Miss Karen and I went on an impromptu pub crawl last evening, exploring parts of the Jersey Shore that we have not visited in some time. The fact that it was early on a Monday night speaks volumes about our thrilling social life. A lot happened in a couple of hours, which I will share with you shortly, but Miss Karen made a comment that got me thinking.
We wandered into a small, kitschy Irish bar in Asbury Park. We scooted up on our bar stools, and seconds later a large man with a mop of black hair, clad in a black tee-shirt and black cargo shorts, stepped up from across the bar. With a big smile, in a loud and enthusiastic voice, with an accent straight out of County Cork he said, “WHAT CAN I GIT FOR YE?”
We ordered our beers and admired the decor quietly. After a moment, Miss Karen said, “Do you think he is really Irish?”
Then it hit me. If I got hired as a bartender I would listen to tapes of Irish people until I had the accent down. And then I would create a character. Make up a name (Paddy O’Furniture!) and a back story. Think of the tales I could tell of my adventures as an itinerant bartender.
I would regale my customers with stories of my formative years in Killarney. Hiking the Camino de Santiago the summer after high school. The months long romance with the green-eyed girl from Andalusia. Sailing on a tramp steamer in Southeast Asia. Bungee jumping in Christ Church.
Oh, the stories! Oh, the tips!
And no one would care that not one word of it is the truth.
We are not far from our ancestors seated around a campfire, listening intently to one of our tribe telling a story.
It is not falsehood, at least not with an intent to deceive. It is enhanced reality meant to elicit feelings, and sometimes even to instruct.
I met a gentleman named Larry Herman who recently started a company called Molosser Apparel that sells high performance clothing for dogs. He can tell you all about specs and awards, but it is the story that matters. See if you don’t agree.