I don't know if I've been waiting for a chance, but it made me laugh and an invitation to tell it is enough to get me to recount it.
It's about two guys who frequent the bar I work at, both are great guys but very different.
Ken is a black man in his late 30's, he was prom king, has more than 2k facebook friends, he promotes some of my towns most popular black social events for people in his age group and younger. He is a handsome, charming, super chill guy who loves hip hop and is a mover and player in the local black young adult community.
Julian is a high strung white kid in his early twenties, talks at a million miles a second and is the furthest thing from chill. He pushes opinions on anything he feels passionate about with relentless arrogance and feels passionate about hip hop.
Both these guys know each other by site, they have shot the breeze as regulars at a bar do but neither really knows each other well. They started up a conversation about hip hop and it was intense. "What's the greatest album," "who's the greatest MC?" "who's got the smartest lyrics?" "who's got the best flow?"
Julian was a terrier, verbally pulling, nipping and shacking in favor of his favorite artists. Laid back Ken responded with gentle "come on man what about xxxxxxx or yyyyyy, don't you think that they really left a bigger mark?" Julians all invective, Ken all calm persuasion. About an hour and a half into the discussion Ken's looking tired, he has a "someone please shut this guy up" look on his face.
By this time I was a bit concerned about the way things were heading, it was close to close and I had a lot to do. I wasn't looking to nursemaid a conversation. I hold both guys in esteem and didn't want to see any distaste or bad blood between regulars but I also wanted to go home, so I let it flow. I probably shouldn't have. Kens like royalty. His house is kitty corner to back patio of the bar, he was the first paying customer that wasn't a friend of the owners, he was a paying customer before the place actually opened for business. Kens brings in a lot of business and more importantly he sometimes even brings us dinner (Ken is an excellent cook). Basically he is a solid gold customer. He is a friend and a guy I maybe should have saved from having to listen an hour and a half harangue from some starry eyed kid. Did I mention Ken is also the primary caregiver for his ancient, alzheimer's ridden, frail and demented grandfather? Shit, Ken is one standup guy.
Julian is a pretty solid guy as well. We aren't a kid friendly bar. We don't serve dropshots, long islands, energy drinks or a great many other youth friendly drinks. We mostly serve great big pores of reasonably priced drinks. If you want to order something that has more than two ingredients it better be a margarita, old fashioned, hot toddy or collins, don't try ordering a "white gummy bear" because it isn't' going to happen. Back to Julian, if you find a kid (24 year old) who is fun, social, can hold his liquor and is happy to get a great big shot with a free beer back, you want him to stick around. We could use some more kids (diversify, diversify as long as it's on your own terms), he'll grow up to be a mature drinker and maybe I don't need Julian to feel the stink eye from Ken when he's bombastically throwing himself around the place.
Julian also has the distinction of being a bit of a hero. When out with a young lady, late at night, he was assaulted by a insane sex maniac at knife point. Julian and his date were held at knifepoint for about a half hour. The man jumped out a bush while Julian and his date were walking. He put a knife to the young ladies throat and another against Julians ribs. He told Julian that the girl was dead if he tried anything or ran. After about a half hour standoff, in which the guy promised to do a bunch of super horrible sexual stuff to them both, the guy took a poke a Julians ribs, drawing blood. Julian exploded in a desperate do or die assault. He managed to free the young lady and she ran for help. In addition to several vicious defensive wounds on his hands and the shallow wound in his side, Julian was stabbed just above his collarbone and had the knife exit just under his shoulder blade, puncturing his lung (it was a stupid long knife to get stabbed with and the guy buried it in Julians chest). The assailant ran from the scene and Julian collapsed. Julian ended up spending a little less than a week in the hospital and didn't pay for most of his drinks many weeks after the incident, The sex maniac was apprehended that very evening. So basically, he is a young, loud mouth affable hero whose way I try to smooth and civilise.
Roughly estimating, I'd say that the odds of a glorious celebration and understanding between generations, race and Suburban/Urban backgrounds cemented between love of hip hop was at about 20%.
Ken asks Julian how old he is, Julian tells him that he is twenty four. Ken smiles. "Twenty four?, Twenty four?, Awwww, you are nothing but a baby." He says "You don't know anything." Ken proceeds to quiz Julian about the foundations of Rap. While not amazing in the scope of his knowledge, Julian mostly keeps his footing on the shaky ground of a twenty four year old white suburban background, especially when contrasted against thirty seven year old hip hop party producer Kens intimate knowledge. That being said Ken was on the attack. Ken had been through and hour and a half of arrogant and bombastic lecturing and was going point by point through the cannon, finding gaps in Julians armor. Then they came to Tupac.
"What was Tupacs first album" Ken asked?
"Oh Shit, Oh Shit, I don't know what his first album was" Julian said, looking up at the ceiling, ponderous and unmanned. "What was Tupacs first album? I have no idea." he said.
"Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.." said Ken, pursed lips, head tilted back, smiling. You could see the "you don't know shit kid" coursing through his countenance (Wikipedia says that Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.. is his second album but I could give a fuck).
"Well how could I know that?" Julian replied "That album obviously wasn't meant for me!"
Kens jaw dropped and burst out with a huge guffaw. Ken laughed for the next twenty minutes, he probably laughed as he headed home after I had kicked everyone out of the place. I know Ken added another facebook friend and hopes to get Julians jest on World Star, and having an additional facebook friend and I bet Julian goes to Kens next party.
Same night some guy tried to order a "Jim Crow" neat. I'm sure he was vacillating between a Jim Beam or an Old Crow and just had everything go wrong, but shit... To his credit he took the debilitating but good natured mocking he got with humility and proceeded to return to his table, drink his drink and get another. It's surprising how often bartenders have to navigate race, class, sexuality and general realities.
I don't think I've written a story in years. Half in the bag here, thinking about someone who passed recently, it would have been his birthday today. I'm sure that my grammar is atrocious, ah well. There was a time many years ago when I could reliably write narrative, hope I didn't waste your time.