Updated: May 1, 2006

Maybe it’s genetics. Maybe it’s being into my seventeenth year behind the pine. In either case, my “bar ears” extend well beyond the well. Sure, I’ve heard the wisecracks. Who do you think came up with the name “Cut Off?” Duh. In fact, it was originally called “Cut Me Off” but Rick decided to change it to “Cut Off.” For anybody who writes for a living, you know that writing is the easy part. It’s the editing, the proofing, the rewriting, and the polishing that takes all the time. So while for you the thought of writing a 500 word article might seem like a gruesome chore, to me it’s a cakewalk. Hell, 5000 words trips off my tongue and flies from my fingertips in a couple hours, tops. But you want to break my balls. Ok. I lived in Hell’s Kitchen, I can handle it.

I remember what it was like to have my “flair hard-on” and I loved reading anything and everything I could get my sweaty little mitts on that mentioned the world flair. I remember how pumped I got anytime I got an e-mail with the word “flair” in the subject line. So from one sponge to another, I figured Cut Off was a great place to overpour.

My willingness to share all the knowledge and experiences I’ve racked up is probably half the reason people seem to call on me all these years later for advice, opinion and sometimes just to settle a bet. Speaking of which, a stemmed cherry is one where the stem has been removed. Fact. (Aloha, Cache.) So crazy me… I figured that type of reader would really appreciate more than your typical surface-skimming cliche-riddled synopsis that includes phrases like “raising the bar” and “bar none.” And I am the first to admit that in order to collect a couple “gems of wisdom” you’ve got to sift through a fair amount of rubble. You take the good with the bad.

I’ve done my share of columns in the past where I had a word limit and had my writing edited down to the safest, cleanest, most generic sounding rubbish printable. In fact, that was my only condition to Rick and Rob when they so graciously asked me if I wanted a corner of their world: no editing for language, length, or content… only accuracy and whatever “business” constraints they had to deal with. So I get to say fuck as much as I like and can write sentence fragment after sentence fragment without fear of reprisal. For the past year and a bit I’ve been just unleashing it all and they’ve kept true to their word.

Now, most of the feedback I get makes me think this column doesn’t suck. And that’s really my goal: not sucking. Isn’t that really what a lot of life comes down to: doing what you can to make sure your work doesn’t suck. Sure, we all strive for greatness at times, but the real motivator for a lot of people, if you’re honest with yourself, is to avoid sucking really badly. I figure if more people tell me this column doesn’t suck than do, I’m doing pretty good. Ok, I really don’t care, lol; but I do have a baseline for myself and that baseline is: not totally sucking.

So in a constant effort to “not suck” I’ve tried to “keep it real” and let you inside my head, scary of a place as that is. This isn’t Sex In The City or Dave Berry. (I’m not as witty or funny although I do throw the word ferret into some of my writing. Thanks for that tip, Dave.) I’m not trying to be perfect, polished, politically correct nor am I trying to win a Pulitzer. I’m just spitting the raw, real truth about bartending as I see it. Maybe some of it helps you, some of it makes you laugh, some of it pisses you off, and the rest is crap. Who knows? But as long as I keep getting e-mails and phone calls that basically say “right on, brother-man!” I’ll keep dishing it out. Let me tell you too, doing so is no picnic. You try pumping out a column every four weeks, unpaid. Shit, most bartenders I know won’t return a self-addressed stamped envelope without a push. Add to the fact I’ve got nearly 20 years of experience and observation to try and sift through as I write, and that makes putting my ideas down on paper not as easy as you might imagine. Plus I’m crazy. (Like a fox.)

And yet still I get the comments about how long the column is. You want shorter, ok. Here you go:

Instead of raising the bar on the quality of content in my column this month, I’m going to write what is bar none, the shortest bit of quality advice I can pass along:

1. The weeds always start with just one drink. Be ready to rock that first drink.
2. Always remember never to use the words “always” or “never” when giving advice.
3. Nobody “wins” an argument.
4. Let other people tell the punch lines.
5. When you want to say “Fuck Off” to somebody, try “Far Out” instead.
6. Fact: 72.9% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
7. Masters focus on remaining students, while students focus on becoming masters.
8. Try talking to their eyes, instead of their breasts.
9. End every story you tell to a group of guys with the phrase “…and then I fucked her.”
Unless you’re talking about a family reunion.
10. You can say absolutely anything with a smile. (Like #9)
11. Nobody ever listened their way out of a job.
12. When in doubt, make it red.

image1 See you next month.

Peace out.

p.s. this picture has absolutely nothing to do with this month’s column. But seriously… is she going to ash that damn cigarette or what? Nice manicure, though.










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