It’s nearly Christmas, a time that strikes fear into the heart of every decent bar-worker, especially now that we live in the time of plague, the time of Christmas jumpers, a time when every half-housetrained knob-end thinks he has a licence to behave like an utter prick just because he’s wearing a stupid sweater or a Rudolf onesie.
This is the time of year when complete wankers come out to drink, and to destroy the enjoyment of everyone else. A time when grasping bar-owners fail to think of their regular loyal customers and permit these knob-ends to run riot.
This is a time when small-scale bullies inflict their rules on even more pathetic workmates in a pathetic, drunken attempt to climb the pecking order. You have to hold hands. You have to wear a mask. You can’t order the round in words.
A time, in short, when nothing would give me greater pleasure than to run riot in a bar with a Magnum 45, but sadly in Ireland it’s illegal to cover fools with ice-cream and chocolate so that’s the end of that.
Not order the round in words? There’s nothing a bar worker likes better on a busy night than a drunken gobshite in antlers miming an order. Pointing at drinks.
I was chatting with bar staff recently in my pub of choice. What about the Christmas jumpers?
Aaaarghh! they all recoiled involuntarily.
I feel their pain. As a customer, I have the same reaction.
Last year, ventured one of the bar staff, we had a bit of an incident.
Yeah. A crowd came in like that, all Christmas jumpers, and one of them came up to the bar, pointing at taps and shelves. Mmmm. Mmmm.
Well, one of the lads said, Fuck off I’m sick of this shit. Just fuck off to some other pub and let me alone.
Fair play to him, I said.
No. Unfortunately, they came back with a text message on a phone. It was a crowd of deaf lads on their Christmas night out.
Oh dear, I say. Still though, surely the deaf lads deserve to be kicked out for turning up in Christmas jumpers?
True, agree the bar staff. Fuck ’em.
I had a worse experience, interjects the quiet one. A guy came up to the bar and he was so drunk he couldn’t even focus his eyes on me. You’ve had enough, I tell him. Why? he says. You can hardly see, I tell him. That’s right, he says. I’m almost completely blind.
Oh dear Jesus. The life of a bartender is not an easy one.