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Happy Hour
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Other Features - Behind the Bar

a picture of Richard "Dickie" Heil
As told by Richard "Dickie" Heil

After twenty years of marriage, Bob’s wife accepted the fact that he would stop now and then after work at the neighborhood bar for some drinks with his pals during happy hour. As long as he was home by six for dinner, that was. If not, there would be hell to pay.

One day, no different than any other day, Bob made his way down the bar to his seat. See, there is an unspoken custom that every happy hour customer has his or her own stool. No one dares to sit in someone else’s seat. That is one way to be shunned from the group. The bar has twenty stools, and Bob’s was 18th from the door.

Another custom is that happy hour customers drink the same thing every day and usually have a set amount before the journey home to their wives. As Bob bellied up to the bar, the bartender already had his brandy and coke waiting for him.

For those not “in the know,” here’s rule number one: do not take a customer’s straws off the bar. They use these as a way of telling time. They count the straws, which tells them how many drinks they have had and how long they have been there.

This day, like every day, the happy hour bunch broke the three rules of bar conversation. They argued over who was better: Favre or Rodgers. They argued about religion and politics. With deer hunting around the corner, they also argued whether or not you could hit a low-flying plane with a deer rifle, if there was little to no wind, of course.

The bartender asked if he would like one more. Bob simply extended his arm and put up his hand as to say stop, as his other hand motioned yeah, give me one for the road. Losing track of time, Bob and his friends argued and laughed like they did everyday until he realized that the bartender accidentally cleaned his straws from the top of the bar.

As Bob finished the last of his drink, and without having his straws to gage from, his internal drinking clock told him that it was time to go and he was hitting the point where if he stayed for one more drink he would be at the point of no return, and possibly a night on the couch for being late for dinner.

So Bob stood up to leave.

BAM! Down on the bar floor he went. Bob pulled himself up to the bar, he looked at the guys and said, “I think I’ve been here too long,” and again went to leave.

BAM! He goes down for the second time.

This time, he just laid on his back staring at the ceiling fans spinning above. Now, this isn’t his first rodeo, and he thinks to himself, if he can just get some fresh air everything will be alright.

Again, he pulls himself up to the bar rail. This time as he goes to leave, using the bar rail for support, he makes his way down the bar hand-over-hand. The bar becomes his crutch.

Out the bar door he goes and, BAM!

“Ahhhhhhhhh S#*T,” he says to himself as he falls to the concrete below.

He looks up into to the sunset and he announces to nobody out loud, “we can do this,” and pulls himself up the outside wall off the bar.

Bob leans against the wall for some time until he is ready for one last attempt to make it home before the dinner his wife slaved over in the kitchen for him gets cold. Bob thinks to himself, “Worst case scenario, I only live about a block away, and if need be I can crawl home. We can do this,” he announces to the world. He takes a deep breath of fresh clean air, takes one step and yep, you guessed it—down Bob goes for the last time.

He does not lie outside the bar long before he says to himself, “Here we go again.” With that, Bob is heading home crawling on all fours.

Bob crawls down the sidewalk and takes a left on his street. He can see his house, for it is only halfway down the block. As he crawls, he thinks to himself, “Maybe she will not notice that I am running a little late.”

Bob makes it up his street and crawls up the front walk to his front door. As he begins to make it up the three concrete steps to his porch, the front door flies open.

There she is waiting for him, with her elbows out and her fists on her hips.

With a deep, stern voice of disapproval, she looks down at him. “BEEN DRINKING TONIGHT?“ she barks.

He looks up at her with confusion. “No, honey.”

“SURE YOU WERE NOT DRINKING TONIGHT?” she asks a second time.

With puppy dog eyes he replies, “No, honey, I promise. What would ever give you that idea?”

“Well,“ she said, “Bartender called. You left your wheelchair there again.”