I was seriously bummed out at how poorly the previous night's event had gone in Manayunk, that I began to wonder if the next 26 days were going to be similar. Then, when I entered Drinker's Tavern, a place that looked like a total dive--and was dead empty at 8 PM on a Friday night--I was near suicidal. So, I had no choice but to do what I always do when the going gets tough. I get loaded.
And there was no real other choice as to what to get loaded on but Miller High Life forties.
Luckily, I'd mis-estimated Drinker's and it wasn't a dive bar, but rather a faux-dive bar, a distinction I actually discuss in "How to Fail":
There are many people that think they go to dive bars. They laugh at the surly bartender who gives them a foggy pitcher of macro swill, are amusingly grossed out by the unisex bathroom with a standing water floor and graffitied walls, tickled by the jukebox full of David Allen Coe and George Thorogood ditties. But successes don’t go to dive bars, they go to faux-dives. Bars intentionally shitty just so bored successes can pretend to slum it for an evening. Calling these dive bars is like an eleven-year-old claiming he went to a truly haunted house last October 30th when his parents drove him to that warehouse off the highway and paid $35 apiece for some drama club failures to spook the youngster.
Real dive bars are on Twelfth Avenue, nestled between storage facilities, motorcycle repair shops, secret brothels, and hot dog cart supply companies. Not Zagat-rated French restaurants and free trade coffee shops. They have names like Ollie’s and McCullough’s and Joe’s. If they have names at all. Most are anonymous, just a blacked-out sign, a neon High Life in the tinted window, a door with a few nine millimeter holes in it. Aside from those holes, you can’t see into these bars from the street so it’s a major gamble every time you enter. Inside you'll find a bartender with a Rollie Fingers handlebar mustache. There'll be the guy playing pool with a “Mad Hungarian” Al Hrabosky mop of hair, a guy stuffing his Mitch Williams curly mulleted face with free pretzels, and a guy shooting Canadian Club and then slurping the excess whiskey from his Goose Gossage fu manchu. At real dive bars the male population always bases their personal style on that of a former Major League relief pitcher, like the guy near the door with the Kent Tekulve aviator shades who is considering killing you for looking at him funny. You don't look at anyone funny in a real dive.
Yes! No real dive bar would serve High Life forties--a totally ironic beer choice--nor would they be situated in the tony Old City Philadelphia part of town. And, even though I was shitfaced by the time people started streaming in near midnight, I was glad to encounter an upscale, college educated, cool, hip, fun crowd. The absolute sweet spot for lovers of the book. And, since they were hardly spending any money to keep themselves hardly sober, books flew off the table.
An awesome event.
FAIL OF THE DAY:
Me thinking it wise to drink Miller High Life forties all night!
SUCCESS OF THE DAY:
Drunk-selling books like a mad man!*
DRINK OF THE NIGHT:
*I'd love to see how sloppy my autograph looked by the end of the night if any one could send in some funny pics.