From the December 2012 magazine.

December 2012: My Bartender

Another alcoholic was found dead yesterday, emaciated and slumped over the side of his chair in his living room. I knew him; he used to serve me drinks at my favorite watering hole. We had mutual appreciative disrespect for each other; in other words, we were both drunks, and the joke was that we were both losers. He was incredibly smart, with a brain that could store massive amounts of historical facts. But as with most drunks, he was not as smart as he thought.

I was a young guy when I first met him; I was not even legal to drink. I was a loner, and he was one of the few people I saw on a regular basis. Like most loner drunks, the bar was my salvation, and when I would go drink during one of his shifts, I was hoping he would acknowledge my presence with some sort of excitement or happiness, but he never did. I would over-tip him just so he would think I was a good guy. I wanted him to accept me; I wanted that whole group of drinkers who hung in the corner to take me in to their world of inebriated acceptance. I thought maybe if they took me in, that would be a sign I was not such a loser.

-- Chris M..

Buffalo, New York

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