Remember when you looked up and realized you were the old person in the bar?
In the summer of 1998, age 24, there were a group of us who were on top of the world, referring to that time period as the "Summer of Us" in honor of George Costanza. You've acquired important adult social skills, you look good, you're having fun, you're still young enough to know what's cool and what's not. It's the perfect bar age. It's the perfect guy age.
And then, five or six years later, you suddenly look up in a bar, your hair is doing 420 in the power alleys, your face is puffy now, the girls are all slutty, and the guys are all wearing wife-beaters, sunglasses at night, and fedoras. Fedoras with wife-beaters?
Somewhere around 2004, a group of us in our late 20s/early 30s ended up at the new Westside Cincinnati bar, Champions, with a crowd much younger than us. The bartender was a vapid blonde, about 24, with a dynamite rack and a sense of entitlement just as large. After being subjected to the likes of Nickelback, Creed, and god knows what else all night, I put a dollar in the jukebox for two songs (inflation's a bitch). One of the songs -- Earth, Wind & Fire's September (a perfect, up-beat bar song) -- was played for about 30 seconds before the bartender hit the "skip" switch behind the bar and moved on to some crap song by Pink, or Kid Rock, or Hinder or whoever was in the middle of their 15 minutes of fame at the time.
My response? I went right to the bartender and asked why she skipped my song.
Her response? She rolled her eyes, yanked a dollar out of the register and wordlessly threw it at me . . . just absolutely disgusted.
My response to her response? I threw the dollar back at her and said, "I don't care about the damn dollar. It's your poor taste in music and above-it-all attitude at hand here! Do you realize you just skipped Earth, Wind & Fire's September? And for Nickelback?!" And wait, since when did bartenders have a switch behind the bar to skip to the next song on the jukebox? That's entirely too much power to be in the hands of a 24-year-old bimbo with no life experience, a bad attitude, and a severe lack of taste.
So our geezer group left the bar pissed off, went to the old-reliable Golden Fleece Lounge with the rest of the Westside over-30 crowd, stayed until about 4:00 in the morning, and had a much better time. The moral of the story? 1] Don't mess with Earth, Wind & Fire and 2] Once you turn 30, finding the perfect bar atmosphere becomes a much higher priority than keeping up with the latest in coolness with the early twentysomething crowd.
Top 15 "September" songs:
*Click 'Artist' for Wikipedia page, 'Song Title' for youtube video, and 'Album Title' for wikipedia album info.
1. Earth, Wind & Fire -- September, The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, 1978
2. The Happenings -- See You in September, 1966
3. Big Star -- September Gurls, Radio City, 1974
4. Green Day -- Wake Me Up When September Ends, American Idiot, 2005
5. Neil Diamond -- September Morn, 1979
6. Natalie Imbruglia -- Come September, White Lilies Island, 2001
7. James Taylor -- September Grass, October Road, 2002
7. Dinah Washington -- September in the Rain, 1961
9. Sarah Vaughan -- September Song, 1954?
10. Fiona Apple -- Pale September, Tidal, 1996
11. Roseanne & Johnny Cash -- September When It Comes, Rules of Travel, 2003
12. Deborah Cox -- September, One Wish, 1998
13. Marianas Trench -- September, Fix Me, 2006
14. Plain White T's -- A Lonely September, Stop, 2002
15. Single File -- September Skyline, No More Sadface, 2007