Monday, November 9, 2009

On Meeting New People

So last night I spent the hours leading up to and just following my birthday at our group's little bar.

For once I am going to skip much of the mood-building.

An older man came in around 11:15 p.m. and asked us to change the channel. We were pissed at having to switch to the football game from a new episode of Family Guy but none of us said anything because a) we are men who drink beer and eat meat and watch sports and HUAH! and b) this man sauntered in flashing a medium-sized wad of cash and professing, "First day on the job! Spread the wealth! Buy votes!" He then proceeded to buy shots of SoCo for half of us. (I abstained as I was feeling a bit ill and was waiting for the burger in my stomach to settle, a decision I only partially regret now.)

Almost idly I left the conversation I was in and wandered past this man's.

He, Eli, was lecturing my dear friends, the bar's only other patrons, on the pitfalls of the new health care reform bill.

Never one to let a good argument or a good dumb jerk go to waste I jumped in, defending the bill as a necessary alteration to a dying system.

Long story short, we went back-and-forth for over and hour enjoying each a worthy and intelligent, well-informed foe arguing theory versus practical expectation and social contract governance through taxation. Thomas Paine and Ben Franklin were mentioned. Not by me.

This was the smartest 50 year-old Italian pawn shop owner from Peekskill I've ever met, and to be frank the only reason I know he wasn't hitting on me is because he bought further rounds for all of us because he assumed we were all dumb kids and was pleasantly surprised.

He did invite me to see Zappa Plays Zappa in December, though.

Dude loves Zappa. Had a ZPZ sweatshirt. Played ZPZ over the bar jukebox. Lectured us on the merits of Both Frank and Dweezle. (Apparently Moon Unit wasn't worth mentioning, though he seemed overjoyed when I volunteered her in the conversation.)

Eli ended up staying until almost 4 in the morning and left a tip weighing it over $17. The advice he left us with was "Keep it simple. Keep everything simple."

Very zen dude. Bat shit crazy, but very interesting. When his wife called he said he was getting hammered at the bar, arguing with some "punk-ass liberal college kids." Her response then seemed to be something akin to "they slaughtering you?" He claimed to hold his own.

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