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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bouncers Bash Back!

Posted by on November 23 at 15:45 PM

Following yesterday’s wave of indignation directed at those who bounce for a living, today brings a crie de couer from an actual bouncer.

The writer had originally posted it in the I, Anonymous forum, where it didn’t quite fit, so I’ve transferred it here below for your reading pleasure.

I mean, really, if you're going to speak in such broad generalizations you certainly have to expect reciprocation, right? So you had a bad experience with a bouncer, boo-freaking-hoo, must've really given you the vapors if you had to come home and write all about it. Lord knows, I've had a bad meal and immediately proclaimed all cooks are shite!
Truth be told, I wasn't at the show and haven't worked as a bouncer in over a year, but when I see someone paint with such a wide brush, I feel the need to respond for the less-literate bouncers out there. See, as with any working atmosphere, there are a great number of social types that comprise the workforce. Please excuse the loquaciousness, I'm tired.

You have your jocks, who never grew out of the appetite for power and glory that somehow working security at a show provides some semblance of--they comprise about 30%. Generally OK people, but don't attempt any complicated discussions or someone might get hurt.

You have your artists. Now, for most of the people I know who consider themselves artists, art is not their primary source of income. They've had to find some sort of occupation which provides them with a steady paycheck while also allowing them plenty of hours to work on whatever projects they might be hatching. This includes sculptors, painters, musicians and all number of folks who only need enough for a pack of smokes, a bag of weed and not much else. Think about it, what other job could you have that allows you to take three months off while you go on tour, then you come back and immediately pick up some shifts. The only other ones that I can think of are all bar/restaurant based--perfect for artists. The percentage here is probably at about 40%.

You have your lifers. Guys who have been in the business for way too long. Some good, some bad. For whatever reason, they're still at it. They're probably around 8%.

You have your wildcards. Dudes that are just flat-out crazy. They can't really find any other jobs, and being a bouncer pays the bills for least until the next assault case bill comes due. These guys scare me. Thankfully, I've only worked with a handful and they usually don't last long before their crazy gene is discovered. Luckily, they are only at about 5%.

Freaks of nature. There are some guys that just seem to come out of the woods to go to work and probably live in a tent or in the back of their car. You have no idea what they do in their spare time, but you're curious enough to entertain a daydream about one day tailing them to find out what makes them tick. Again, probably looking at about 5%. For some reason, these guys have highly specialized jobs in the club. Maybe they're really good at tracking the guy who brought an 8-ball in, and all night they're on their tail and then suddenly Mr. Booger Sugar is out on the street and Mr. Freak is richer one 8-ball. Guys are weird, but good.

The other 12%. That's comprised of guys who don't speak English, guys who are narcoleptic, drug dealers looking for customers, promoters who've run into bad times, and friends of a friend when so-and-so didn't show up for their shift.

Are we all assholes? No. Are there some assholes in the bunch? Certainly. As I said, with any group, you're going to encounter certain personality types.

I always said to the people I trained that ideally, no one should even realize security is there. You want everyone to have a good time, and if someone starts to ruin that good time for everyone else, get them outside and try to do it by asking nicely. I've found that if I treat people with respect, they do the same. I had my share of fights, but usually it was because someone was overserved and didn't want to listen or they were all hopped up and the only option was to get them outside. I've had my nose broken, my balls kicked, grabbed, squeezed and all manner of genital mutilation attempted, but never did I throw the first punch. I'm not a tough guy.

Also, in my experience, all-ages shows were my least favorite. You've got the kiddies who come in wearing backbacks, sometimes trying to smuggle some hooch in a mountain dew bottle or bring in markers looking to tag the joint up or just behaving like someone who has yet to fully realize their role in the world. Then there's the over-21 crowd, who simply cannot understand why they're being carded and why it's taking so long. Fact of the matter is, the all ages shows are when the liquor control board loves to look for all manner of infractions. Alcohol and kiddies are a bad combination and I've yet to meet someone who offered to pay for the fine when they left the over-21 area with a drink in their hand and waded into the ocean of young'uns.

And my nerves would get frazzled, too. That's why I ended up giving it up. I no longer enjoyed music, no longer looked forwards to nights when a good band might be playing or a great DJ might be spinning--it was all the same--background noise while you watched people get progressively drunker and think of themselves as terribly witty and after a few hours, it's over. No one wants to leave, and "so-and-so is still in the bathroom," and "hey, I forgot to close out my tab," and "did you guys find any keys." Just think, while you've been having fun, hanging out with friends, seeing the band of the moment, the bouncer has been sober the entire night so he has no excuse to like the band. And you think he's a turd. Thanks.

Alright, I'll stop now. I've rambled on long enough. Someday soon, I'll publish my bouncer chronicles where my sober mind detailed all the absurdity I witnessed and all the bands that scarred my musical appreciation. For now, just remember, one bouncer does not paint an entire profession. Yeah, that one guy might have been an asshole on a power trip, but not everyone who cashes a check from being a bouncer is a turd. That broad brush you painted all bouncers with is in fact a collection of unique bristles all doing the same job, just in different fashions.