I’m sure most guys can say they’ve never had a drink thrown in their face or been slapped by a woman in a bar. Those are things you see in sitcoms.
But I had one of those things happen to me.
My girlfriend and I had met up with my buddy Gerald. He had a few female friends who were involved in a beauty pageant going on at the Beauty Bar. A blonde that was all over Gerald kept buying us drinks.
Gerald went to the bathroom, and to score points with my girl, I said, “You women are just as pretty as most of these women. And you have brains and personality to go with the looks.”
When Gerald came back, this blonde, who had had a lot to drink, said, “Josh just told me I was hotter than all these women.” I didn’t want him thinking that I put the moves on her when he was away, so I said, “No, that’s not exactly what I said.” She turned to me with an angry look and said, “You don’t think I’m hot?” She then hauled off and smacked me in the face. It made a loud sound and shocked the hell out of me. A few people around us wondered what was up. I wanted to punch her. But Gerald was laughing, so...whatever.
That woman called me a few days later and said that they all belong to a group called the “Dive Bar Club.” She told me about their next event. I didn’t make it to the next few, but I did eventually catch up with them.
I asked the blonde woman, Nikki, if she founded the group. She told me that she took it over five years ago.
The event we were at was not a dive bar; it was on the rooftop of a fancy hotel in East Village.
She told me that they pick a place to go to during happy hour and that it involves a bunch of builders and contractors who can network. Nikki said proudly, “We’ve had engagements come out this, business deals. People can be themselves in a casual atmosphere.”
I met a woman named Pamela who started a lingerie company. She was telling me about it when a couple of guys interrupted us.
Another guy came over to greet his friends. He had a lot of cologne on, and one guy said, “I could smell your car pull up downstairs, bro.”
I overheard Nikki talking about graphic design, and she mentioned that she liked to paint. I then watched as she poured a guy’s drink into her martini glass. Gerald said, “That move looked weird.” I said, “I think it’s classy drinking beer from a martini glass. I bet she extends her pinkie when she sips it.” She flipped us off and moved on to talk to some other friends. I preferred that to being slapped.
I overheard some guys talking about the height of a building. I asked them about the Sunroad building in Kearny Mesa that was supposedly too high. One of them said, “Oh, yeah, it was 20 feet that had to be cut off that building. They weren’t about to change the flight patterns because of it. There’s a lawsuit for $45 million over that.”
I asked him what he thought the outcome of the case would be. “What do you think? The City is going to have their ass sued off. That’s why these things involve permits.”
Another guy told me about a building in Miramar that was higher than 120 feet, but a deal was worked out under the table. A new radar system ended up being purchased, and they changed the flight path of the jets.
I heard a guy tell his friend that he needed a graphic artist. Someone heard this and said, “I’m a graphic artist.” A woman nearby said, “How graphic do you get?”
I overheard two women talking about their rules of dating. One said, “I don’t date anyone under 30. They’re not cooked yet. No military. I support them, but I won’t date them. No mama’s boys. Nobody with a hang-up on their ex. If they talk about that on the first date, I’m outta there. Nobody that is into wrestling or plays video games for hours.”
Those rules seemed reasonable.
As I headed out to my next event that evening, I saw a bunch of guys surrounding a black car at a stop sign. I thought someone must’ve been hit. The guy at the car was over 6’5”, and I saw that he was signing autographs. It was Padres pitcher Chris Young.
There was a woman sitting in the passenger seat as he signed. One fan took off his shoe and asked him to sign it. Surprisingly, no cars had come up behind him and gotten mad. The one time I did see a car pull up, it went around him. I asked Young if it was weird to be signing like that, and he said something about being asked to sign recently at a Target store.
As I continued walking, I glanced back and saw him finish signing for the ten fans around him.
There would be more autographs signed at the next event I went to — Cheech and Chong reunited. They would be on stage for the first time in 27 years at the Comedy Store in La Jolla.
I had purchased tickets thinking this was the case, as the ads read, “Tommy Chong and very special guest.” I had hoped it was Cheech Marin but was skeptical. When we got up there and saw the limos and heard people asking if there were extra tickets for sale, we figured Cheech was there.
I saw Dangerous Dick, a former KGB and Free FM DJ. I called him over. He said, “Oh, do you want to crash this? I can probably get you in.” I said, “Damn, that would’ve saved me $50 on tickets.” I showed Dick an album I’ve had since I was a kid and asked him if he could get it signed. “Yeah. I’ve been hanging out with them after the shows. I’m emceeing this.”
Someone pulled up out front in a truck that looked just like the vehicle in Up in Smoke. It had marijuana leaves painted all over it. People in line took photos next to it.
The first show Cheech and Chong did took a long time to let out. They were signing autographs and taking photos with fans.
Dick came out with my signed album, which I put back in my car.
Cheech and Chong weren’t that funny. They did many of the things taken straight out of their movies. But it was still great to be there and witness these comedic legends. Especially when I had planned on seeing George Carlin at Humphrey’s, and he died a month before the show. And Bernie Mac just died at age 50. Comedians seem to be dropping like flies.
Tommy Chong’s wife Shelby, whom he had met when she was in their movie Nice Dreams, was selling shirts and posters and told us it was $20 to take our picture and get things signed. We paid it. And we asked them to pretend to smoke a joint for the photo. Dick was taking the pictures.
I didn’t have anything for them to sign, and they ran out of the posters they were selling for $5. I had a basketball keychain and I said, “Hey, why don’t you guys sign this. You have the song ‘Basketball Jones,’ so...”
Cheech laughed as he tried to fit his signature on the small object. Chong looked at it strangely and I said, “Come on, you’ve probably been asked to sign weird things before. I saw you sign rolling paper outside of 4th&B ten years ago. And you’ve probably signed a number of bongs over the years.” He smiled and said, “Yeah, that’s true.”