Never one to cheat an audience I began to address the entire room with my joke. This upset the manager of the pancake house for some reason. Why, I don’t know. The joke was clean and people were still eating their pancakes.
At the twenty minute mark I was coming to the end. I delivered the terrible pun and the groans in the room must have sounded like a group of drunken Marines had landed. The manager came over to me and loudly asked me to leave the premises at once.
I mean – it wasn’t even an IHOP. It was just a Perkins Pancake House. The only lower step would have been to be 86’d from a Waffle House.
I left. My entire table left. I don’t think we paid for our food.
I guess that then qualified as my first paying gig for telling jokes.
You gotta start somewhere I suppose.
But I was never thrown out of a bar!