Wednesday, May 22, 2024



At a farewell happy hour for one of my favorite co-workers, of almost 20 years, who is leaving the library for a different job in the county, five of us went to have drinks at the local VFW.

The VFW is not my normal scene, seeing as I have never actually fought in a foreign war. 

Having been invited to the festivities after the venue was already chosen I had two bracing responses.

1. A snobbish recoiling in horror.

2. A concern that I might have to dash up to Canada and get in a tussle in order to qualify for membership. 

There was nothing to worry about though! After thirty years of gritty, low paid, barely respected county library work, I am just the sort of down to earth, salt of the land, gritty person of no pretensions who can wander into an unglamorous VFW and have a rye and ginger and...

not gawk for too long.

So, whoever keeps quoting Charles Bukowski to me in my comments section, take note!

We all sat at a round table, surveying the room, er, maybe slightly gawking, but not for too long. There were five of us, all in our fifties to early sixties, and the best part was when I looked around the crowded room and observed "We are easily the youngest people in the room." 

You'd be surprised how often that happened to me in the nineties, but it's getting weirdly less common for every year that races by our windows.

The furnishings were bingo hall basic. There was a single set place, dusty and empty, set aside for the POW/MIA, I guess like the cup of wine for Elijah. The food and drinks were artless and passable, but, and this is important, didn't gross me out because I am salt of the earth, even if I have been to France. I had a rye and ginger, an appropriate drink I had researched beforehand by typing "What do you drink at a VFW". I also had a beer. And I had a burger and fries. In contrast to our current inflationary world, the prices were intriguingly low! Seven dollar drink! Six dollar burger! But consistent with the current inflationary world it all came out kind of expensive anyway, after a dollar for a meager slice of swiss on the burger, and the fry upcharge, and not very cheap beer, and all the usual taxes, fees, and tips.

As a group we talked about all the things we talk about at work, only at greater length and in more detail. One gets an even clearer picture of the co-workers that are universally suffered, and finds out which co-workers are disliked more than deserved, and one tries to gently illuminate their redeeming qualities.

In the end I paid for the guest of honor's bill on my own. This may have been worth it for the feeling of magnificent superiority it gave me, and for the warmth it directed to me from the guest of honor.

In the end, what do I rate the VFW?

I don't know.

I rate it:



Sixty Dollars!

or how about this:

I'd like to thank all those people in there for their sacrifice for us all in WWII.


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