Monday, January 23, 2006


I'm 29 now, and therefore old, apparently. If I were a figure skater--and this likely wouldn't have worked, seeing as figure skaters probably need to know their right from their left-- I would be in reitrement about fifteen years by now. Friendboy Andy went through this, I believe, when he passed the maximum age requirement for applying to The Real World. All I know is, when my parents visited me earlier this month we popped into a crappy T-shirt shop on the beach (you know the ones, the kind that have 94320 clones within a 1.2 mile radius, all selling the same ceramic alligator) I caught my father staring inquisitively at a blank tank top with white lettering.

"What," he said, "is a 'Hollaback Girl?'"

The fact that I could not provide a definitive answer made me angry, and frustrated, and also hungry, so we left. Pushing-30 people should be past this sort of thing--wearing it, understanding it, and drinking it.

But! There's always... The Howl.

Now the original Howl At the Moon Saloon was what passed for my social life while I was living at home and completing my MFA. It's a wincible thing to be living with your parents past car-rental age, and even wincier to still tag after your accountant older sister in order to find nightlife, but there I was about five years ago. Julie the NephewMama's bachelorette party was held at The Howl, and let us just say that at one point an Indiana Jones-style whip became involved, and also some suspiciously shaped gummy candies, and our mother got to see a grand total of a photo and a half when the film was developed.

Another Howl had opened in Orlando by the time I moved, and that was fun, until Lou Pearlman decided--and if you don't know who Lou is, please just understand that he is responsible for *NSYNC, and that should tell you all you need to know about how much he hates humanity and you in particular--that what Orlando needed, more than anything else, was more him. So he bought up and shut down Church Street Station, the Howl included. For the past three years, the citizens of The City Beautiful have been offered in this space, as an alternative to fun, large piles of shale and a crane. I do not miss Orlando.

But The Howl just reopened in a tourist-intensive part of town, by which I mean "any part of town," so Flipper and Oogie and I went to post-celebrate my birthday, which I frankly thought couldn't get any better following this conversation:

JULIE THE NEPHEWMAMA: Tell Aunt Beth happy birthday.

It was a better-formulated greeting than the one I got from the guy leaning against the wall, who was watching us lean against the wall, which I suppose is what the kids do these days while attempting to attract a mate. "Do you live here?" said Wall Boy, and at first I was like, "You mean, in the bar?" which would suck, because I would be absolutely destitute by the first bathroom break of the day.

The cover, to begin with, was ten dollars. As in ten. Dollars. And cover time is always a scary time, as last year the three of us plus G-Force went to a bar, and bouncer said the following:

TO FLIPPER: Can I see your ID?
TO ME: Can I see your ID?
TO OOGIE: Oh. You can go ahead.
TO G-FORCE: Can I see your ID?

I've since lost count of the number of things wrong with that entire transaction, and if we were going to be insulted, we didn't want to lose two day's worth of groceries in the process.

But all three of us were duly carded, and then I ran into Michelle The Former Co-Worker from the Evil Boring Day Job. Beyond the fact that reflecting on this particular portion of my life makes me want to ram a pair of desk scissors directly into the back of my neck, I hadn't had anything to drink yet. I wish I could hate Michelle, as she is very pretty, but I can't, because she is also very nice, which makes me wish I could hate her even more, which made me want to drink.

And when I did? $6.75. Please tell me when the formula for a fuzzy navel became "8/10 ice, 2/10 orange juice, briefly dip the cap of the Schnapp's into the Dixie cup," because I seem to have missed the staff meeting.

Once we got to a table, we sat, and Wall Boy was sad and went away. This was the waitress' cue to want to know what we were drinking, and when we said "Um, until the Extraneous OrgansMobile shows up with a wad of cash, nothing," she said, "Not to be rude, but--"

Let's just pause the tape here for a moment. Does anything good ever follow these words? These, or "Maybe I shouldn't say this" or "I don't mean to be critical" or "This is just my opinion." Inhospitality really requires no introduction.

Well. It seemed that if we wanted to sit at her table-- these were her exact words, her table, as if the rest of the cheerleading squad always sat here for lunch--then we had to order drinks. But! They didn't have to be alcoholic drinks! Which was good, because the fuzzy navel certainly didn't qualify as one.

We could order water. Wasn't that nice? For three dollars. A bottle. For three dollars a bottle, each individual hydrogen and oxygen molecule had better be hand-fused by Algerian monks trained to the task from birth.

Flipper and I danced on the stage and left. We picked a fine time to leave them, Lucille.

you... at


Dan the Reader said...

Just think how much more valuable that water bottle would be if you froze it and then bludegoned that curmudgeon.

Now there's a rhyme you'll not hear on the local rap stations...


P.S. Jim is obviously a child prodigy. Your birthday is poop. :)

Dan the Reader said...

Ok, who hid my spell checker?


*cough cough* who can think with all this chalkboard dust....

kelebek }{ said...

Eh, you are not missing much by not knowing what a "Hollaback" girl is. But if you are dying to know,
Watch out, you'll be singing B-A-N-A-N-A-S for the rest of the day.
Can I quote your last sentence on my facebook? It's the funniest thing I heard all day!

Anonymous said...

To Dan The Reader: Spelling is overrated. To MB: Great post girl.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and by the way, that Gwen Stefani song has got to be one of the worst pieces of music I have ever isn't isn't even that good of a cheer...what a sad state we are in when that rubbish makes money and receives award nominiations...

Recklace said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks, kids. Everybody is so niiiice!

kelebek, quote away-- appearing on somebody's facebook page is the modern equivalent of winding up on the front door of the fridge :)

Can't spell either said...

MB, Great post! Um, I would have to say that waitress would have been disemboweled after making that statement. That's just me.

Dan, Love the poem...even if you can’t spell.

I ain’t no Hollaback gurrrrrrl!

Russell the Reader said...

If you're ever unfortunate enough to find yourself traveling through Iowa, let me know. I bartend and at our establishment the formula for a fuzzy navel is 9/10 Schnapps, 1/10 ice (optional), then we show the completed drink a picture of an orange. And it'll only cost you $2 ($1 on a Thursday night).

$6.75 for a drink that doesn't involve 10 imported liquors, a blender, a bolt of glittered fabric, and a serenade under the moon on a gondola? Not in our town baby!

mary quite contrary said...

Russell the Reader? Goodness, what bar do you tend? Tell me it's Crapids!

MB? This might be one of my favorites to date. I love this concept of The Howl. We have something similar, but with only half the piano players, half the cover charge, and thus half the ambiance. But it works for a large chunk of the population on a Saturday night -- but this is Iowa; unless you like coming out of the corn in Dyersville, we're not very touristy.

mary quite contrary said...

uh, just be sure to be an "in" before "Crapids" in my last post, because I can't think that a bar with that name would go over well, not even here. ;-)

Dan the Reader said...

Crapids. I like that. I hereby declare "crapids" to mean "a fast, loose stool".

As in: "How are you?" "Not so good, I got the crapids after eating that coney dog".

... and "pistory" to describe a fabled urination experience in the past.

How proud MB must be that we're getting back to English.... :)

Anonymous said...

Yep. It's all about the crapidity here.

Russell the Reader said...

Fortunately Mary, it's in Iowa City - just a hop, skip, and a drive down I-380 from the City of Five Smells. Stop by the Ped Mall - if you can find me, I'll give ya a free drink. ;-)

Thanks to Dan the Reader for giving me something else to laugh at every time someone says CRapids.

mary quite contrary said...

Thanks Dan. I'll never be able to refer to "Crapids" with a straight face again.

And Russel? I'll be getting my drink on in Iowa Shitty (gotta stick with the theme, y'know) this weekend. Which bar? (Read: there are FIFTY.) I need a free drink anyway; I've had to put up with a friend prepping for the LSATS. ;-)

health drink said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fruitavida said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Previous Tastings