Sunday, September 30, 2007

Attack of the Carnies, part 1 or Purrburrs and Tooth Decay

So there are two rides set up already for the county fair.

I work at a little neighborhood bar called the Fairview Inn. There's a lot of tradition involved in the place--it was established the day Prohibition ended, before that it was an old-fashioned mom and pop grocery store, the coolers behind the bar are the original mahogany glass-front cabinets that held the perishables and 'the stick' that we bartenders use as a weapon of last (or in my case first) resort came from the cop who walked the beat on this street on the first legal drinking day. He'd used the billy club numerous times when busting the illegal still in the cellar, and thought that it would be an appropriate gift to the no-longer-in-danger-of-being-arrested-owner.

Yep. Decades of DNA.

At any rate, one of the charms of the Fairview Inn is the view of the fair. (Sorry--just had to do it) The fairgrounds are across the street. It's a meticulously preserved turn-of-the-century fairgrounds, complete with grandstands and livestock barns and fabulous little green cupolas atop whitewashed wooden buildings. Just behind the fairgrounds is 'Mount Pleasant.' Coming from a state with REAL mountains, this particular hunk of rock seems more like a hill to me than a mountain. But, *shrug* that's what the locals call it.

So work last night was very busy. Not only was there an Ohio State football game on TV but the carnies are starting to trickle in for this, their last scheduled stop of the season.

Now I can spot a carnie from a mile away. It's almost like the childcatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. A whole group of them came in at around 1 a.m.

How do I know they are carnies you ask?


First, the mullet. Not just guy mullets, mind you, but girl mullets.

Second, they always enter the bar like they're sneaking into a private club.

Third, I had to remind them ad nauseam that Ohio has banned smoking in all public places.

Fourth, significant dental issues en masse.

And fifth, they were wearing shirts with their company logo.

Let me recreate the scene for you:

The group stood in a huddle near the door, looking around with trepidation at the drunken Ohio State fans lurching about the room. After a moment's conference, they designated one poor soul to approach the bartender (who was cranky.)

"Miss, have you already called last call?"

*my internal dialogue---what an idiot! who in their right mind would call me a miss???*

"No, sir. We're open until 2:30. What can I get for you?"

"I need three purrburrs and a jack."

"Three what?" *my internal dialogue--I must not have heard that right.*


Now, as a cat lover I get a strange mental picture when confronted by the term 'purrburr.' What is a purrburr? How does one find a purrburr? Does a purrburr hurt? And, even beyond that, is it possible for a bar to provide a purrburr? I was mightily confused.

"Um...a purrburr? Is that a shot?" *my internal dialogue--I'll just make something up. They'll never know*

The carnie laughed at me. I noticed when he did so that he was missing a significant number of teeth. "A purrburr is a beer."

A beer. I pride myself on being fairly up-to-date on the latest ale trends. This was totally new to me. So, I made a judgement call.

"Sir, I don't think we have Purrburr beer." *my internal dialogue--is it still a freaking full moon or something?*

The carnie lifted one long arm and pointed at the antique glass-front coolers with a grease-stained finger. "What are you talking about? There's a whole row of them right there."

When I turned to see what he was staring at, I nearly lost it. A 'purrbuur' is a Pabst Blue Ribbon, or, as people with full sets of teeth pronounce it--pee bee are. I pulled out the three beers meekly and then nearly ran for the bottle of Jack Daniels. If I were incorrect and the 'jack' he wanted wasn't whiskey, I'd have to run out to the car and get the tire jack out of the trunk.

*my internal dialogue--damn all carnies!*

Carnies 1, Celina 0.

But it ain't over yet. I'll win this war--I swear it!