always carry cash.

a little over a week ago, on a saturday night, i was lured to ri ra irish pub by a few customers who were in the store on friday night. they were amicable enough, and i felt a little guilty for turning down their invitation from the previous night, so i agreed to meet them, if only to give them a taste of southern hospitality (they were both originally from ohio, though one now lives in west virginia).

a coworker begrudgingly agreed to accompany me. we found them on the upstairs balcony, surrounded by another friend they had told us about in the store and a group of people from charlotte they had met the night before. we sat on the fringes, making jokes to ourselves and joining conversations when possible. one of the guys, ironically also from ohio, told us that he hated canadians because of the united states’s hockey loss at the olympics. then he softened, telling us, my coworker and i, that he respected us, shaking our hands as he told each of us in turn.

later, another guy in the group, exasperatedly said, i don’t understand your dry humor, and quickly added, another canadian acting like he’s superior. briefly, i thought about replying that canadian superiority is an oxymoron, neither held by canadians themselves (i mean, i myself believe canada is just america’s hat — america’s awesome hat, but still) nor, more importantly, any other person in the world aside from him, but thought he would just end up misinterpreting my tone and feel further maligned and indignant. if i had to make a guess about the cause of his anger, i would say he was likely molested by a canadian in his youth. this would also explain his homosexuality (geez, i’m kidding, i’m kidding, but, seriously, did you check out that article: stephen baldwin has become such a bigot since bio-dome).

since i was doing such a great job of making friends (there’s that incomprehensible, dry sense of humor again), i told them about my hatred for ohio state university, even showing them a picture of the license plate i’d recovered from the scene. see, i’d already asked them which state was high in the middle and round on both sides, so i had no other relevant material.

during the short night i had ordered a vodka and soda and two pints of fat tire. i went to close my tab after finishing the third drink. the bartender asked me to repeat my name, as she had each of the other times i had gone to her. she couldn’t find a record of my bill on the computer. i gave her my card and she looked it up again, shrugged and told me that it had been closed already. we shot confused looks at each other. i said, thanks, i guess, almost inaudibly.

the following day my bank account registered a charge for fifty-eight dollars. i argued that it was possible that this was the authorization amount, so i waited for it to clear. it did on tuesday, now seventy-eight dollars. i called ri ra and spoke with a manager who told me in addition to a vodka and soda and fat tire, i had also ordered eight shots of baby guinness and given the bartender a jackson (that’s what i call twenties now).

i called again wednesday. she said she’d call me back at four when the bartender from that night came in. she didn’t, so thursday i walked there to knock some heads together. unfortunately, this time the manager wasn’t there until four. this time, though, she called me, saying she wanted to get it settled that evening. the bartender told her that after i closed my tab, i returned ten minutes later trying to close it again, before walking away confused.

briefly i wondered if this could be true. maybe i was developing a split personality where my charitable side overlooked my pecuniary restraint. maybe i had entered a parallel universe of sorts where i knew what a baby guinness was and where i gave people that continuously could not recall even the first letter of my last name a tip that was larger than thirty percent. i broke out in a cold sweat.

the manager asked if i was near a computer, and if i would look at the receipt from that night. a few minutes later i received the following:

Scott Le Receipt1

needless to say, my card has been credited. i also asked for the bartender responsible to be fired, but i’m pretty sure she still works there.


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