Anyone else a fan of the old re-runs of Cheers? I was at the bar Cheers in Boston a couple of times last year while on vacation, and while it wasn't as cool as the show, it did bring back some good memories. Cliff Clavin was always good for a laugh.
I have a semi regular guest who for whatever reason really prefers me. I don't know if I listen better or what, but suffice it to say that this guy must've dropped enough acid in the 70's to give a whole herd of elephants a bad trip. I've actually tried to avoid him at times, but I always seem to have an open table when this guy comes in. He sometimes comes alone, and other times he comes with his fiance. How this guy got a woman to stick around I'll never know. I'll explain.
Whatever the word is for the step beyond bizarre, that is this guy. He has the bald hippie mullet - long hair in back, balding on top - Think of the old Tommy Chong loosing his hair. His fashion sense is something between dirty rock star and homeless, but thankfully always clean. Spend more than 20 seconds with him, and he'll remind you how long he has been sober. Each. And. Every. Time. You. Talk. To. Him. In an average meal I'll be reminded of his sobriety at least 20 times, and that is in no way an exaggeration. And I think that is great, but the thing is, every time he tells you this, he appears to think it is the first time he's ever told it to you. After a few years, this can get annoying.
It is clear that drugs have had a major negative impact on his life. Once when he came in by himself, his bill totaled something like $30 (he does eat well) and he tried to give me $200 in payment. You might be saying POCKET THE MONEY FOOL! But that isn't my way. I earn mine, not take advantage of others, plus, if someone called in and complained it would be obvious who waited on him. I always get him. So I always end up making change for him because he doesn't really seem to get money. Other times he hasn't given me enough and I've had to convince him to give more. I've spoken with his fiance about this and she gave me an amount that should it happen again, that I can keep beyond what his bill is. I'm cool with that. And I know he means me no harm.
This woman by all appearances seems normal. She's a healthy middle age woman, and I am always confused at how, in spite of love, even she could deal with this guy on a day to day basis. For the most part, she appears to take care of his money, and him for that matter. And in that regard, I have wondered if that is why she is around. Not to bilk him from his stash of cash, I think she could've already done that had she wanted to, but to maintain access to it. I don't know where it is from, but this guy has money. You couldn't tell it by the way he dresses, but when you talk with him for a while, you can piece together from where he lives, what he drives (scary that he is on the road!) and where he vacations, that there is a big pile of money somewhere. I think she could've taken the money and run, but yet she remains.
So while he is not mentally all there, he is pretty smart. He can't remember at times what he ordered 10 minutes ago, but he can spout off factoids at an amazing rate. Never anything that is useful mind you, but information nonetheless. And as odd as it sounds, his "specialty" is what I can only call "anti-conspiracy theory". He is passionate about debunking any known conspiracy theory. Who killed Kennedy? That is a 2 hour conversation. Area 51? You might never go home. And when he starts off on this, you can literally walk away from the table, and come back 20 minutes later and he'll still be talking about it. Even if no one else is there. And as he tells you these things, he has the most non-linear way of doing it I have ever experienced. In the middle of telling you all about the make and model of the gun used to kill JFK, he'll throw in a random and completely unrelated fact. "You should be carefull driving. A sedan only has a .32 coefficent on icy roads, and your van is even worse." Like an autistic Cliff Clavin. You had to know I'd tie this back into Cheers somehow. So out spouts something random, and often absurdly hilarious. And the thing is he never stops talking. From the moment he hits the booth to the time he walks out the door, he talks. Whatever it is in your brain that shuts your mouth off, he is missing.
And while all of this is tolerable for a while, I cannot imagine 24/7/365. This woman is an angel. But the redeeming thing of all of this is that this guy is amazingly sweet. While as odd a duck as I have ever encountered, he is always over the top nice and friendly, like the weed and acid killed his ability to experience anger. And he is always a gentleman with his lady, and always, ALWAYS talks about her like she is the divine manifestation of God in flesh. Even when she is sitting right there.
So I generally enjoy waiting on him. You never know what you are going to get, but without question you know you will get a good show. And if you pay attention, you might actually learn something. Probably not something useful, but something nonetheless.
And that brings us back to Cliff Clavin, who gives us one of the greatest quotes of all time.
One night at Cheers, Cliff Clavin explained the" Buffalo Theory" to his buddy Norm: "Well ya see, Norm, it's like this. A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, use the general speed and health of the whole group keeps living by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers."