As I write this, it’s been exactly one year since I’ve worked in a bar. For about ten years, I earned my pocket change, tuition, rent, salary or beer money tending barbouncing or barbacking. Yet, 365 days ago I turned in my "SECURITY" t-shirt for a sort of professional-looking polo shirt. I’ve compared my current teaching career to my bouncing career, and there are a lot of hilarious similarities: lots of fights, name-calling, crying, yelling, vomit and alcoholic drinks before, during or after shifts.

For a while, I kept this Bouncer Wisdom blog, even though nobody really seemed to care about it except the few people who commented that I’m basically nothing but a failure, meathead, small-dicked jerk, nobody, power-tripping fool, flunkie or any other name you can think of.

Despite the name-calling, there are some days I miss the simplicity of bouncing. It wasn’t all cracking skulls and one-liners. Meeting girls, making tax-free cash, paper ball soccer, pretending to skip rope, dancing, drinking on the job and earning free drinks or food at the best spots in town made up for the insults, crappy hours and crappier pay.

To be honest, fights really don’t happen all that much, they just happen to be one of the only interesting things about the bouncing gig. Nobody wants to hear how you saw 46 different Vermont driver’s licenses the other night. As you tell stories, they’re eager to listen to your bout with the Mexican Godzilla Man.

As I said before, my one-liners sucked. And that’s mostly where my haters pointed out how badly I suck at life and being clever. Oh well. My mom says I’m special.

Why are girls attracted to bouncers? I don’t know. Because these girls are drunk as well as desperate and the bartenders wouldn’t look at them twice. I never pulled in nearly as much tail as I should have, but being a bouncer is a lot more attractive than a lot of positions I guess. KC the Bouncer saw a lot more ladies than KC the Assistant Magazine editor or KC the Schoolteacher. 

The money, even though it ends up to be about $10 an hour, was neat. Putting it into perspective, I earned cash that neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama could put their tax-hungry hands on. Instead, I spent (wasted) these hard-earned dollars on tuition. Or booze from a different bar. Also, during my glory days, I attended school, so the fact that I had about $200 in my Batman piggy bank made me the Bill Gates of my classmates.

For the most part, working the door is a really boring job, which makes for some great conversation or invented games. Thunder, Vicious and I played a lot of imaginary Double Dutch, that seemed to impress absolutely nobody but helped pass some really boring $2 Tuesdays.

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I sometimes wish I could still sneak some sort of liquor into my teacher’s Thermos, but that would be wrong—for some reason, I’m not really sure what. But I will say, that first beer on a Friday night after a weeklong of teaching usually tastes sort-of-good. Don’t forget, I’m living in Korea, so all the beer tastes like Coors Light’s red-headed stepchild.

One of the best fringe benefits about the bar is drinking and eating on the cheap. Restaurant and bar folk are a giant fraternity, and they like to take care of each other. Mostly, because we all tip too much. But also, because we’re friends. Being a bouncer allows you to take your girlfriend, parents, buddies or "real job" coworkers out to the nicest place in town doesn’t always cost you a left nut and your firstborn.

I know bouncers aren’t generally thought of as bright people, but I always enjoyed deflating that nonsense. I’d read a book on the door and somebody would say, "You can read?!?!" I’d usually answer with, "Your dad lets you buy all your boyfriends shots on his credit card?" Actually, I never said that, but I bet that might have been mildly funny.

The hours in a bar suck, as does getting vacations or holidays off, which unfortunately, is exactly what teaching in Korea is like. But that’s another sad ninny song.

I guess I can look to a few enlightening factors. A drunk hasn’t punched me in more than a year, but children do it multiple times a day. Nobody says, "What do you know? You’re just a bouncer." Sluts don’t say, "I’ll suck you off if you let my 17-year-old cousin inside." My parents don’t act embarrassed when they say, "Oh KC. Yes, he’s working now. As a teacher." They used to dread the "What does your son do?" question.

If there’s anything I truly miss, it’s the great people I worked with. As awful as the nights, tips or patrons were, I knew I always had a fun crew to hang out with.

Whether at my first bartending job at The Campus Diner in New York City… actually no, there wasn’t anybody cool in there, but I did get proposed to by a girl who really really wanted a screwdriver.

Then there was Catacombs at Boulder, which really showed me how great a staff could really be. Most of what I learned about being a great employee in a bar or in the real world came from that place.

Of course, no "Old Job List" would be complete without my next and longest bar gig: The Foundry. Many of my best friends in the world happened to work there, and everything I learned about drinking on the job to kicking ass to being a smartass happened at this place. At one time, I was even asked to write a book about it, but that’s been 75% finished for about two years now. Oops.

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Then there was Finnerty’s Irish Pub for a short bit, where the head bouncer thought headbutting was a good substitute for shaking hands.

Bar None’s patrons made the stars of "Jersey Shore" look like decent human beings that shouldn’t be sterilized.

Josie Wood’s proved to me that working in an Irish bar is almost as fun as working in a Chilean mine.

I’d like to pretend I never worked at the New Foundry, but I did, thankfully getting fired in the best way possible. Never did I think the New Foundry would be douchier and dirtier and less fun than the "Real" Foundry.

A stint at Mamacita’s on the Hill in Boulder, Colorado was lackluster. As was Glenn’s Bar down the street—but at least their pizza tasted good and the delivery guys always had great weed they’d share.

Finally, Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Wicked Garden couldn’t have been better places to end my career. There was never a lot of money to be made at Conor’s, but I enjoyed not having to throttle college kids every time I blinked. And wow, did people there drink! Allegedly, Conor’s sells more Guinness than most bars in the USA. Their Jameson is also pretty good too.

I’ve never been a club guy, but Wicked was a blast, with some of the wildest craziest people ever. And I guess the clientele was okay too. I’ll never forget the night our boss gave us a pot brownie without telling us that we should only take a bite, not eat the entire thing. As a paranoid high person, this was the most terrifying night I’ve ever bounced. Mostly because I thought all the flashing lights on the dancefloor were miniature space policemen trying to arrest me for being unlawfully stoned and wearing Spongebob Squarepants undies.

Will I ever put on a too-tight, black t-shirt and waterproof Dickies pants again? I really really really hope not. Because a lot of this stuff is fun when you’re 22, but not when you’re 32.

Maybe someday I’ll own KC’s Corner, with the finest whiskeys and waitresses in the land. In the corner will be a few dartboards stocked with throwing knives, a Korean crane game full of stupid plush toys and Ms. Pac-Man that instantly makes me it’s high score holder. Perhaps celebs will come there, or just my adoring fans. Maybe this will be a bar I’ll actually want to go to. Who knows?

Until then, it’s last call for this old bouncer.

More in the "Bouncer Wisdom" series:

Bouncer Wisdom: Respect at the Door
Bouncer Wisdom: Door Dough
Bouncer Wisdom: Bar Room Brawls
Bouncer Wisdom: Bulletproof Juice
Bouncer Wisdom: One-Liners
Bouncer Wisdom: Chewing Tobacco
Bouncer Wisdom: Disguises
Bouncer Wisdom: Hook Ups
Bouncer Wisdom: Retirement