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13th of April, 2024



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The Bony Ass and the Lessons Learned

Here I am again, sitting in what I now refer to in my head as the Worst Bar in the World. It’s not the worst looking bar in the world. There are some rough-and-tumble jobs on the bad side of Bangkok, where betting your Baht on spontaneous bouts of Thai-boxing is a respected tradition. In one bar that I visited where the tuk-tuks dare not roam, I actually found a tooth in the ashtray. It was a human tooth, I assume, though admittedly I’m no dentist. There were dried blood patches on the floor, at least on the night I was there (perhaps not coincidentally it was Ladies’ Night). There’s also the late, great Stein Club in Midtown Atlanta to consider.

No, this bar is just the worst all-round bar in the world. You may recall the episode with the fütchen, about which I wrote a week or two ago. At that time, the staff was just too stressed to bring people beer. Tonight, however, they had a different reason. I walked in about a half hour ago; and, as usual, about half the customers were sitting around with warmed-over, greasy, empty glasses in front of them. The other half were either already drunk, or not the drinking type. I walked up to the bar to order myself a beer; I’ve given up ever getting served at a table here. The wait staff were sitting at the bar smoking cigarettes, as is their wont, and I actually had to tap one of them on their tattooed shoulder to get their attention.

Once I’d ordered my beer, the tall, slender, albeit buck-toothed blondie sauntered around to the business side of the bar, and started pouring a beer. After a few seconds of shooting nothing but foam into my glass, she called to the other “waiter” that he needed to grab a new keg from storage. “What, a new keg again?” he whined.

Again? I thought. When the hell could they have last changed out kegs? How many months could it take for such a ridiculous gaggle of slackers to actually dry up a keg? More likely the beer evaporated. Does this place even have a boss? What do you have to do to get fired here? In many places, sitting at the bar smoking cigarettes while all the customers wait for beer from an empty keg is nigh Dickensian in its cartoonishly abject insolence. There’s a niggling little thought in the back of your head that you forgot the password, and that everyone thinks you’re a narc.

You’d think that years of abuse, culminating in having a waitress delegate her job to you, would be one of those lessons you’d never forget. You get burned, and you develop little rules of thumb to avoid making mistakes more than once; you develop little proverbs like, “always throw the circuit breakers before drilling”, and “never moon a Chinaman”. But sometimes you forget, and here I am again, in the worst little Kneipe in Germany.


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