Kid Walks Into A Bar
Kid walks into my bar. Has three other men with him. One is clearly the father, and I'm guessing the other two are his brothers. They just seem like family; they look like family.
Kid orders a Grolsch, the other three ask for Coronas, which we don't have, so they settle, after a little prodding, on Peronis. I give them three limes, just for kicks.
After serving the limed Peronis, I have to ask Kid for his ID. He just looks young.
"Bro, you little, sweet, baby-face," his brothers kid him. I tell them that he is indeed baby-faced, and the rest of his party laughs. He confidently whips out a state ID, and backs it with a military ID, overwhelming my simple "year-of-birth-resembles-you" test.
As an aside: Rest easy, kids. I'm not so great at math. I regularly refer to a calculator, subtracting 2005 from 21 to know what year I'm looking for. I'll probably fuck that up again next year, because I'll be under-staffed and too busy to worry about tricking and catching you, so let that be a lesson of opportunity for all of you. I can't be the only one. If you possess an ID with a close-enough birthdate, and a photo that resembles you, and just a little bit of swagger, you'll be slurping the tastiest drinks any 19-year-old could hope to, because you'll have a kick-ass bartender who can't add, let alone afford a doorman. Luckiest generation much?
"Are you currently serving?" I ask, sounding like a dumb-ass, as I'm pulling a cold Grolsch from the cooler. He smiles at me.
"Back from Iraq four days ago," the oldest of his brothers answers.
I serve the beer, apologize, affirm that he's baby-faced, and tell him that the beer is on the house.
"What? Thank you... you shouldn't," he says. His father slaps him on the back, and his older brothers lay back a little.
"Thank you. And you don't pay for beer while you're here," I reply. "Thank you."
I had a feeling, from watching, that a family reunion was taking place before my eyes, and I felt lucky to be a part of it. His father was positively beaming with pride, sipping his Peroni. He proudly sported a Navy tattoo. I wonder if he received the same response, when he returned home from duty. I hope he did.
Buy a beer for a veteran, any and all veterans, this holiday season. It goes a long way, and it's seriously the least we could do.