Most nights in the doorman/bar business are passive and predictable. You stand at the door, take the money and check IDs. It’s not rocket science. You deal with the random transient and underage schemer, and take it all in stride. Occasionally you have to manhandle some douchebag who thinks he can push around his girlfriend, treat the bouncer like dogshit and get away with it. This type of human waste rarely learns. You see them on a bi-weekly basis, walking up with an unsure swagger, simultaneously trying to impress his girl while hoping you’ve forgotten the previous weekend where you had to twist his pathetic arm behind his back and force him down the stairs while making him sign his bartab.
Like I say, most nights are a cake-walk. Tonight was not one of them.
Perhaps it was the alignment of the stars, perhaps it was the students blowing off second-week steam, or perhaps it was the band that always draws a raucous crowd. Whatever the reason, I was in no mood to put up with anyone’s shit. I was in a surly mood, with a heart full of hate, and I was looking for some asshole to give me a reason. A reason for anything.
This is what the average amped-up bar-goer doesn’t count on: a doorman who isn’t in the mood to take the weekly spoonful of shit he’s oh-so-willingly eager to dish out, has had a bad day, and is only able to be pushed so far. And mister wearing-the-hat-backward-while-trying-to-show-off-for-his-idiot-friends-who-are-unwilling-to-back-him-up decided to push me one millimeter over my pre-determined edge. This is what I was waiting for.
Most people understand the thought process of a doorman. Most patrons are courteous and understanding. They are fully aware that I hold in my hands the entrance to their desired entertainment. I don’t say this arrogantly – my job is as bullshit as everyone else’s. It just so happens that I can admit or deny people with full discretion, and there’s damn little they can do about it. And here was a sad soul who was about to be utterly embarrassed in front of his pathetic friends.
This just happened to be the exact point I wanted to make, and I was a happy man.
I took the money and checked the IDs of all his friends, purposefully bypassing his extended arm and leaving him for last. The look on his face and his murmured comments were fuel to my fire. Finally I came to him. I looked at his ID, very, very carefully. I looked him in the eye as I handed him back his identification while saying, with the utmost sincerity, that unfortunately, I just couldn’t admit him because he was visibly intoxicated. His reaction was explosive, as expected.
I am not a spiteful person, but there are certain people who are in dire need of a hyperbolic slap-in-the-face. And this wanna-be was surely one of them.
He erupted, as expected. He said his friends had drank just as much as he had, and there was absolutely no reason he shouldn’t be admitted. But, the look of relief on his girlfriend’s face was all the reassuring I needed: she was tired of his shit for the night and wanted the rest of the night to herself. He was done.
I told him he wasn’t going in. He offered me $10, and I told him to save it for the DUII that was surely coming his way if he didn’t spend it on the cab I offered to call. He told me to fuck off. This was the topper I was certain was coming.
I grabbed him by his thumb and twisted clockwise, just to the point of dislocation. His eyes were watering and he was gasping for breath. His comrades were making their way inside, his girlfriend was surely already at the bar ordering her gin and tonic.
He acquiesced, wanting to keep his thumb in its proper place. He walked away while assuring swift retribution. I listened passively, with a content mind and peaceful soul, ready to enjoy the rest of my night at work.