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Faux Outrage

Literally the most important blog in the universe since 2010.

Below is a list of basic skills that you should never be required to intoxicatedly utilize as you begin the process of stumbling home from your local watering hole:

1. Communication Skills
2. Math Skills
3. Motor Skills
4. Nunchuck Skills

Unfortunately, life is cruel and those are exactly the skills required to (1) obtain your tab, (2) calculate tip and total, (3) sign your name (after spending at least a split second with a furrowed brow wondering why a person is entitled to a percentage of your bill for spending most of the evening ignoring your pleas of “Please!” and only a small portion of the evening refilling a small container with liquid from a larger container) and, (4) escape unscathed from the alcohol dispensary.

But first thing is first: you must communicate to the bartender your unbending desire to receive your tab.  You must perform whatever colorful peacock dance necessary to obtain your bill, if only so that you can have the opportunity to sheepishly glance at the beer- and soon tear-soaked line that reads TOTAL and frown halfheartedly as you slowly begin to accept the notion that you have just won the world’s first reverse lottery.

So, how do you get the bartender’s attention in an overcrowded bar that sports more decibels than people?  There are a few techniques, each of which you have seen in action at one point or another.  You may have even used a few of them yourself, but I wonder whether you know for sure which is your go-to move.

Your options are: The Double-Check, The Blackboard, The Self-Henna, The Hitchhiker, and The Do You Know Who I Am!?

The Double-Check:  This is my favorite technique, if only because it mixes American Sign Language, American English, and a delicious non-verbal pun.

To complete The Double-Check, simply make eye contact with the bartender and draw a large check-mark in the air.  Make sure that as you do this, you are holding an invisible pencil.  (If you are at a classy bar, to prevent any (presumably further) embarrassment, remember to keep your pinkie out while Double-Checking!)  It may help you to imagine that you are a mime filling out an unnecessarily large absentee ballot which has been attached to a balloon that is gradually getting away.  This will signal to the barkeep that you are interested in the “check.”  (Get it?!) Your mission has been accomplished.

Side note: please for a moment consider how lucky we are that the “check” is a simple symbol that also happens to share the name of a document we require in unnaturally loud circumstances.  The Double-Check method would never be useful if our nightly tally of drinks were tabulated on an item known colloquially as the “treble clef.”

For our international travelers, please note that in Britain this method of bloke-to-bartender communication known as “Dancing Check-to-Cheque.”

The Blackboard: The Blackboard is a lot like the Double-Check without the check-“check” pun.

To utilize this style of communique: once you have obtained the requisite eyeball-contact, use your dominant hand to invisibly “sign” your name in the air at eye-level for your bartender.  While an effective strategy, this upright writing style will probably feel a little strange to you unless you unless you have experience writing on a perpendicular surface.

Of course, the reason this is called The Blackboard is because it helps to imagine that you are in front of a classroom instructing the next generation of doctors how to scribble illegible nonsense in cursive.

Blackboarders should note that the Double-Check “invisible pencil” and “pinkie” rules apply here, too!  Please also be advised that in Britain this method is called The Cheeky Wobbley because, well, those crazy Brits!

The Self-Henna: This method is perhaps the most dignified, but requires a clear hand-to-bartender sight-line.  The patron most excited by the Self-Henna communication style is not interested in the notion of invisibly signing the air, like The Blackboard.  Nor are they satisfied with idea of making an invisible check-mark in space, where it cannot be invisibly tabulated.


These folks need a real surface, a tangible medium on which to scrawl their precious invisible writing. And what better surface to utilize than their trusty ole hand?  Simply make a flat surface with your non-writing hand and then use your dominant hand to fake-sign your makeshift invisible check.

Note: It is not clear to me whether the Self-Henna-er believes that there is an invisible check on their hand (which is only a surface for the signing), or if the hand itself is the thing being invisibly signed.

Note 2: In parts of the world/country where the concept of henna is a non-starter, this technique is known as The Note-Taker.

The Hitchhiker: The Hitchhiker, lost in a temporary state of narcissism, believes that he and the bartender are able to communicate telepathically.  Instead of signaling for the check using any of the perfectly sensible methods above, he chooses a completely unhelpful hand-signal.  He sticks his thumb out toward the exit (yes, like a hitchhiker) to indicate — in his mind at least — “I would like to leave and in order for me to do so, I require my credit card statement.  Would you kindly fetch that for me good sir or madam?”

However, since the thumb-out-to-exit is not a specific enough beacon, the chance of this technique working successfully depend entirely on The Hitchiker’s grasp of the movie Inception (and only if Inception is secretly a documentary).

I do not recommend The Hitchhiker.

The Do You Know Who I Am!?: This is the least useful, most annoying method of communicating in a loud bar.  This person has probably had one too many appletinis (appletinii?) and cannot fathom any other form of expression except “the yelling kind.”  They are socially useless, as the 80 proof cloud sloshing around their frontal lobe has downshifted their brain into “Reptilian” mode.  Over and over, the DYKWIA!? will repeat, with increasing volume, his/her last name in hopes that the bartender will recognize that they are trying to tab out and move on with their life.

This will not work.

This will not work especially if your last name is “Ginnintonic.”

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