Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.
My friend Mike, who doesn’t drink much, recently moved into an apartment next to a really awesome bar. I’m not sure if he knows why all his friends suddenly want to come over every night, but we’re hovering around his new home like fruit flies. When he moved in, he had no fewer than six of us trying to shove his oversized refrigerator up two flights of stairs for him. I’d love to say it was for friendship, but it was really an excuse to go drinking afterward.
While we value him as a friend – and he is an excellent friend – what we value more is a place to crash when alcohol makes us vomit. If he had asked us to move a 200-pound fridge to the suburbs, we would have told him to go screw himself. But move it next to a bar that has a dozen authentic German beers on tap? The only gathering this year that had more attendees was Obama’s inauguration.
It doesn’t help that Mike’s apartment is awesome. It has a gigantic balcony, from which all of us can get loaded and throw empty cans and other smelly garbage at people on the street. Add to that a couch that folds out into a bed and the presence of an Xbox 360, and you have planted sweet, sweet nectar that will attract drunks from hundreds of miles away.
Unfortunately, he has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. He hasn’t just rented an apartment. He’s created an entire zombie-like community and social scene around his new living space, headed by pathetic losers like me who will annoy him every night until he files a restraining order against us. I plan to spend no fewer than three nights per week parking near his apartment, drinking until I can’t see, and then shouting curse words and racial epitaphs at his balcony until he lets me come inside.
What’s worse is he’s living in the apartment with his girlfriend, whom he’s never lived with before. She seems to be more aware of the trouble that awaits, but I don’t think even she knows the extent of their future problems. Is she aware that she now lives in a hippie neighborhood, and as such, I may show up at 3am wearing nothing but a blanket and demanding random items like saline solution or a helmet full of table salt? Well, she’ll find out the hard way before the week is over.
Let’s be honest, folks. I don’t have a job. What else am I going to do? While you may think we unemployed people are budgeting our money, you’d be horribly, horribly mistaken. We know the economy isn’t getting better for at least a year and a half, so we’ve all given up on life. Our debt is already insurmountable, so we have no qualms about taking our $10,000-limit Visa card to the bar every night. I don’t have cable TV, my internet is now the slowest/cheapest speed possible, and I’ve downgraded my Netflix account to one movie at a time. I have nothing else to do except wander around Mike’s neighborhood selling pirated DVDs that I burned with my computer, and using the proceeds to drink myself into a coma.
You want Tyler Perry’s “The Family That Preys”? Two dollars! I copied it from Netflix!
There’s even another bar across the street from Mike’s apartment that’s just labeled as “Bar” on the sign. To an experienced drinker (alcoholic), this is like finding a treasure map where the “X” is right in front of you. If the owner’s too lazy to give his bar a name, then he’s certainly not going to have the ambition to charge $4 for a Budweiser. Jackpot!
There’s an American flag hanging from the bar’s sign, which could mean it’s a VFW or other old geezer bar, but I don’t care. I might have cared back when I had dignity, but our economy is at a point where I’ll resort to drinking with boring old men who won’t shut up about Korea.
Poor Mike. He thinks he rented a nice, quiet apartment with hardwood floors and a large living room. What he really rented was a squatter pad where us unwelcome halfwits will soon outnumber him. Even if he doesn’t let us in, we’ll find a way. I’m unemployed and have spent the past month playing Fallout 3 for 12 hours each day. That video game is pretty much an instruction manual for how to pick a lock with a bobby pin.
Combine my endless boredom with the fact that Drew Carey has made “The Price is Right” unwatchable, and that “I Love Lucy” is the only decent show on network TV before 8pm, and Mike will be seeing more of me than even my own mother could stand.
Consider this fair warning for the rest of you. If you purchase a cool apartment near a bar, I will find you. I will move near you, I will befriend you against your will, and then I will destroy every pleasing aspect of your life. Whether your karma is good, bad, or neutral, I will haunt you until you move out. I literally have nothing better to do.