I recently heard someone say, “I’m a bartender, I do important things.”
I think I heard it while watching Jersey Shore.
Although my brain was further massaged with more skanktimonious phrases as the episode progressed, this one in particular raised an important question:
Is being a bartender important?
I’ve seen Coyote Ugly countless times and I know it can be stressful. At any given point a fight can break out and you may be forced to sing on command. But is that an important job? Like the way playing basketball is an important job?
Let’s outline the facts:
Being a bartender, you have to (1) serve drinks; (2) decipher slurred orders over really bad music; (3) keep tabs on the tabs; (4) keep tabs on the tips and (5) look increasingly hotter as the night progresses.
In many ways, it sounds like one of my typical work days in my former life as a PR professional. And I know what I did was really important.
For instance, on a typical day I had to (1) fill countless balloons with helium, (2) giveaway stuffed animals and (3) hire a clown. (All of the activities were done for adult events, by the way. And by adult I don’t mean naughty, I just mean middle-aged, docker-wearing adults.)
Don’t think that’s important?
I remember in the middle of an event one morning, I ran out of helium. I ran out of helium. Not oxygen. Helium. But there I was with a paper bag over my mouth, hyperventilating and turning green. If a scan of my brain activity and a reading of my vital signs would have been taken at that moment, I’m sure it would illustrate just how important my job was at the time.
I felt like I had been kicked in the chest by an imaginary cow.
Somehow, I don’t think that a bartender feels the same way when he/she runs out of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. They would just offer the next worst thing and not even think twice about it.
So, I think I’ve found the main difference.
A job is only important if you can successfully create stressful, do-or-die situations out of things that are more like yeah-and-whatever.
And a good bartender can’t do that.
They just pour the drinks for the people who had the worst day of their lives for the fourth day in a row and listen to the stories about helium and how they used to be cheerleaders — and break it to them gently when they’ve run out of beer.