It’s funny noticing the habits of people, but when you pay a little attention to things around you, you start to pick up on what people are doing.  Especially so when you have been there and done exactly what they’re doing, or you can look back at when you’ve seen the same thing before and didn’t realize it, but now you see it pretty clearly.

As a younger man I spent a few years working in a bar.  Watching the regulars I learned a few things.  Some people drink to forget, others drink to remember, and more still drink to make memories that they won’t always remember.  It changes with age and experience.

The odd thing is, those drinking to forget or those drinking to remember are always dealing with similar memories.  Drinking to forget is always the bad memories, the worst of what happened or just what led to the bad ending that they’re not happy with.  Drinking to remember is the good memories that preceded that bad ending, the memories that make them think of how great things once were and question how things got to where they are now.  Either way they’re dealing with the bad, and the drinking doesn’t help at all.

It’s sad to see, and it’s hard to reach out to someone when they’re in that state because you never know how they’ll react, and unless you’re doing the same thing you’re likely at that same bar for the opposite reason.  Hard to bring yourself down to help someone when you’re doing that.  That leaves the under appreciated therapist, the bartender to be there for someone who just wants to get drunk to fix their problems.  Standing there in the midst of bitter memories and old bar stools.

Bitter memories and old bar stools.

Places that attract lonely fools.

On a Friday night,

Stuck under the neon light.

Churning through the worst of the past.

Praying that this feeling won’t last.

With whiskey in hand,

Until it’s hard to stand.

Drinking to forget what he always remembers.

Nothing can quench those burning embers.

Not any whiskey here,

Not even their coldest beer.

Here sits the lonely memories of a bitter fool,

Still keeping the seat warm on this old bar stool.


It’s difficult to appreciate until you’ve been on both ends of it.  The day that you sit down at that bar drinking to find answers, no one to talk to, but you just want to be alone anyway.  That is when you really take notice of the bad memories that warm that old bar stool.