7.6% ABV

86ed.  The ol’ heave-ho.  Booted.  Tossed.  Ejected.  Whatever you call it, Saturday night was the first time in a while I have been thrown out of a bar.  I thought I was getting too old for this shit, but sadly, apparently not.  I’m no stranger to the great indignity of being forcibly dragged from numerous drinking establishments by some steroid-fueled missing link and thrown out onto my tush.  I’ve been bounced from bars, pubs, discos, restaurants, peel joints, classrooms, sporting stadiums, weddings, Bar/t Mitzvahs, golf course clubhouses, and once even a booze cruise (a tad hypocritical I contend).  But, my favorite 86ing happened on an airplane.

It was back four years ago.  I was returning to New York after having visited my sister at college down in Miami.  I was seated next to an older-than-Esther stereotypical Florida Jewish lady.  A curly afro of dyed charcoal black hair ala Linda Richman, dressed to the nines with pearls and gold jewelry, and a dousing of No. 5.  No big whoop, I don’t like to talk to my seatmates unless they are gorgeous women.  And I have never once been seated next to a gorgeous woman on a flight.  But I am constantly sat next to crying babies, BO-reeking fatties, and people that consider the Sky Mall catalog fine literature.

Nevertheless, we all know old people are very chatty.  And Jews are even more chatty.  And oldass Jews are about as chatty as they come.  Estelle asked me why I had been down in Florida.  I answered whatever was the exact sanitized opposite of “getting wasted on cheap drinks at college bars and trying to hook up with my sister’s classmates.”  91-year-old Estelle told me she always went down to Miami in the winter because she was still an avid golfer, walking a course several times a week.  In fact, while on this trip she had just broken her age, carding a 90!  What a woman.  I was blown away and told her so.  She then hit me with the downside.  After her most recent round of golf, the other player in her twosome, coincidentally her identical twin sister, had passed away.

Estelle began to cry.  I don’t deal well with crying no matter if the person is age 0, 25, or 91.  I tried to console her.  “Fuck it!” she snapped back up and wiped her tears away.  “She lived a good life.  Have a drink with me, Aaron.”  With pleasure.

I don’t typically drink on flights both because they have an abhorrent selection, I don’t want to have a broken seal and have to piss for an entire flight, and also I’m delusional enough to think that if the plane were to crash I could probably save myself while the other dopes aboard perished–that is so long as I were sober.  However, when a 91-year-old Jew with no doubt fantastic stories pulls a wad of twenties from her gigantic handbag and forces you to slug drinks with her in order to reach nirvana, well, no gentleman could turn that down.  She wanted to drink red wine and that was cool with me.  If you’ve never ordered wine on a flight, it comes in a tiny little bottle that has about a glass’s worth and is usually some mediocre bottling from the Gallos.  We had one glass, then quickly another.  Estelle could drink and I was actually struggling to keep pace.

After four glasses the air waitresses began to ignore us as admittedly we were getting rowdy, other passengers staring at the combined 116 years of drunken belligerence.  Estelle wouldn’t stand for this.  Next time the drink cart came by, pushed by an aloof and dismissive flight attendant, Estelle simply speared her varicose-veined arms into the cabinet at the bottom and, with the suppleness of a Bourbon Street pickpocket, filched two more bottles for me and her.  Nice.  Who says you can’t learn things from your elders?

After our free bottle number five, Estelle again tried to use the standard method for ordering as often employed by assholes, signaling for drinks by holding two fingers aloft ala Churchill or Nixon.  Those gents meant “V for Victory” however when drinking the V becomes the universal sign for “Two more, please, chop chop.”

“Hey!  Where’d you two get another bottle of wine?”  The bitch flight attendant who had de facto cut us off sprinted over.  She was clearly onto our scheme.

“The other stewardess served us,” I slurred.  Whoops.  I forgot that “stewardess” is the n-word in the flight attendant game.  Nevertheless, still such a more elegant term that the unwieldy politically correct nomenclature.

“I explicitly told that flight attendant NOT to serve you two again.”

“We’re fine and still temperate,” Estelle piped up, using a term for sobriety that hadn’t been heard since the speakeasy days when the old lady was no doubt flapping around with F. Scott.  “Now hurry up and get us another drink, sweetheart.”

“You two are cut off and if you bother me any more about it I’ll have authorities waiting for you guys at the gate.”

Estelle rolled her eyes at me and let out a “bitch” under her breath as the flight attendant waddled her fat ass back to the jump seat.

The great Estelle had one final trick up her sleeve though.  With a shit-eating grin full of false teeth, she pulled a makeup kit out of her hand bag.  Subtly unzipping that she removed a minibar-sized bottle of Grand Marnier.  She took a slug then handed the orange cordial over to me to finish off just as the flight began its descent.

By the time we had taxied to the gate, Estelle was shitfaced, but still savvy enough to pull off a move that would guarantee her lifetime enshrinement in the Vice Blog Hall of Fame.  Though a vigorous women perfectly capable of walking eighteen holes, Estelle quickly realized that the countless bottles of wine had made her incapable of hoofing it upright.

“Could someone get a crippled old lady a wheelchair!” she hollered.

And as everyone else on the airplane got out of her way, a crew rushed a fold-up wheelchair onto the airplane where they retrieved a drunk Estelle and wheeled her back down the aisle like a modern day Cleopatra, a VIP ride to the baggage claim.  As she exited she gave me a wink as an ever-so-slight smile came on her face for just a millisecond.

Now back to the present and Saturday, where like any red-blooded American male I spent the day watching college football and drinking beer.  The beer of the day was my first ever tippling of PranQster, a surprisingly effective American version of a Belgian strong pale ale.  Nice, refreshing, and imminently drinkable, but perhaps not that complex.  However, a few of those bad boys are probably not the best final beers before heading out to an evening bar.

Then again, if the bar is a piece-of-shit Murray Hill hellhole like Bar Twelve, then you should hope you drink enough to forget your time there.  You should also probably consider a disguise lest someone sees you entering such a dump like some trench-coated perv entering an 8th Avenue peep show establishment.  The place was admittedly decent before the midnight hour with reasonably priced drinks, reasonably attractive young women, and not much reason to leave.  Then at the witching hour, the lights darkened, the TVs were turned off, the place changed its name to the Ski Bar lounge (seriously), the dress code apparently began to require Pac-Man Jones jerseys and do-rags, and impromptu dance offs began.  I thought nightclub dance-offs only happen in movies made by stuffy white Hollywood executives in an attempt to appeal to a quote-unquote urban demographic, but no shit, these things are fo’ real.  I actually saw two men wager on one such dance-off though I have no idea how odds are generated and pay-offs occur.

Trying to avoid the sweatiest dance circle I’ve been near since the last time I hora’ed, I moved to a corner with some women I’d met during the more normal portion of the evening and thought I’d made some inroads with.  As I began my end game ala Kasparov some meaty paws encircled my shoulders.

Three-quarters of the time when you get 86ed from a bar you have no idea why.  That’s expected.  You’re wasted while the bouncers aren’t (though they are debatably retarded).  You think you’re swaggering around the joint like Dean Martin, regaling women and turning men’s heads in awe, always ready with a quick bon mot or a blush-inducing line of seduction, and next thing you know some goon in a Rochester Big & Tall sales rack suit has lifted you by the scruff of your neck and thrown you into a newspaper box outside (hopefully a rubber The Onion one as opposed to a sharp metal USA Today one).

That’s exactly what happened to me.

And then, let’s just assume I walked across the street to a “safe zone” and began yelling obscenities at the bouncer, telling anybody that was considering entering Bar Twelve blatant lies about the place.  Lies such as the fact that the antisemitic bouncers called me a Hook-nosed Heeb or that they are only playing Afroman and Baja Men music inside.  The truth would be enough to turn off most normal people but the lies were funnier to me at the time.  And the homeless people on Second Avenue laughed at my beer-addled wit, but they were drunk on fortified wine and probably thought if they sycophantically chortled I might give them some money.  Little did they realize I needed that to flag a cab home to pass out.

Then the next day I woke up hungover and admittedly ashamed, but not ashamed enough to recount the whole evening right here, topped off with one final point I’d like to add, in an effort to optimize this entry to hopefully become Bar Twelve’s number one returned google search:









One Response to PranQster

  1. Ben says:

    great airplane story. can’t wait to pull that wheelchair trick when i’m old.

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