My daughter is a cocktail waitress at a cowboy bar. As I’m sure you can imagine, she has many stories to tell. So I suggested she start a blog. She said, “You do it.” So I might.
But let’s just start with this.
This cowboy bar is situated on the fringes of the San Fernando Valley. Recently, Erin’s baby brother started working there as a bouncer on Friday nights. Yep, he’s our 6’3” baby. And he’s making all the purrty girls swoon. I don’t think they have ever really had a bouncer there before. I think Erin usually winds up filling that role. Erin is no brawny girl. She’s a bright and shining light with a smile that can draw even the most jaded of characters out. But what she lacks in brawn, she makes up for in unwavering determination to keep things civil.
A few years ago, a very drunken patron decided he was going to start tossing bar stools. Erin backed him up against a wall and told him he was to leave immediately. He suggested that she try and make him, so she shoved him out the door and locked it, proceeding to call the police. All the while, everyone else stood in stunned silence. From beginning to end. This is not the type of situation where Erin waits to see if someone else is going to take care of the problem, she just steps up and starts doing it. Many a man would be happy to rush forward and take care of this ruff customer, but Erin just doesn’t give them time.
So Friday night, a fella who was so drunk he could hardly walk decided he was going to get on his bike and drive off. Erin followed him out to the parking lot, telling him he was NOT to drive. He said he was okay to drive and would be fine. She insisted that she was not about to allow him to drive off, advising him that she didn’t really give a shit if he killed himself, but he was bound to injure or kill someone else. He reeled and said to her, “Do you KNOW who I am??” She said, “I don’t care if you’re fucking Spongebob Squarepants! If you get on that bike, I’m going to knock you over!” He hollered back, “I don’t think so! I’m a Hells Angel!” proceeding to straddle his bike.
Now it so happened that there were two real Hell’s Angels in the bar crowd. So this happened to be a big mistake on the part of Mister Squarepants. These boys came forward, pulled Mister Squarepants off his bike and tossed him hard on the ground, letting him know that if he EVER claimed to be a Hell’s Angel again, he would be severely beaten.
After the dust settled, someone asked Erin’s brother why he didn’t get involved. He said, “I think she had it all under control.” And she did. But the boys were all there to back her up.
Years ago, I found myself in hostile bar situation. I was in the Philippines, Subic Bay. As always, the Marines and the sailors had marked their territories at separate bars in town. The Navy Seals had claimed a bar called, “The Rolling Stone.” (Big neon tongue was on the sign outside.) I was inside hanging out with the Seals. Everyone was happy, having a great time. Dancing and drinking. Suddenly, the mood changed. I saw these happy men’s faces change as they began to walk toward the door in a group. A young Marine had wandered in, not knowing he was hostile territory. But he found out soon enough. They surrounded him and started backing him up until he fell backwards onto the dance floor. The whole place was silently watching. I said to myself, “Fuck this.” I pushed through the mob of attackers and stood in front of the quaking Marine. I told the mob to back off and leave him alone, promising to escort him out. Now this could have turned out badly. They could have turned on me, too. But they backed off and I took the young man out, advising him to be careful about which bars are which before he enters.
I don’t know if I had any boys to back me up that night. I suppose you could say that the Seals did the gentlemanly thing by deciding to disburse instead of pressing on with their irascible plan. I left there amazed that a happy crowd could so easily turn ugly. And I didn’t like that.
Still, I’m glad that Erin isn’t afraid to rush headlong into danger, knowing she has the right heart motivation, fed with the right kind of anger.
And I feel secure knowing that there are always angels watching over her. In one form or another.
*This story is all true. Except for the Spongebob comment. We added that later. We think all stories should include a Spongebob reference. :)
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