Sunday, August 24, 2008

The ZFS! Guide To Becoming An Awesome Old Man

It's a fact of life that someday we will all be old. It sucks, because... well obviously. No one WANTS to be a withered sack of wrinkles with trembly hands and food on their chin. No one WANTS to be a burden to their children, unless, of course, you have shitty kids and you think being burden would be a nice "fuck you" for the way they've behaved all their lives. Basically, no one WANTS to get old. Getting old is a bitch, as my grandfather used to say, and then he died. Which only proves his point.

So, what can you do about it? Well, there's three things. You can just take it like a pass-around prison girlfriend; let old age bend you over a rough cot and fuck you until you're wandering around your grandson's house at Christmas time wearing a bathrobe muttering about the "old days" when women couldn't vote and dammit, that was just fine with everybody! Nobody likes old guys like this... for one thing, they usual smell like poo. Not a recommend way to go, but if you're the lazy sort and feel like mild dementia and Depends would be a welcome vacation at the end of your life, then by all means. Or, if you're a fucking pussy who never got laid as a young man, you can be one of those old guys who personally funds the hair plug and fake tan industry... funneling all your hard earned cash into flashy cars and silk shirts and gold chains that hide in your gray thatch of chest hair like a sad egg in a sorrow nest and, of course, Kilimanjaros of high-quality cocaine. Because, and I mean this, that's the ONLY way you're going to get a girl under thirty to touch your horrifying penis. But whatever, you're still YOUNG!!! You're still WITH IT!!! You're vibrant and alive and looking like a complete asshole and your family thinks you're a joke and then you're dead, just like the rest of us, but in your case everyone will be glad because they won't ever again have to hear about your Maserati's horsepower or have to explain to their children why Grandpa's new girlfriend is named "Cinnamon."

So yeah, you could do either of those things. Or, you could just be awesome.

"But HOW, C-dog? How do we achieve our maximum Awesome Old Man potential, of which you've spoken about so eloquently in previous posts?"

No worries, my little lambs... today, ol' C-dog is going to tell you all about it. Now, granted, I am not technically an old man as of yet. As much as I bitch and moan about it, being 28 apparently doesn't count as "elderly," no matter how loudly you scream at the Denny's waitress for not giving you your DESERVED senior's discount. Jerks. But whatever... I have studied Awesome Old Men, I know them inside and out. (not like THAT, you pervs). I know what makes them tick. I know what makes them awesome. And, most importantly, I know exactly how they got that way. So, without further adieu, here's the path one must take to become...AN AWESOME OLD MAN:

Drinking - Doye. It's a simple fact of nature... all Awesome Old Men (AOM) drink. Heavily. Their livers look like those big, poofy sponges hippies buy at Whole Foods. Liquor is the fuel that powers the AOM engine and, baby, that engine needs a fuckload of fuel. But here's the deal... do you like mixed drinks? Mojitos or pina coladas or choc-twirl martinis with a Hershey's Kiss at the bottom? Well fucking get over it. To an AOM, any drink with more than two ingredients is for ballerinas or college professors scared of headaches. If you want to be an AOM, pick one (1) type of booze and only drink that. Whiskey? Fine. Vodka? Sure. Gin? A little high-faluten', but okay. Rum? Eh... you SURE you ain't plannin' on mixing that with pureed strawberries and a dash of coconut milk, Mary? Cutting your liquor of choice with a little seltzer or cola or juice (for the vitamins, if you've got a doctor's appointment coming up) is okay, and of course... if you've had a rough go of it the night before and have been barfing all morning... there's always beer. But no fancy microbrews. It's either cheap and regional, or it's a special occasion Guinness. Your baseline drink, however, should be your liquor of choice, straight. That's it. You're not drinking for the TASTE, right? You're drinking to forget. That's the hard nugget of truth inside every AOM. Accept it, or move aside and let the others take your stool at the bar.

Bars - Speaking of, let's discuss bars and their relationship to the AOM. You should know your local bar or honkytonk or pub or dive better than you know you're own apartment. In fact, if you're vigilant about becoming an AOM, you should find a place that's actually ABOVE an alcohol-serving establishment. That way the stagger home is never something to worry about and you can really focus on getting your liver into shape for your Golden Years. Now, what about type? Your bar of choice should be old, dark, smelly, and a little sad. The predominant color? Brown. The jukebox, if there even is one, should be stocked ONLY with Country & Western music released prior to 1970. Women shouldn't want to come inside. Get used to these kind of places now, though; if you start going to them when you're already old, you're just going to make yourself depressed. You want to hang yourself like that old dude in Shawshank? No.

Oh, and this goes without saying, but I want to be thorough... Clubs? Discos? Any place that looks like it's from the future? You're done with those. These are the kinds of places that breed our Type 2 old men... the gross ones with the hair plugs and the fake tans. Yeah, yeah... you're not old YET, so what's it going to hurt, going to Club Faux or whatever shitty nightclub the cast of Sex and the City farted next last year so it's "in?" You're right... once or twice isn't going to hurt anyone (I guess). But don't make a fucking habit of it, particularly once you turn 35. After that particular birthday landmark, it should only be the seediest places from then on out.

Dancing - That's right... dancing. I know what I just said about nightclubs, and that still holds up, but if you're going to be an AOM, you have to know how to dance. Why? Because that's how you nail cocktail waitresses, or at least it's how you seal the deal. We're talking slow dances here, for when the end of the night rolls around and your old drunken butt suddenly takes on a romantic, barfly light in the eyes of a sad and lonely drink-slinger. Bukowski made his living exploiting this particular phenomenon and so can you. But you've got to be able to cut a rug under the neon beer signs to some long-forgotten jukebox tune. Learn now, so it all looks like old hat when the time comes. Also... be prepared to dance a loose-limbed jig at street fairs and weddings, and if you're black, throw down some old-school breakdancing moves. Hallmarks of the AOM.

Know Stuff - This one's easy: Pick one thing, anything at all, and learn everything there is to know about it. Cars, maybe, or WWII or baseball or 50's doo-wop groups or democratic politics. It doesn't really matter, long as you can talk about it at length until someone buys you a sandwich to shut you up. Personally, I'm going to be walking encyclopedia of horror films by the time I'm old. So pick something else... that's my territory. Also, it would really help your AOM cred if you can take apart machines and put them back together so they work better than when they came off the assembly line. This isn't a requirement, of course (some of us just aren't good with our hands), but repairing old washing machines and souping up window-box air conditioners to produce meat locker temperatures will go a long way towards catapulting you into the AOM Hall of Fame (it's carved in the men's room stall of a bar in North Philly).

Be Hilarious - The most important rule of the AOM, and what will separate you from the average, cranky old fart and/or boring coot with stinky breath. Knowing how to tell a joke, how to spin a fantastic yarn, and how to crack wise like kids playing the dozens will make people want to hang around you, make young people look up to you with reverence, and, most importantly, will make anyone and everyone want to buy you a drink. Which fuels the engine which makes you funnier which gets you more free drinks and so on and so on. That's called the Circle of AOM Life and believe me, you want to be a part of it. Sadly, you kinda sorta have to be born funny, but if you think you're ALMOST there and just need a little work on your timing or whatever, maybe take an improv class or study some old Bill Murray movies. You liver is depending on you.

So there you have it... the road to Awesome Old Man-dom, laid out just for you. Follow these directives and one day you, too, can sit hunched over at a dank bar, sipping some well whiskey from a cracked rocks glass as you tell a hilarious story to the waitress about ol' Boxcar Billy Paine, the finest left-handed knuckleballer ever to grace a pitcher's mound. And when she takes your arm and leads you out on the floor for a slow turn to some mournful Hank Williams, you'll know that truly... TRULY... you are an Awesome Old Man. And if you want to thank me for all this free advice, do so with liquor. As that's the AOM way!


Blogger Lioux said...

Okay, Clinton. I think I have most of these points down...But what about the grooming habits and fashion choices of AOM?

I mean, what if I wanted to train to be an AOM...or just look like one?

10:13 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Nothing—and I mean NOTHING—beats and old man bar. I did not want to wait until I was elderly to savor this joy and have already co-opted them into my current lifestyle. Sit there, drink, shut up and listen. You’ll learn something.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Lioux said...

Oh. And...A few years ago I dated an Awesome Old GAY Man. I think he was 38 or something.

AOGM fake tanned all the time!!! To the point he was [and I'm NOT kidding] a deep shade of purple. Ewww.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Lioux said...

AWESOME AOM Bar I used to drink at ALL the time.

Holiday Cocktail Lounge
75 Saint Marks Place

Here is a review I came across online:

"If your idea of a good night out is throwing on a $2500 D&G dress, a pair of $800 Christian Louboutin pumps and then standing at the bar just to look "bored" for 3 hours...this is not the place for you.

The Holiday Cocktail Lounge is a true gem. It's old NYC. Dirty, creepy, exotic, bizarre, sick and, most importantly, fun. (Sadly, all qualities that are quickly fading from Manhattan.) Some of the best moments from my 20s were had here. It'll always hold a very dear place in my heart.

And god bless that old bartender. He might nod off while taking your order and it might take him 10 minutes to finally get your drinks, but the man is 500-years-old. Give him a break."

10:36 AM  
Anonymous JustinS said...

I don't learn well through the written word alone. I think a series of videos or, at least, full-color pamphlets are in order. Last thing I need is to end up being the AOM-wannabe who used to belly up to the bar down the street every night wearing a rubber chicken hat. It wasn't nearly as awesome as it sounds.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhere up above, Chucky Buke is smiling down on you, man.

If you ever make it to Rain Town, check out the Steamliner on Mercer, or Lock and Keel, the classic grouchy-second-generation-Norwegian-longshoreman bar. Lots of guys who hit 10s on several, if not all of your requirements here.

Telltale sign you're in an Old Man Bar is the staff; if they're all above 40, you're in the right place, if they're under 30, then be prepared to pay $12 for a martini. Or, like I usually do, head back out.


11:33 AM  
Blogger ML said...

so first, i'm going to be a jerk, and say this:

"Accept it, or move aside and let the other's take your stool at the bar." ...dude, you're a writer, correct? shouldn't you know when NOT to use apostrophes? :)

so while this is a fantastic post, i think there needs to be a "how to become an awesome old woman" post, too. you can't have AOM w/o AOW. i don't know how well versed you are in old woman (hopefully not very well) but it's worth noting that both hats and being catty are definitely important.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Lioux... I was going to address that, but the post was already getting too long and unweildy (like my dong). Basically, the clothes you wear should be comfortable, in muted colors, and if you've got a straw fedora or a pork-pie hat... wear the shit out of it. As for grooming habits, to words: Old Spice.

The UB... I know, right? Love those joints. It's where I learned everything I need to know about life.

Lioux 2... GROSS.

Lioux 3... I also recommend Jimmy's Corner up on 44th. It's a dive bar AND it's boxing themed. Whenever I go there, I'm always the youngest person in the place by at least thirty years.

Justin... I am too lazy a man for pamphlets. Also, rubber chicken hat? Dunno... sounds pretty awesome...

Sonny... Totally. I'll gladly wait for my drink if it's served by an old dude who scowls. Hot chick bartenders are nice to look at and all, but too damn pricey in the long run.

ML... Yeah, but I never said I was a GOOD writer. Actually, most of the blame goes to the screwdrivers I was drinking while I wrote the majority of this post. As for an Awesome Old Women post... hm, maybe. I mean, I don't really know much about the subject, other than repeated secret viewings of Steel Magnolias.

1:24 PM  
Blogger jason quinones said...

i grew just reading this long ass post!

i don't know if i'm awesome yet.

nope. still a boring young fart.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Big Daddy said...

Holy shiite.

I am clearly on my way to AOM-ness.

Great dive bars in Denver are Don's Mixed Drinks, and The Satire [there's a story about Jimi Hendrix at that place that I forget].

One thing I thought of though, since this is supposed to happen when WE get old, instead of old country songs pre-70's, it's going to be 80's and 70's music for us.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

insofar as fashion, grooming, and accoutrement, i would suggest wearing a hat, smoking something exotic (meerschaum pipe with self-blended tobacco, chesterfields in a cigarette holder, those weird black turkish cigarettes, etc), and shaving with a straight razor that you keep in your left boot.

1:05 AM  

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