People don't come to bars just to get drunk, hit on yetis, avoid their wives and shit on the windows. Since they're generally boring and/or revolting, they come to talk. When it's slow and I can't avoid them by flirting with 19-year-old NYU students or by counting ice cubes, I have to listen. Why do people think I care about their ex-wives, boy-toys or other problems?

Usually I advise a few things: 1. Sleep on it. 2. Tell her your feelings. 3. Don't lose control. 4. Tomorrow is a new day.

But a few times I've encountered a problem to which I have no sly answer. Here are a few…

A relatively attractive middle-aged woman comes up to me in the bar. "It's so nice to be out. I have been stuck inside for about a year."

"Oh yeah, why is that?" I ask.

"I just had another baby two months ago. This was my third. It was a girl. That's the father, my husband, setting up billiards for us." This dude looked like he combs his hair with motor oil and used to carry a switchblade in a Mexican street gang.

"Well, congratulations. That beer is on me."

A few minutes after her singular beer she slurs, "So you're cute. When can I see you again?"

"I work just about every night except Sundays and Wednesdays."

"No. When can I SEE (wink) you again?"

I glance at the ex-Vato who's thankfully sizing up a cue.

"I don't understand," I stammer.

Yelling and somewhat begging, "I want to fuck you!"

"Ummmmmm. "

As I'm bouncing and a guy about my age is talking to me about his free-trade gravity bong or solar-powered windmill or something. Then three greasy-looking dudes leave. The guy looks at them with disgust and says to me, "My ex-girlfriend used to fuck those guys for crack."

"Um. Really?" I ask.

"Yeah, I should know. I had to pay for the abortion."

A couple of guys talk to me about how New York City USED to be. It USED to be so much better. You could buy crack on every corner. You'd get mugged on your way home from lunch. Tourists used to get shot in broad daylight, and nobody would say anything because they didn't want to get involved. Nothing like a healthy dose of nostalgia. Then I get this sweet line.

"Yeah, I was driving in Midtown once and hit a fuckin' guy with my fuckin' car. He fuckin' flipped right into his fuckin' laundry cart! Hahahahahahahaha!"

They both laugh.

"I couldn't stop laughing. So I just took off. I have no idea if I killed him or not. That's the way the City USED to be bro."

Some skank chats up my fellow bartender.

SKANK: "I like you. You're kind of dirty."

BT: "Since when do girls like dirty guys?"

SKANK: "Since me."

Old Boy Roy is in the bar. He sees commercial for an Ultimate Fighting-type show in town.

"Rage in the Cage! Ho boy, have I been in one of those before!"

"I didn't know you were a fighter."

"Damn straight I was. None of this faggot shit though. I was in the clink. The tank. The pen."

"Fuck," is all I can think to say.

"That's right. California State Penitentiary. Two counts of manslaughter. Motherfuckers locked me up for that pissant shit. If only they knew what else I done."

I pause, not really knowing what to say. "You're here now and that's all that matters."

"You know the biggest fuckin' mistake they made about me? Do you, Son?"

I shake my head in fear.

"Those stupid motherfuckers," he cackles, the way only a double murderer can cackle. "They fuckin' let me out!"