We all hate that guy.

You know who I’m talking about: The guy who tries to make time with your girlfriend, knocks over your drink, argues with the bartender, heckles the band, picks a fight with the little guy and pukes everywhere except in the toilet. Show me a bar with more than twenty people and I’ll point out at least one. They lurk in the landscape of alcoholic adventure like unpaid bar tabs and that chick whose name you never can remember. He’s the cigarette butt in our beer, the $8 martini some schmuck snuck onto our bar tab.

Let’s all admit it right up front: We’d like to see that guy launched through the bar’s window like a human Scud missile. And let’s admit something else while we’re being completely honest: Sometimes that guy is us.

We always seem to have a good reason to be a bad person. Maybe the boss discovered our innocent cache of work vodka and replaced it with a pink slip. Maybe we have yet to get laid in this century. Maybe our girlfriend told us she not only wants to “see” other people, she wants to have sex with them too.

Whatever color the launching pad, we find ourselves in a black, rapidly-decaying orbit, and it’s high time we let Houston know we have a very big problem. “Drink sharpens the wit,” Lord Byron was fond of saying, and it doesn’t do such a bad job with anger either. And suddenly, there we are: In the bag and blacked out. The lizard brain is in full control and this lizard’s fangs are dripping with venom. This is when the Autocratic Pilot takes over, and he’s such a lousy pilot bouncers the world over feel it their sacred duty to teach the guy how to fly, if only for a few feet.


Captain Casanova
You’re the stud that all the hot chicks want. Forget about the guys they’re draped over. That’s just because it’s cold. None of them have even had the pleasure of tasting the bourbony sweetness of your tongue on their tonsils. Lazily drifting at a high altitude, you wait until the sap investing his paycheck in the drunk blonde shuffles off to the restroom.

Time to glide in. Time to execute the Jedi Mouth Trick. You attempt to hypnotize her with monotone speech and pendulous swaying. When she appears placidly captivated, you slide in like you’re reaching for your beer and wham! You deftly mash your lips in the vicinity of her’s.

Was that a slap? Naw, it was a loving, if somewhat spirit ed caress. Suddenly, you’re wrenched away from your one true love. Turns out the sap fitting the bill is actually her boyfriend. I mean her husband. I mean her insanely jealous husband. Disrespecting a woman in a bar, as you may have observed, invites all manner of chest-thumping male heroism and screeching female rabidness. In the next few seconds before the bouncer lumbers happily over to give you your free flying lesson, you bask in drinks and fists thrown in your face. You gamely try to catch some flying fluid in your mouth and swallow before a gut punch forces you to spit it out. You land in a snowdrift and decide to leave your head stuck in it for awhile. It may reduce the swelling.


The Lurching Lieutenant
All these jerks keep getting in your way, leaving you no room to groove. The flashing lights and the crowd noise have you disoriented and stumbling in circles. In your effort to clear at least a semblance of an impromptu dance floor you bump a few patrons, but so what, you must groove.

The first time you threw a shoulder into that dude and he dropped his Pilsner was laughed off as an honest mistake. (Staggering in one direction and looking in the other is an excellent way to blamelessly clear a groove space.) But now the anti-groovers are starting to curl their lips. Undaunted, you barrel through them, shouting “Dude, this is my song!” The chorus of cocktails hitting the deck merely accentuate your song’s beatific beat.

And now, since there are no more perilously jutting drinks to get in the way, it’s time for the Blackout Boogie. Here’s how it’s done: Every few beats careen wildly in a direction. It doesn’t matter which direction, because you will eventually crash into a table loaded with drinks. No need to apologize! If they could afford to buy those, they can surely afford to buy others.

You are more hammered and hip than they can even comprehend and are thus exempt from such petty affairs. Jim Morrison, after all, made a career out of such behavior and everyone loves Jim. Truly, if they were the least bit cool they’d be grooving with you, n’est pas?

Just remember to keep moving. A lurching stone gathers no punches. Recoil from the toppled table and terrible shrieks with all your strength, because you’re going to need plenty of momentum to sidewind in the opposite direction into another table of drinks. Now, the triple careen is an exceptionally difficult maneuver to pull off, so most likely you’re going to find yourself resting on the second table. Relax for a moment and revel in your deeds. But realize this: Your flight instructor is on his way.

Don’t even try to feign clumsiness. The most innocent people in the world sometimes topple a table. Only extremely uninnocent people can manage two.

While you’re waiting for flight clearance, see if you can find a half-spilled drink to enjoy, because, you know, a pilot should always fuel up before a flight.


The Antagonistic Aviator
What an awesome night! Everyone’s ordering shots and you’re right in the middle, knocking them back. Sure! Put ‘em all on the tab, we’ll just chip in at last call! Woo-hoo!

You blink, glance at the clock with its funny little hand pointing at the twelve and the two, slur “Hey, I think it’s last call,” then realize your talking to no one but the ink-heavy tab cringing in your hand.

What in the holy hell? One hundred and thirty bucks? This can’t be true. Fifteen shots of Jack, six shots of Tuaca, ten PBRs, seven Red Snappers and the ever suspect Purple Hooter. What of the glorious chip-in, what of the sacred brotherhood of boozers? No way they left without pitching in, they love you! You crook your eyes at the bartender. Oh-ho! Now you’re on to her scam. The old I’ll-Pocket-His-Booze-Brothers-Chip-In-And-Stick-Him-With-The-Tab Scam.

“Thoshots er arredy paid byall ose uder peeble” you slur. “Yer tyin rimme off!”

You vaguely recall earlier recycling a line from the film Barfly: “Start stepping, boy—my friends are thirsty!”

Well, no wonder she hates you. She’s a woman. Not a boy at all. Sexism issues at play. You brazenly say the line service-industry people the world over despise: “I wanna tawk todamanager.”

Unfortunately, the manager has had his eye on you all night, and was utterly unappreciative of your clever ruses of spilling beer down your shirt and showing off the flask you lost the cap to. You feel a breath on your neck. Why, it’s your flight instructor. Woefully unprepared for your lesson, you wail at the bartender, refusing to pay and threatening to—yes!—call the law! She laughs as she runs the credit card you naively handed her five hours ago, giggling as she adds a 20% gratuity.

In a desperate attempt to even the score you reach over the bar and snatch a consolatory bottle of Kentucky Gentleman and scamper for the door. The bouncer intercepts you with the bored yet professionally vicious manner of a Pro Bowl-bound linebacker whose team is already out of the playoffs.
Five seconds to takeoff. As he wraps you into a pretzel, you scream the other line service industry people the world over despise: “Doncha no hoo I yam?”

Sadly, they know exactly who you are. You’re that guy.


The High Flying Heckler
The band sucks. So what if there’s a roomful of people all ga-ga to see them. They suck too, that’s why they like the band. And the flock of beautiful girls buying them shots and flashing their tits at them? Whores. You could probably rock ten times harder, if you ever bothered to pick up a guitar. They suck, it’s a fact, and that’s why you’re sucking down a beer right in front of the stage. It’s the perfect place to glare at the lead singer, trying very hard to shake his confidence.
Oh, what a tough job he has. Screeching at a microphone in between downing shots the tit-flashing harlots lay at his feet like so much manna from Heaven.

In between songs you shout the line musicians the world over despise: “Play Free Bird!” The bass player sneers and you flip him the bird. You flip him the slow bird.

A Bud Light bottle (even their beer is sucky!) shatters against the back of your head. You whirl toward the crowd to discover the crowd is laughing. Not at the sucky way the lead singer throws his hair around like a goddamn stripper, they’re laughing at you. You turn to the band, and it’s hard to focus, but it appears they’re laughing at you too. You’re trapped between extreme suckiness and those who worship extreme suckiness.

In a dignified attempt to save face you yell the other line musicians the world over despise (especially if it’s true):

“You suck!”

Suddenly it’s as if the whole sucking world is throwing —naturally—sucker punchers at you. After softening you up, they drag you en masse to the door. Even the harlots are pitching in, just to show the sucky band how much they enjoy their suckiness, and your sole consolation is their heaving breasts crowd your face in their eagerness to punish your nasty behavior.

As you lift off from the tarmac, you catch the idling bouncer smiling as rank amateurs give you your lesson. Lazy fucker.


The Fighting Flyer
Never under estimate a little guy with a chip on his shoulder. He’s most likely been kicked around all his life and seeing how the chip is still on his shoulder, he’s most likely learned how to hold his own with the big boys.

Of course, the lizard brain doesn’t absorb such subtleties. The only thing a lizard understands is, if it’s smaller than me, then I can eat it.

You stand there baffled at how this midget walks with a babe on his arm and a swagger in his step. I mean, you’re way bigger than him. What’s he gonna do if you hit on his girl? Bruise your kneecaps? You wait until he disappears to go check on his Shetland Pony or whatever the hell he rode in on and make your smooth move.

“S’baby, whaddaya doin’ wif shrimpy?” is your ingenious icebreaker. She touches up your leer with a hard slap then looks down and you follow her gaze and there he is.

“Oh, whassamater lil’ dude? Yer pony sick?” You place your hand on his forehead, thinking Napoleon is going to look awful silly windmilling his arms while you yawn safely out of reach. You saw it in a cartoon once.

The thing about the 19th Century Napoleon was, he always had a bunch of capable men at his disposal. And this distant relative is no different. It’s not enough he’s ducked your forehead lean and is working out on your spleen, his not-so-short buddies move in to mop up. The bouncer joins in (Napoleon’s his buddy too) and as you catapult out the front door, you scream the one thing ass-kickers the world over have come to despise: “Jusway til I gogemyfriensss…wer gonna kill y’moderfuggers!”

Of course, he’s probably their buddy too.


The Puking Pilot
Everyone knows that the more you eat, the more you can drink. A full belly slows the absorbtion of alcohol. What they didn’t tell you is alcohol slows digestion of food.

So you walk in the bar with a full belly, a nice fluffy bed for all those schnapps and tequila shots can cuddle together on. Let them play! Let them frolic! Let them bounce on the bedsprings! A shot of ouzo? Sure! More the merrier! Look at them bounce, ever higher and higher—and suddenly you realize the restroom is much farther than the distance between your stomach and your mouth.


A drunk’s first instinct, of course, is to deny everything. With stomach bile dripping from your lips you’ll manage a “Heymanitwuzzuntme. I’mjestryintohep kleenitup.”

The only good thing about being coated with a thick layer of vomit is no one wants to touch you. Your flight instructor will become circumspect about his tutelage. Instead of launching, he will merely let you taxi toward the runway while almost daintily dancing around the rivers and lakes you leave in your wake. But you can expect a farewell kick in the ass on the way out.

So what’s the lesson here? Simple.

Don’t be that guy.

—Luke Schmaltz