I was sitting at the Tilted Stick in Ocean Beach when these two young freshfellows walked into the pub. Johnny the bar manager was manning the kitchen, and Berkeley, the newly hired bar babe, was mixing drinks. The two fellows walked up to the counter, and Berkeley asked for their identification.
Oh, how they carried on. Apparently, the freshfellows are frequent customers, and they thought they should be granted immunity from having to show I.D. In protest, they hollered a magniloquent, “What's up with that?” to Johnny the bar manager. Johnny looked up from the grill and shrugged, as if to say, “Dudes, just show her your license, OK?”
The fellows were perturbed by Johnny's response to their plea for special treatment, and who wouldn't be upset, really, considering that now they were going to have to suffer the whole process of identification showing: First they must grasp the wallet. Then they must open the wallet. Then remove the license from the wallet. And finally-by now no doubt exhausted and gasping for breath-must present the license to the bar mama.
Oh, how I hate these, I-hate-showing-my-identification turds. For them, my loathing has no roof. There are many types of Identification Showing Haters running around out there, but these guys are the most pathetic, because they're overreacting to a bruised ego. They feel they're not being respected. They see this new gal working the bar-their bar-and think, “How dare she ask me for identification? I've been coming here for years!”
Don't you understand, young freshfellows? It's not about respect. It's about a strict law that could put the pub out of business. It's about the fact that Berkeley is new and doesn't know you from a canker in her rectum. It's about how all your complaining, and grumbling, and protestations to the bar manager are wasting everyone's time: yours, hers and the six or so people waiting for their turn at the bar, and, really, don't you have to be a gigantic, self-involved drama-wannabe to not realize any of this?
As I said, there are several different breeds of Identification Showing Haters out there. Another type is a group I call the “Barely Legals.” This is the girl or guy who just turned 21 or 22 years old yet is just appalled that you asked to see their I.D.-as if they've been coming to your club for years, as if they did a tour in 'Nam or fought against the Visigoths and cannot conceive of the possibility that you could doubt their age. When I encounter one of these Barely Legals, my response is usually something like, “Well, it's not that you look young, you just act so fucking immature.”
Another archetype of Identification Showing Hater that comes to mind is the Weekend Warring Working Girls. These are professional women in their late 20s/early 30s who think their age and upwardly mobile careers exempt them from identification showing. They have forgotten that before they came out tonight, they spent two hours in the mirror trying to make themselves look 10 years younger. They don't realize that for every one of her, there is some 19-year-old girl spending two hours in front of her mirror trying to look 10 years older. Every night is Halloween when it comes to women and their makeup, and the bottom line is that we must card you all.
Then there's the I-Don't-Have-Time-For-This-Nonsense scenester girl. She bounds up to the door or the bar all bouncy and bubbly. You request her identification and she produces a license, accompanied by an impatient huff.
When you scrutinize her I.D.-as in, check the birth date, check the photo, check the expiration (you know, the way you're supposed to scrutinize a license)-she becomes irritated. Her huffs graduate to harrumphs. She's looking over your shoulder at the action inside, shifts her weight onto the other leg and gives you those, I-don't-have-time-for-your-card-checking-nonsense-right-now-because-I've-got-to-get-inside-and-start-looking-all-hot-and-shit eyes.
In my bouncer days, whenever I encountered one of these impatient society muskrats, I'd look up from the license and say something unctuous like, “I'm sorry, am I keeping you?” Then, if for no other reason but to prolong the encounter, I'd give her this long, involved lecture about the law, and what happens to the bar if a minor slips through, and how often that actually happens, and that when it does happen, it's usually because the employee didn't take his time checking the I.D., and that's why it's important that I thoroughly inspect her identification, especially since the person who I am most likely to suspect as being a minor is the chick who is huffin' and harumphin' all over the place because it makes me think you are trying to rush me so that I might make a mistake-a classic tactic of the under-21 set. “So, now, if you don't mind, I'm going to have to start the whole process over again. I'm going to re-check your picture, re-check your date of birth and re-check the expiration date. I'm going to inspect the state seal, the watermarks, the height, the weight and the hair color. I'm going to put a flashlight behind it to check for razor marks and other flaws, and, with any luck, if you don't try to rush me again, you'll get inside before the band says, “Thank you, good night!”
No, there's no roof for my loathing.
There are plenty more examples of Identification Showing Haters, but who has the time or column space? Suffice to say, they all blow ass-with the exception, maybe, of the kid who actually is underage. He has a legitimate reason for not wanting to show his license. But the rest of you, if you're over 21-just show the freaking thing, OK? Please?
Incidentally, I liked the way Johnny the bar manager handled the young freshfellow situation. I liked how he let Berkeley complete her task. Because if they do turn out to be underage, it'll be she who loses her job. It'll be she who pays the $2,000 fine. It'll be she who retains a criminal record. So, card on, bar babe. Fuck 'em all, card on!
E-mail ed[at]edwindecker[dot]com and editor[at]SDcitybeat[dot]com.