Sunday, April 19, 2015
Boiler Maker by R. Andrew Heidel I sallied up to the bar. "A pint of bass and a Glengoyne singe malt, neat please." "Ah, a boiler maker," replied the kindly old barkeep. He wore a white shirt with brown stripes covered by a glowing white lightly starched apron. He was a bartender of the old school, right down to the handlebar mustache and arm bands. Give him a straw hat, I thought, and he would be perfect in a barbershop quartet. "Yah, I need something to warm me up." The bartender took a look up and down the bar. It was a quiet Tuesday evening. A couple sat at the end of the bar, whispering sweet nothings, chocolate covered love, candied happiness, fingers entwined like the tentacles of an erotic gummy squid. Satisfied that the clientele was taken care of he turned back to me. "Sure you don't need something to cheer you up?" "Not right now. Sometimes it's not about the pep talk, pops." "Sure it is, if you don't do it for yourself, whose gonna do it." I felt like socking him. The last thing I needed to do was look on the bright side. I was happy with the dark shades I looked through at the moment. But something about his sincerity, his compassion, kept me from getting up and moving over to one of the empty booths. "Okay, hit me with your best shot," I challenged him. "Well, what seems to be the problem?" "Have you ever tried your hardest? I mean taken everything you've had and invested it into something big, really big? You know, into your dream?" "Sure." "And then have that come to nothing?" "Yup." "Well, that's where I am right now." The barkeep glanced sideways, then leaned forward on the bar, "Listen," he said in a conspiratorial manner, "don't just follow your dreams, chase them. Pursue them. Stalk them. Use all your cunning and guile to sneak up on them from behind and pounce upon them. Wrestle them to the ground and make them yours. And when they slip through your fingers, strengthen your grip, practice your holds, and don't ever, ever, give up." I thought about what he said for a moment, looked at him and asked "So what happened to you? Did you give up?" "No. I didn't give up. I found my dream, but I didn't know what to do once I had it." He picked up a towel, began drying a mug and we both lapsed into silence.