How To Lose Me In Three Days, Cable TV Edition

21st August 2014 by admin No Comments
Time Warner Cable keeps trying to send a strange guy over to stick this in me.

Time Warner Cable keeps trying to send a strange guy over to stick this in me.

I’ve been without cable/satellite for about five months. With Hulu/Netflix/Amazon Prime/Crackle I didn’t miss it at all, but since I still have a gig as a football writer, I needed to get some kind of television for the NFL/college football season.

I have two options, basically, Time Warner Cable or DirecTV. I loved having DirecTV, never had any problems with the service (or customer service), but it requires a two-year contract, and I would prefer to be able to turn it back off again after football season. So that meant even though it’s a bit more expensive, I went with Time Warner Cable.

Monday afternoon, I talked online with a TWC rep and got their best offer. I told them if I got the service, I’d take the option to install the equipment myself (for free, as opposed to the $39 install charge). I told them I was going to compare that to some other offers and get back to them. The rep said okay, she’d put this offer in my file and it would be there if I came back for it.

Monday night, I get a call from TWC to confirm my appointment for Tuesday afternoon for installation. Which I never signed up for. Or wanted. Or would have accepted, even if I had agreed to get cable.

I told them no, then held on the line to speak to an actual person. I explained the problem, she apologized profusely and told me she’d take care of it.

Monday night again, I get a second call from TWC asking me to take a survey on my recent interactions. Oh, you betcha, Time Warner Cable.

Tuesday afternoon, I get a call from TWC, from a guy with a connection so bad, it sounds like he’s calling me from a pay phone in 1977. He wants to know about the survey, and what they did wrong. I tell him, and he again apologizes profusely. He tells me there’s another package I could sign up for that might be cheaper. I can’t really make out what he’s saying, because it sounds like he’s on a party line phone in Warsaw, and he’s mumbling like Mitch Hedberg after a bender. I tell him I’m busy, but I’d love to hear about this plan later on a better connection. I tell him to call me Wednesday morning and I’ll listen, and he agrees.

Spoiler Alert: I never hear from him again.

Then, Tuesday afternoon about two hours after the previous contact I get another phone call. Yep, from Time Warner. At this point, Time Warner would make up most of my Friends and Family plan. It’s another rep, wanting to ask me about my service. I was honest with her, and she apologized profusely, which is apparently a freshman level class at TWC-School. She says they’re sorry for the miscommunication(s) and it won’t happen again.

Wednesday night, I decide to go with TWC anyway, since even though they’ve already shown themselves to be bafflingly incompetent, there’s no long-term contract. What the Hell, I say. At least if they suck, I can cancel. And at this point, there’s not more than a 40% chance of that.

I go online again, chat with a representative, and get set up. I set up my cable package, featuring 200 quality channels! Except that at least 180 of them are not of any quality whatsoever and will never be watched, so they might as well be showing Who’s The Boss reruns all day. I get a price that’s ridiculous but cancelable after football, and tell them I want to do my own installation again. The rep double-checks everything with me, I ask a million questions to make sure there’s nothing I’m forgetting, and I’m signed on. I ask the rep for the closest office to pick up the equipment on Thursday, and I’m on my way to being a cable subscriber again.

And then, Thursday morning at 7:45am, I get a call from a Time Warner installer to confirm my appointment to have cable installed. Again.

To begin with, what the Hell is wrong with a company that offers phone service, but every time you talk to them their phone lines sound like you’re calling an underground bunker somewhere? If I got a phone call from Hell, I feel pretty sure there would be a better connection there, and the person on the other end of the line boiling in a lake of fire would at least be enunciating better than TWC’s reps.

After making the guy repeat his orders four times to make sure I understood him, I tell him in no uncertain terms that I don’t want him to come over. I don’t want him to install cable. I don’t want him to bring me coffee. I don’t want him to stand at the foot of my driveway with a jambox playing “In Your Eyes.” I just want him to stay the &%$# away from me before I wake up with him at the end of my bed, sharpening a knife and asking me “Is it safe?”

We hang up. Twenty minutes later, I get yet another (another) call from TWC to ask why I didn’t want the service call. Well, because I never wanted it, TWC. You’re getting kind of date-rapey on me. I feel like Time Warner Cable is just driving past my house all night, listening to “Goodbye Horses” and waiting for a chance to toss me into the pit TWC keeps in its basement.

At this point, Time Warner Cable has tried to send more strange guys over to my house than Craigslist. I just want football, TWC. Not a soulmate.

Time Warner Cable won’t be ignored, Reid. I’m headed off to make sure my bunny is still okay.

Against my better judgment, I went by Time Warner Cable and got the cable box to hook it up myself, only to find that their crack tech staff can’t activate it. The tech help was as clueless as a caveman, at one point telling me that my TV was on the wrong input, even though I was seeing the Time Warner Cable screen, just no programming. She tried to fix it, asked me to do things that my cable box wasn’t apparently capable of doing, and then right at 5:00pm, told me that I’d have to take my cable box back to the TWC office and get a new one, which is now impossible because everything closes at five. Whoops! Imagine that. 

Continue the apologizing profusely.

Then TWC called me back with yet another automated phone call to ask my opinion on their service. I rated them somewhere between Hiroshima and a swift kick in the crotch.

The next day I returned and got another box, and another round of apologizing profusely. Hooked it up, and it doesn’t work either. After TWC’s reps were clueless again, I figured out that my house’s cable wiring may not actually be hooked up, which is something that neither of the two TWC tech help people could tell, despite their ability to look right into my cable box to tell if I ordered a PPV of “Emmanuelle Gives A Handy.”

So now, I have no choice but to wait for next week and hope their installer can fix the problem. Which they can’t actually confirm whether or not it will cost me anything.

All I wanted was to watch a football game. Any game. Any sort. And now, I just want to throw my TV out the window.

So my appointment was made for Monday, 1-3. They auto-called me twice on Sunday to confirm the appointment. At this point, I have spoken to Time Warner Cable more in the last week than I have any of my family members in the last year.

Monday morning, they call yet again, and a rep wants to confirm that I have an appointment with them today to have my internet worked on.

No, Chester. I already have internet with you, and have had so for about two years.

He’s confused, and has to ask me again what problems I’m having, which service it involves, where I live, what my favorite Rocky movie is, if I think Ryan Reynolds is a good actor, and all sorts of other things vital to my account. He finally confirms that yes, the thing I confirmed three times already is indeed confirmed.

And so Monday at one, they call again to verify that I am there, and I do indeed exist. I confirm, and we’re ready!

For what, I have no idea. At this point, TWC may be coming to try and hook up cable, internet, phone, air conditioning, a dutch oven, and track lighting. If it includes football, I’ll take it.

I realize that if I had another option that wouldn’t make me sign a two-year contract, I’d take it. So now I get to see whether or not TWC can actually do this without pissing me off so badly I just throw them out, and go without.

(…to be continued…)

Robin Williams & Depression

11th August 2014 by admin No Comments

New column up at Project, on Robin Williams, depression, and a confession of my own. I had a lot of trouble dealing with the death of Robin Williams, and I had to eventually realize it went far beyond just being a fan of the man since I was seven.

Check it out here.

Sixteen Candles of Sexual Dysfunction

17th June 2014 by admin 4 Comments

JakeRyan01Watched the 80′s classic movie “Sixteen Candles” last night. Found this conversation between Anthony Michael Hall’s Geek and the dreamboat Jake Ryan mildly jarring.

JAKE RYAN: I can get a piece of ass anytime I want. Shit, I’ve got Caroline in the bedroom right now, passed out cold. I could violate her ten different ways if I wanted to.
FARMER TED: (choking) What are you waiting for?

Ah, 1984. That was back when date-rape was funny, I guess. It’s like remembering that Nick Nolte’s character in “48 Hours” was hilarious, and then seeing the movie again and noticing he’s more than just an eentsy-bit racist.

– Reid Kerr doesn’t even want to start on “The Donger.”

100 Words: The Gentle Ballad of the Local News Anchor

2nd April 2014 by admin No Comments

She’s famous.

Everyone knows her. She’s on your television every night, smiling and reading you the daily news.

It’s a burden being famous. That’s why she’s comes here to this cafe and sits outside afternoons. She’ll smile and be feaux-bashful about being recognized, but that’s her job. She hates the publicity, though.

So why isn’t anyone noticing her yet? Guess she’ll order another coffee.

Indirect TV: The Satellite Battle

27th March 2014 by admin No Comments

Quick background, I’m cancelling my satellite service with DirecTV. It’s actually not because of any problems I have with the service, it’s just that…well, TV sucks these days, so I’m cutting the cord for a while. I cancelled my service for mid-March, which was the day my contract ended. DirecTV shut everything down early so I called to complain, then they told me I was actually paid for through the end of the month. After that, it certainly seemed like I was charged for the rest of the month anyway, so I sent them an email. This is the third or fourth go-round with them, after a series of confusing emails.

(Disclaimer: This actually happened.DirecTV)

Bernadette (probably not her real name), I appreciate you getting back to me. Let me make sure I have this correct:

1) I call DirecTV and request that you cancel my service as of 3/19/14, which is the day my current contract expires. Your representatives get that taken care of for me, and never mention anything else about my bill other than I’ll be billed for this later, and my service will be shut off at midnight on the 19th. Sounds good, and so I make plans to finish watching everything on my DVR by then. I’ve been a DirecTV customer for years and never had any problems with you guys, and would certainly consider using you again in the future.

2) On 3/19/14 I try and watch things on my DVR, which shuts off at about 10pm Eastern time. I call up to see what happened, since this isn’t what you told me. Your representative (Linda, perhaps?) apologizes, and offers to turn my service back on for the night so I can finish watching my shows I had DVR’ed. She looks at my account and tells me that I’m actually paid up through 4/3/14, and she can turn my service back on until then since I’m already paid if I’d like. Two things here, I’m growing quickly frustrated with Linda, who appears to speak English in a manner reminiscent of Yoda, and she’s in no hurry to get my service turned back on so I can watch the last two episodes of “Justified” before my DVR goes away again at midnight. Secondly, she’s telling me that I’ve actually already paid through the end of the month, so it won’t really matter if I continue my service until then. Since that’s easier than trying to get a refund, I agreed. So she got my service started again, and I would just keep it until 4/3/14 when both parties end the deal and walk away happily.

3) Until I log into my account, and see that somehow I owe you $35 again. And since your bill is about as easy to read as a VCR manual written in Farsi, I have no idea where that charge comes from, if it’s current, or what it covers.

So even though I tried to cancel my service with you last week and your representative told me everything was square through the end of the month, I owe you $35 for what amounts to me extending my service to cover what you told me I had already paid for? This basically amounts to me paying $35 because you shut off my DVR early, and I wanted to watch those last two episodes of “Justified.” Which is a bit steep. I wouldn’t pay $35 to have Timothy Olyphant come to my house with a local Readers Theater group to act those out.

Am I correct on all of these points? And Do I know owe you $35 to shut my account off on 4/3/14? Would there be an extra charge if I just took your satellite out and shot it? Just asking for a friend.
It took them a while, but eventually DirecTV decided the best way to handle me was in a non-text form. They called and explained, and I don’t actually owe them anything. Probably. They still weren’t certain, but at least they were polite about it.

– Reid Kerr recalls the time the cable company sent a shirtless man to his house and hook up his wiring, which sounds like a gay porno movie but isn’t.

New Deli Blues

22nd March 2014 by admin No Comments

I wondered to myself today if anyone would mind if I strangled the asshole in front of me at the deli counter, the one getting tiny amounts of nine different meats and cheeses all ordered individually. He ordered quarter-pound after quarter-pound, all sliced so thin as to be nearly invisible. Then after the counter worker would bring him his tiny bag of booty, he would scratch his stupid fucking head and come up with yet another small errand.

“Ah, yes…can I also get a quarter-pound of smoked peppered ham? Sliced thin. Thinner than thin. And can you wash the pepper off of it for me, I only want it to have the taste of pepper, not any actual pepper flakes on it.”

“Let me get a third pound of Colby cheese. But not the longhorn. Do you have shorthorn Colby cheese? Go check in the back, I’ll wait.”

“Let me get a tenth of a pound of Dr. Pepper Jack cheese. And can you cut that in individual slices using a machete, please?”

Meanwhile, I was standing there so long my coupons expired, dreaming of ordering something long and thin such as sausages, which I would then use to whip around his neck and choke the life from him until he finally ended his order. Eventually his lifeless body would collapse, sprawling upon the dozen small plastic bags of individual slices of meats, his final resting place the unassembled contents of his sandwich of doom.

Obviously I had a lot of time to think about this scenario while I was waiting on line.

– Reid Kerr doesn’t advocate deli counter violence against strangers, unless you can get away with it.

Reid and Wine About It

12th February 2014 by admin No Comments

For those of you looking for some extra comedy in your daily diet, I’m doing a wine review column for Project And as some of you know, I didn’t actually drink any alcohol until I was forty, so bear in mind that everything I taste goes down pretty awful. Check it out.

#1: Grand Opening, where I say things like “chemotherapy cocktail,” “starter kit for winos,” “Norm Peterson’s liver,” and “passing a demon rectally.”

#2: Second Helpings, in which I use the descriptions “Windex,” “Angry Clown Face,” “bug repellent,” “drunken sorority girl from Birmingham on her last Spring Break to Daytona,” and “unemployed boyfriend.”


Irrelevant Tangents

17th January 2014 by admin No Comments

A good life is like riding the bus. It requires change for you to actually get anywhere.

My doctor said I need more fiber in my diet, so today I got my footlong Subway meatball sandwich on wicker.

The answers are easy. You just have to figure out which questions they go with.

Guys, here’s some advice. When the Playboy centerfolds were born after you graduated high school, it’s time to move on.

I diet just so I won’t wind up as one of the headless rounded torsos they always show on the news whenever they report the new obesity statistics. I don’t want to be your b-roll.

Why are there no superheroes with sexually-transmitted powers? If a radioactive spider can rewrite Peter Parker’s DNA, I’d imagine anyone having sex with Bruce Banner has a pretty good chance to wake up green and angry.

Wrist tattoos look like hastily scrawled suicide notes.

My favorite part of Saturday Night Live is where they introduce the musical guest I’ve never heard of, and I spend the next four minutes trying to figure out what commercial I’ve heard their song on.

Due to budgetary reasons, I’m having to scale things back a bit. From now on, it’s only every OTHER day I’ll be shufflin’, shufflin’. Please adjust your schedules accordingly.

Even Morris Day gets lonely sometimes. That’s one of those things I found written in an old notebook and I have no idea why, but I like it too much to throw it away.

If I read your name in my Facebook feed and the first memory that leaps to mind is of you not being smart enough in high school to a) pass an algebra test or b) operate a beer bong correctly, please do us both a favor and lay off the in-depth political analysis, Jethro.

My wife owns a VW Beetle convertible. Or as I refer to it, “Hitler’s final revenge.”

Dear mid-40′s white guy behind me in the Toyota Avalon rapping along with the radio at the tip of your lungs at the stoplight…thank you. You have entertained me in ways you can scarcely imagine.

My two favorite places to eat after midnight are Whataburger, and standing in my kitchen naked. And Whataburger is #1 by a wide margin.

– Reid Kerr’s first novel, “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is available now on Amazon and Barnes &

The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape…Is Out!

14th January 2014 by admin No Comments

Big news from my house, my first book, “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is out now from Biting Dog Press. You can find the book here, with links to buy it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.NewBanner01-tornado2

It’s a dream come true for me, and hopefully the first of many. Hope you guys enjoy it. If you’re a reader of this blog (or my FB or Twitter), thank you so much for encouraging my behavior all these years. Check it out.


The Great 2013 Scam Spam Slam

14th January 2014 by admin No Comments

I was added by a stranger on Facebook last night, and I almost immediately got a message from them. Seemed like a typical spambot, and I occasionally amuse myself by spewing gibberish at them. However, I realized there was an actual person on the other side of this conversation, trying desperately to scam me into doing something. I kept them on the line for about four hours, which I consider public service. Here’s the text of our conversation.

Come on, LOOK at me. Do I look like I have anything better to do than make fun of spammers?

Come on, LOOK at me. Do I look like I have anything better to do than make fun of spammers? Nope.

Disclaimer: All of this conversation really happened.

Spammy McSpamster (not the real name): Hello, how are you doing hope all is well with you over there i wonder if you have heard about the good news yet?

Reid Kerr (my actual real name): Spammy McSpamster, I’ve got good news hanging out of my rectum right now. Thanks!

Spammy McSpamster: Am so happy today because I got $150,000 cash from the poverty eradication organization. They gave me the money for a hearing,deaf,hoh  support. I wonder if you get your money yet because I saw your name on their winners list and I ask, they told me they will bring money to you too.have you getting yours yet?

Reid Kerr: I haven’t gotten mine yet! Where do I sign? Do you think I could get mine in rolls of change? It makes it easier to hide it from the government.

Spammy McSpamster: You wil have to contact the delivery agent right now for you to claim your money too

Reid: How do I contact him? I don’t have a phone right now. I threw mine at a pederast at a truck stop last weekend, and I haven’t replaced it yet because I’m waiting to hear from my oral surgeon. He owes me money from a botched teeth filing.

Spammy McSpamster: i think you should contact the agent follow this link (removed) or via email to claim your funds his email is (removed) you can text him  (removed).

Reid: I’d love to email him, but I got a virus last week that fills all of my emails with homoerotic fan fiction about the cast of “C.H.I.P.s.” what should I do?

Spammy McSpamster: You can add him on FB…Just click on the link and add him up right now. message that you heard about him from me and you are told that you are eligible to get the on going funds offer , so you are contacting him to help and claim yours too so he should help you out and tell you what to do

Reid: Are you sure he’ll add me? I had a close family friend tell me recently that my Facebook picture makes me look like a man who’s been half-eaten by owls. I don’t want to scare him off! Also, I don’t like wearing pants.

Spammy McSpamster: Yes he will accept..Just add him up right now

Reid:  Should I do it right now? I usually like to think big decisions through, ever since I invested in that nightclub that turned out to just be a front for a gay cat smuggling ring.

Spammy McSpamster: You have to do that right now because the delivery agent is online now..He is a very kind and honest man. (Later…) Did you get it yet ?

Reid: Not yet, are you sure he’s honest? I had a bad experience once trusting a guy who wound up stealing all my carpet. I only deal with fine upstanding Christian men, preferably who wear ties and visors.

Spammy McSpamster: He is a honest man

Reid: Outstanding. Is he tall? I never trust men who are too tall. They tend to put their gum in my hair. I think the perfect height for a man is 5’7″. I’ll add him on Facebook shortly, right after I finishing shaving my nether regions.

Spammy McSpamster: Contact him now so that he can get back to you asap

Reid: Absolutely! Do I need a bank account for this? Right now most of my portfolio is tied up in overseas stocks and Arby’s coupons. Also, I can’t find my pants. I think the wombat is wearing them again.

Spammy McSpamster: Not at all..You will have to fill out a form so that they can location your destination..They will deliver you your money at your money door step

Reid: Ah, well if that just isn’t the widow’s tit! Spammy McSpamster, you’re solving my problems as fast as I can make them up! One problem though, due to a misunderstanding with Americard International, my door was recently repossessed. Could I have the money sent to another address that I could pick up? Perhaps my neighbor, or the massage parlor behind your mother’s house? Thanks!

Spammy McSpamster: Yes…You can do that but just make sure you follow their instruction so that they won’t deliver your money to another perosn

Reid: Oh, I would hate that! I really don’t like other people. I’m sure you know how it goes. One minute you’re the best of friends and neighbors, and the next thing you wake up in a hot tub bleeding, and someone has taken your dog and stolen your fireplace. Are these instructions complicated? I can read Farsi if that helps, although I certainly don’t speak it very well. I tried to ask for hummus once in an Indian restaurant, and I accidentally had a man follow me back to my hotel room to give me a footbath. He was a nice fellow though. Ten toes, although not the same number on each foot.

Spammy McSpamster: Ried i told you the man is a very kind and honest man…So you will have to contact him for you to get the fund

Reid: Oh, of course! I’ll contact him on Facebook as soon as the sores heal. What was his name again?

Spammy McSpamster: Jack Graham..Just click on the link i give you and add him up

Reid: Will do! I’ll be glad to add Mr. Jack Grammy. Will I need to show a drivers license? I haven’t had one since I was the lead car in the Christmas parade back in 2004, and I got hit by that flying turd.

Spammy McSpamster: Not at all

Reid: How soon will we meet? I need to catch a bus downtown for my weekly exorcism.

Spammy McSpamster: As soon as you get your money (Later…) Have you contact him yet ?

Reid: Contacted who yet?

Spammy McSpamster: the delivery agent ? Jack Graham

Reid: I will here shortly. I’m on my cell phone, and it’s not safe for me to contact pizza delivery people unless I’m on a landline. The last time I tried I was savagely beaten by an Episcopalian vagabond. Dreadful fellow, although he had the stride of a man half his age. Quite the shame what happened to him in that combine accident. I’ll add your friend Scott here in a few minutes.

Spammy McSpamster: Jack

Reid: Oh, dreadfully sorry to get the name wrong. That name reminds me of my friend Scott Grammy, who was unjustly accused of defecating from a traffic helicopter back in 2008. I wonder if they’re any relation? Have you ever met Mr. Jack?

Spammy McSpamster: Yes. they deliver me my money at my home door step

Reid: How much did you get? Cash? Any nipple rings?

Spammy McSpamster: Cash. 150,000$

Reid: Heavens! Where would I put all that money? I don’t even have any pants.

Spammy McSpamster: You will surely get your money as soon as you contact the agent

Reid: Is Jack Graham the agent? Or will he get me in touch with the agent? Or am I the agent? If I were, I certainly think I’d know it, my good man. Burrito?

Spammy McSpamster: Yes..Jack Graham is the agent in charge of your money

Reid: I sent it. I think. I clicked on the link, and my screen went dark and I got a very painful erection. When will we become friends?

And with that, the spammer’s shift apparently ended.

– Reid Kerr is well aware he’s a jackass sometimes, but enjoys having fun at the expense of criminals.

The Smell Of Motel Hell

13th January 2014 by admin No Comments

Travelling to Cincinnati today, I knew I wasn’t going to make it all in one trip, so I decided I’d just pull over and grab a cheap motel, sleep a few hours, and get back out there.

As usual, I started looking for a place to pull over and eat, and also find a motel about six hours before I actually did it. For some reason, I am never able to just pull the damn car over and eat. I’ve always got to keep going, keep pushing it, on to the next town where there will definitely be something better waiting on me. That gambit is successful about 0.02% of the time, the rest of my attempts end with me ordering something from a drive-through at a joint where the lobby is closed, or getting something that’s semi-preserved at a gas station.

On this particular night, I ate royally. Burger King. I did get to try their new “Satis-Fries,” though, which weren’t that bad. They’re certainly not as “Terri-Frying” as their old fries, which are quite balls nasty.

Anyway, after eating my usual bag of crap, I saw a sign for a Days Inn, with room rates less than forty dollars.

I should explain first. I’m not exactly a dainty traveller. I don’t give a crap about amenities, or cable TV, or extra furniture, or anything else. If I could rent a hammock and sleep eight hours safely in the parking lot and leave, I’d do it. I’m not afraid of roughing it, and I need no luxuries.

However, this place was a bit below a “lack of luxury,” and firmly in the “tenement” stage. This is the kind of motel you stay in when you’re expecting a guest from Craigslist.

Walking to my room, I noticed the pool was closed. Not unusual, since it’s October, but it looked like it had been closed after some science experiment had gone horribly wrong. It was more like a lagoon, the kind of green, thick swamp that no one swims in, and eventually scary muck-monsters come climbing out of in search of human flesh, and the have to call in the cops and the Marines and the Justice League to stop them.

I got to my room, which was the kind of place where you didn’t feel comfortable setting your bags down, much less yourself. Worse yet, it smelled. Not like someone had smoked in there, but like someone had rented the room, loaded lumber in the bathroom for eight hours, and then used the carpet to dry the sweat off of his body.

If armpits had assholes, that’s what this place would look like.

So now, I have the choice of fighting for a better room for forty bucks and seven hours, or just going to sleep and trying to make it work. I’m going to do the latter, although I am sleeping in my clothes, and looking for whatever the opposite of a “Breathe-Right” strip is.

I’m also wearing a condom just in case.

– Reid Kerr thanks the woman letting her kids play at the pool outside his window, even though they’re not wearing swim trunks or swimming, and appear to just be running back and forth screaming and punching each other at 1am.

Saturday Night, West Virginia VFW

5th January 2014 by admin No Comments

It is midnight on a Saturday night, and I am drinking Bud Light in a VFW in Huntington, West Virginia. This might not be Hell, but I’m reasonably sure if you climbed the water tower you could see the city limits sign from here.

There’s a bar band playing here, working hard to entertain the crowd, which is about twenty people who’ve come to drink and dance. The crowd ranges in age from early 30’s up to senior citizens, which makes the music selection an adventure. We’ve got rock, rap, some country, oldies, basically anything that involves a danceable beat that might keep the locals happy enough to stay quiet.

Even so, the dance floor stays mostly empty, except for the couple that’s drunk enough to wander out, convulse and lean for a while, then “woo!” their way off the floor.

Behind the double doors is the bar and game room, where men and women who make dollars plunk down quarters to pass the time. There are enough people in there to be sad, as at midnight the place is still more packed than the dance floor, but with less hope of a happy evening.

I’m drinking Bud Lite, which appears to be composed entirely of the spittle of the homeless. It’s good and cheap though, this is not a crowd that’s going to pay much for a beer. Or a joint, or a bump, or whatever is available in the parking lot. This is the kind of crowd who’ll do anything to momentarily forget, but won’t pay a lot for anything. Not stimulants, not cars, not homes or trailers.

Everybody’s dreaming of something here. Some grand, some mundane, and some utterly ridiculous. The strongest voices in the place are slurred and unfiltered, power drinkers on weekend highs.

This is a place where the moment is all that they have, because the earlier day is too depressing to remember, and the future is too repetitive to contemplate.

Midnight is a magical time. When the calendar shifts, everything becomes intensified. If you’re having a good time and ride that until midnight, chances are things will get better, drunker, louder. And if you’re down by the time the clock turns, it will only get worse. The night is darker, colder, lonelier. Nothing good happens here. The best that you can hope for is that nothing awful occurs, and the status quo remains intact tomorrow. It’s all downhill from here, straight from a possible drunken hookup with a bridge troll right through to the inevitable meal at Waffle House.

The band kicks into a half-hearted version of “Mustang Sally,” a song so universally despised that you can almost taste their disdain. It is certainly a song, but not a good one. That song was old when Wilson Pickett played it almost fifty years ago, and every band that’s forced to play it now does so with utter boredom.

The drunken tall girl in too-tight pants squeals her delight at the band, as she’s been making requests all night, but never hitting the tip jar to show her appreciation.

Note to everyone who goes anyplace bar bands play. Pay for your songs. I’ve been those guys before, and even a hot chick making requests isn’t nearly as appreciated as a couple of bucks in the tip jar. Chances are, even if the hot girl sleeps with the singer, the bass player isn’t going to get much out of it. The tip jar is split evenly. Everyone who has to suffer through an impromptu version of “Sweet Child of Mine” should benefit from it.

This is the end of the world. Here, there’s no tomorrow that’s not the same as yesterday. This moment with cheap beer and loose women (and men) is as close to Heaven as most of these people will get.

And I’m just killing time in Heaven’s waiting room, nursing a watery beer and listening to a three-piece band with vocals work their way through a cover of “Purple Rain.”

– Reid Kerr  has served his time in cover bands.