I’m beginning to think it may be safer for me to drink at home. There have been a few occurrences lately beyond the normal ‘I’ve had a few too many ad think I’m driving home on a NASCAR track.’ No, it’s more serious then that.
There was a new bartender. That was the start of the problem—and that is a problem. A bartender you know by name, and more importantly, who knows you by name—or at least face—is one of the most cherished of drinking mores. Our regular bartender had to go and better himself, accepting a full time position elsewhere with a respectable multi-part title, health insurance, and a salary one can actually live off. Pretty selfish, if you ask me. What about our bar tab? You’re doing great, but what about us?
This new bartender looked as though he should be set up at a card table on his parents’ front lawn with his Snoopy Sno-Cone machine, not serving drunk passive aggressive shuffleboard playing nerds debating who has out-flanneled whom.
Maybe this was my mistake. I’ve often been told I have poor communication skills. Of course, the other side to that is people simply don’t listen to me when I speak. It goes both ways.
But in a situation such as this, drunk to bartender back and forth communication is rather necessary for the survival of both entities; the drunk must drink and the bartender must be tipped, and to be tipped he must provide the drunk with drinks. The proper drinks. That should be specified.
So I go up to the bar. That’s a pretty good start, I thought. Standard guy hello follows, we nod at each other, and I lean over the bar a bit to say, ‘Can I get a gin & tonic?’ He nods during my brief pause before, ‘and a shot of Jameson.’ I turn back to the shuffleboard game, believing all to be well in hand, and allow the young mixologist to prepare my libations.
When I turned around there was a glass. One. Not two. It was bubbly, it had a little red straw, a lime, and a certain golden hue. In case you’re unfamiliar, a gin & tonic should not have a golden hue.
‘I’ve never heard of putting those two together,’ he said as he slid my drink(s) toward me.
‘Me neither,’ I said.
Now, some may have refused the drink, explained the mixologist’s mix-up and moved on from there. First of all, I’m much too much of a little bitch for that. Second, I had a shuffleboard game to get back to. There was no time for this. I drank the drink. Also, it would be a waste of two perfectly good shots of two perfectly good types of alcohol. I feel like that would get marked down in the bad karma column of one’s scorecard.
I don’t need that.
To be honest, the drink wasn’t that bad. I’ve tasted worse. Also, I’m very good at justifying my inability to stand up for myself. I’m not saying the Jameo & Gin went well together, but they didn’t go poorly. One liquor didn’t overpower the other. They worked together; each offered a subdued sampling of their own unique flavors in this monstrosity of a cocktail.
That being said, I made sure to order only a gin & tonic the next time I went up. And held off on the shots.
I may have forgotten this incident completely were it not for another similar experience recently. A few friends and I had been at this charming little kraut bar for a couple hours, shooting the shit and chatting up the barkeep who looked astonishingly like Commander Riker, right down to putting his foot up on surfaces far too high for mere beardless mortals to put foot upon.
We were getting ready to call it a night; just one more round, one more smoke and a piss on someone’s car, and it was home to my couch. A successful night it would seem—until!
I close out my tab in the only polite way I know, which is to say, I order another pint and a shot of Fireball whiskey.
Riker pours my beer, he pours my shot, turns to—I assume—run my tab, and I throw the shot back.
Now, it is at this moment that time slowed down for me, and in the span of raising the shot from the bar to my lips, pouring it back and returning the glass to the bar, several things happened. They happened so quickly that while these realizations existed, it was more or less simultaneous. Look, the ball was tragically already in motion. Nothing I could do. It went something like this:
1. This Fireball looks lighter then usual.
2. This Fireball does not smell like Fireball.
3. This Fireball, that has just hit the back of
my throat, does not taste like Fireball.
4. Commander Riker just put a salt shaker and
second shot glass with lemon wedge on the bar.
5. I just did a shot of tequila.
In what language, in what world, does ‘fireball’ sound anything—anything!—like ‘tequila?’
I’d been in that bar just a couple weeks before and Riker had poured the group of us a round of Fireball. He even told us stories about how they used to mix up shots back in the 80s before there was Fireball whiskey, that tasted just like Fireball whiskey. He remembered us, my friends and I, from the group. More importantly I asked for a shot of Fireball. I had everything in my favor. Especially the part where I ordered Fireball. Instead, I swallowed the worm.
Basically, what I’ve learned here is that I shouldn’t go out anymore. I’m clearly incapable of operating any longer as a part of the drunk/bartender symbiotic thing that until recently has treated me so well. I have failed at drinking.
Look, I had a good run, but if I can’t even order a shot properly, then what good am I? I’m not sure what the point is, and frankly, I’m more then a bit worried about what I might end up with next—what, tomato juice and sambuca? yesterday’s coffee with a little umbrella?
How can it get much worse? No, it’s just not working anymore. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my room with a glass of water.
Here’s my resolution for this year: to tell more people to fuck off.
Let’s see if I can do it, if I can actually stand up for myself once in a while. That’s almost synonymous with being decisive so the odds are against me.
And there’s so much pressure on these holidays, on Christmas and New Year’s—these stupid days. That’s all they are, if you’re not aware. They’re days. New Year’s Eve? It’s a fucking day.
They’re days like any other except for this self-destructive need to pack as much importance and meaning into them as possible and then cram some more just in case. Its a turducken of festivus grief and aggravation, keep cramming until it explodes, then rub it in crap and serve it all up. Christmas has to be the one day you prove your love for people by spending most of it in the car to bring presents you’re not excited to give because they’re not big enough or expensive enough or perfect enough to prove you’re the greatest person in whoever’s life.
New Year’s is the day you prove you’re better then the life you’ve been living up until December 31st, whether you’re trying to escape the mounting disappointments of your life to that point or maybe just the last year.
Somehow it’s become some magical epicenter of your friggin daydreams and fantasies. Now it isn’t just a celebration, it’s not another day off or three day weekend, or a reason to go out and get drunk or have a party. Now it’s become this symbol for reinventing yourself.
A new year, a new you—right?
Why is it always a new year, a new you? Why not a new month, a new you; a new week, a new day? Why keep putting it off? Your diet always starts next week, I always look to next month to submit my writing to magazines, we always set date after date to do what we want and then set a new one when weeks later we realize they’ve passed without notice.
Why wait for a milestone? Why wait for some significant day or date, for society to say, “This is when you should do it.”
So huddle together in that illusion of change and progress. Don’t worry, it’ll be safer that way because when you fail you can say we all failed and have your justification for not taking a chance on improving your life.
We can ignore the opportunities for change, the everyday opportunity to live the way that’s best for you. We can do it together and hide behind each other, discounting our failures because someone else has undoubtedly failed greater.
So why change now? New Year’s is just around the corner—we’ll do it then.
You’ll change everything then. January 1st; that’s when you’re going to stop smoking and start a diet and stand up for yourself and save money and learn origami and start using that cookbook your mother bought and go to the gym three times a week and read more and drink less and by George! you’re going to get that promotion because darnit, you deserve it and this is that year. This is your year. Now everything’s going to change. This year will be different.
And for about thirty seconds on New Year’s Eve you actually believe it, don’t you, you stupid bastard?
But New Year’s Day is the same as it always is and you never quiet recover from it, do you?
That’s all that New Year’s Day is now, a recovery.
You put so much pressure on yourself, not just about what the New Year would bring and how you could be a brand new you but what you’re going to do on New Year’s Eve. You have to celebrate right, after all. If you can’t ring in the New Year properly, then you can’t possibly start off the New Year right and then your whole year will be shit. So you have to spend at least two weeks obsessing over what you’ll be doing on New Year’s Eve—but not just you! You have to involve as many people as possible, get the biggest group together that you can to prove to the world you are popular and loved and important to everyone you’ve ever met. They have to be involved in the planning of this New Year’s shindig as well, everyone has to be involved, everyone a voice, or else it would simply be too easily decided.
This has to be complicated! Are you going to stay in, are you going out? Are you going to have a big dinner or a small dinner, and then meet up with these people or those people, or maybe these people will want to get together with those people too.
This has to involve dozens of emails and texts, even phone calls—yes! it is that serious, you will actually call people and speak with them directly—and at least one couple must be either ostracized from the group or become so fed up that they storm off and refuse to play anymore. Of course, the group will decide with their collective brain, that the couple in question sucked anyways and the New Year will be better off without them.
There has to be a lot of planning as without planning there would be no stress. Wing it? Are you crazy? You can’t wing it. Besides, without stress you would never get to the party or bar or restaurant and immediately pound four drinks—just to take the edge off of course.
And that will probably be the last thing you remember.
New Year’s Day is going to start how it always starts, and if you really believe in this new year, new you crap then this same old same old New Year’s Day is going to fuck you hard over a chair, mostly likely while your face to face with a pile of your own sick.
You’re going to drink too much. You’re going to hurt like hell for most of the day, and you’re not going to remember shit from ninety percent of your night. At least until you start seeing some of the pictures of you and that homeless guy you tried to make friends with, so you could maybe start his new year off right as well; and don’t forget about your dozen or so other best-friends-for-thirty-seconds, you remember them all don’t you? Oh, give it time, it’ll start coming back to you.
Don’t you remember your champagne- and girlie shot-induced word vomit of your entire life complete with all your regrets and mistakes and promises to fix and repair and move on and better yourself, and to—you know what!—to make this year your year!
The best part is how it comes back to you. You’re going to see it both ways, like a No Fear Shakespeare book. You’ll remember how it sounded the night before, and my god it was fucking poetry spilling from your lips, so beautiful, so sophisticated, humbled, hopeful; side-by-side with how you really sounded, which was gibberish punctuated with your champagne spilling down your face because you’d forgotten how to swallow.
Oddly enough, that sounds like most nights you go out and get drunk, doesn’t it? That’s strange since New Year’s is so special. How could it be the same as all these other parties or nights at the bar? Weird.
That makes it all the more depressing the next day. You realize that nothing has changed; there was no magical metamorphosis into the new you when the clock struck midnight. With all the build up and pressure for that night to mean something you fall harder and that hangover hurts more.
Now that hangover represents your inability to change your life because if you can’t do it when that ball drops, well, clearly you can’t do it at all. With all you had to drink you’d think one of those shots was that magic potion to transform you into whoever you see yourself as or destined to be.
So each year let’s put more pressure on the idea that New Year’s will fix everything if only we could surround ourselves will more people, if only we could make more resolutions and promise more of ourselves, if only there was that kiss at midnight to seal the deal and start the transformation. One of these times it’s bound to work, right?
Maybe next year…
So Happy New Year, and go fuck yourself.
We all knew this was going to happen.
In an age where everyone is obsessed with being green and pretending to give a shit about recycling and saving the environment, a Captain Planet movie was inevitable.
This day was coming and yet, on some level deep down where I wasn’t drunk, I was still shocked.
So on one hand you have a superhero that materializes when five friends join powers to fight pollution and junk. There’s environmentalism and teamwork, look at that. That’s a great concept.
On the other hand you have a guy in knee high boots and what is essentially a bikini, with a green mullet.
Is this movie really necessary? We already have An Inconvenient Truth, it won a couple Oscars so obviously some people watched it.
I think we got the message—we need to save the environment. There are at least four electric cars out now, clearly we learned our lesson about the whole saving MotherEarth thing.
Do we need another movie kicking it down our throats?
It’s tough taking a TV show and turning it into a theatrical film. For one, most animated shows from the eighties and nineties that film producers are mining like they’re at freakin Sutter’s Mill don’t always translate so well. You’re taking dozens of episodes and condensing it down to two hours of coherent thought, something most cartoons are entirely incapable of.
Making a Batman movie at least has the advantage that he has his core villains, the real heavy hitters; Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, maybe the Riddler. He had decades of comic book material to work off of before an animated show popped up. When it comes to your average cartoon series, you don’t have that to fall back on. You just have balls-ass-crazy plots and villains that have been slapped together using a Mad-Libs formula and a six-foot bong.
Where are the big-screen adaptations of Jin Jin and the Panda Patrol? Dog City? That’s one I want to see, but with that dark, gritty Batman Begins kind of feel. How about Double Dragon? That game was awesome they could totally make a badass movie out of—oh… right, never mind that one.
Listen to this, he “was released from his egg by a group of interracial California teens… The kids taught Denver the finer points of skateboarding and other pastimes while protecting him from concert promoter Morton Fizzback who wanted to use the dinosaur to make money.”
What is not to love about that? That description has everything; skateboarding, dinosaurs, evil concert promoters! And in the sequel, Denver can fight Godzilla! Boom! Franchise crossover! This shit practically writes itself.
I guess when you consider how much absolute crap was kicking around in the form of animated kids’ shows twenty years ago, there could be worse things to pick than Captain Planet. The powers-that-be for this film have already said they’re very excited and “expect to make a spectacular series of films.”
This is both terrifying and a relief. Terrifying for the obvious reason that series implies we’re going to have hippies in man-kinis flying around telling me what an asshole I am for not composting that orange peel for a handful of films. And it’s a relief for the exact same reason.
Like I was saying before, cartoon series don’t always translate well to the time or plot constraints of a film format. So the idea that they’re planning on making multiple films is definitely good news.
This means they can use multiple bad guys and most likely, bring them all together with Dr. Blight stealing the Planteers’ rings and creating Captain Pollution with the help of the other major villains of the show.
OK, that might sound a little like the Superman/Nuclear Man thing from Superman IV, but for a movie I think you
have to do Captain Pollution.
The problem with this movie isn’t going to be the ridiculous plot or mulletted-mankini’d hero. They keep pumping out Transformers movies, so there’s a market for big-budget cartoon reboots. One of the producers of the new Transformers: Dark of the Moon is actually the driving force behind Captain Planet, so that’s another plus since Transformers is going to make gajillions no matter how terrible it is.
And who doesn’t love mullets? If anything, the presence of a mullet is only going to expand the film’s demographic.
The problem is that this is a movie about the power teamwork in saving the planet by recycling and using renewable energy sources, about not decimating thousands of acres of forest to build a mall and how it’s not cool to dump millions of gallons of industrial waste product into the ocean. Blahblahblah, the environment is super sweet and stuff, we got it. But do you know what all really that means?
This production has to be the greenest fucking movie in history. You can’t have it any other way.
Let’s go back to Superman IV: the Quest for Peace, ok? When you cut through it all, Superman represents the United States and Nuclear Man is the Soviet Union. Look at him, he could be Drago’s long lost twin.
And the whole fight between them—yes, a horribly scripted metaphor for the political climate of the late 1980s. They fight on the moon! Around an uprooted American flag!
When you think about it, that can boil down to environmental metaphor as well. Superman draws his strength from the sun, Nuclear Man is atomic powered. And who wins? Renewable Energy Superman, that’s who.
Captain Planet isn’t a metaphor; this is literally a movie about a guy who saves the world one freaking recycled soda bottle at a time. This production has to be completely sustainable.
This film set should stand as a beacon for hippies and Al Gore, a shining example, a city on a hill for all to model themselves after. This shall not be a mere superhero movie, no, this shall not be a simple re-imagining of a precious early nineties cartoon resource! No—this film shall stand for all as a functional example of how society should operate! We should be inconveniencing ourselves in every facet of our lives insisting on recycled, recyclable, organic, hormone-free, oil-independent, hippie-endorsed products for the sake of future generations!
Oh god, what am I even saying? Have you ever seen a movie made out of tofu?
This is going to be awful.