Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bouncer Awaits the End of the World in -- Where Else? -- an Irish Pub

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 2:04 PM

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From this week's Bouncer column:

This is the point where I mention that I am in a bar, and that the bar is also reminding me of the decline of Rome. The bar this week is O'Neill's Irish Pub, on Third Street, right around the corner from the entrance to AT&T park. It is a bar indeed in decline, which is a hell of a lot better than a bar catering to gamegoers that is crisp, new, and would please your parents after the game. I was surprised at just how funky the joint was, with beat-up seating, dark corners, and a smell that can only be described as irksome.

I bought a drink and sat at a banquette/booth contraption in the corner by a window. When I sat down, one end of it tipped up with a noticeable thwack, so I located my duff in the center of it, so as not to disturb the laws of physics. A Janis Joplin song was playing extremely loud, and a woman at the bar was adding to the noise by singing along very brashly. She had that sort of singing voice used in Pepsi commercials: emotively Debby Booneish, with raspy punctuations for emphasis. Almost immediately, I began to dread the "Kentucky coal mine" line that was coming up. Please, God, do not let me hear this woman sing that line. Please. Please.

"From a Kin-tucky co'mine, to the shores of San Antone ... " Oh Lordy, she did indeed lean into the "Kin" in Kentucky, just as I had feared. But I did give her props for substituting some pretty good lyrics for the words that she didn't know. Rarely have the beaches of San Antonio, Texas, been celebrated in song.

Imagine my delight when another Joplin song came on, the only other one that ever gets played: "Piece of My Heart." "Didn't I make you feel ... like youuuuuuuuuuuuuu were my only man ...." The singer in attendance pointed her finger in the air for this part, and continued with her best makeshift lyrics while nervous men around her wondered if she was going to pick them for a direct serenade.

Listen to me, getting caught up in what is actually happening in the bar, instead of going off on some philosophical tangent. We were talking about Chopra, and how he persuaded me that the world is ending. To clarify, he would say that the world will never end, it's just that our time here will come to an end. He made this statement after a woman in flowing cotton, sitting in the lotus position on the floor in the audience, asked him what we can do to ensure that our planet will be treated with the respect it deserves and won't be taken advantage of. Chopra said that total destruction of life on Earth would not be a good thing, but that it would be a blip on the screen of eternity, and we are arrogant to think that all existence depends on human beings. From there my mind drifted to those TV specials that outline what the Earth will look like once the humans have gone, with skeletal buildings and empires of insects. I pictured how AT&T Park could be reused by the new life-forms. An entire bug city could exist on each tier, with earthworm metropolises in the center. Vines and mosses would fill the walkways and hallways. Willie Mays would be covered in greenery, like a topiary.

... continue reading this week's Bouncer column. 


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Katy St. Clair

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