One of the ways to get away with it back then was to go to really shitty bars. There were a few we went to whose policy seemed to be that if you had the balls to walk in and order a beer in this place, you're old enough to be there. This is a story about one such place.
There was a bar in Jacksonville Beach that Jonathan (yes, the same guy from this story) and I would go to pretty frequently. It was a little locals only dive. It was a complete dump, but they had cheap pitchers and good live music, mostly blues and southern rock. The clientele was always interesting as well.
We got there one Saturday night and it was a little crowded, no big deal. One thing caught my eye as we walked in. There is a guy sitting over in a corner table, so hammered that he's having a heated conversation with a potted tree. I don't know about you, but I have never been so smashed that I got into an argument with a ficus. This guy is debating the meaning of life or something with the shrubbery.
The band is rocking, playing a lot of Skynyrd of course. There are a couple of open tables. Jonathan grabs a table and I head to the bar to get a pitcher. I get to the table, pour myself a beer and settle in to listen to the music and relax. Halfway through the pitcher, somebody falls over onto me. It's tree-boy. I put a hand on his back and stand him back up. No harm, no foul. Didn't even spill my beer. What I didn't notice is that when I stood him back up, it was right back into the face of the guy that punched him, knocking him into me in the first place. So dude clocks tree-boy again, this time knocking him over another table, sending a pitcher and mugs flying.
|This is not good.|
At this point, the whole place erupts into a brawl. When I say brawl, I want you to picture an old western movie. That's what it looked like. Everybody trying to punch somebody, tables getting turned over, chairs flying and the band never missed a beat.
Jonathan and I want no part of this. We're drinking in a bar underage and accidentally started a huge bar fight. Not good. We need an exit strategy. Jonathan bolts for the door and gets out. I can't get around the table and through the door before it gets blocked. Shit, now what? Not really wanting to fight my way out, I take the only option left.
I jump up on the stage with the band.
It's about this time that I realize I didn't completely think this through. Jonathan thinks it's hilarious as he's pointing and laughing at me through the windows.
Where do I go now? I'm further away from the door than I was. I can't just stand here looking like a deer in the headlights while the rest of the place is reenacting the pie fight scene from Blazing Saddles without the pies.
Stuck on stage with no way out, I did what any good North Florida boy would have done.
I grabbed a mic... "...be a simple kind of maaaaaaaaannnn......."