The comics hook is that I borrowed the title from an old Doonesbury, one dating to the distant era when the sight of a long-haired bartender at an old fogies function was worth a few gags.
Hey, Bartender! I Think You Kids Are Great
by Tom Crippen
I spend a lot of time at the Cafe Depot and the Second Cup, two chain coffee shops with outlets here in Montreal. My message today: the kids working behind the counter are great. They’re hard working, cheerful, unflappable. They make shit, something like $8.50 an hour. The tips are worse. I’m one of the biggest tippers they’ve got, and I give them peanuts.
The schmucks get up at 5 in the morning, trudge thru Montreal snow and ice, clean toilets, deal with clowns counting out pennies to pay for a cup of coffee. Then the kids go off to study or play in their rock bands or whatever. I don’t know how they do it all; I wouldn’t have the energy.
In the ’90s I worked at a newspaper in New York where kids the same age made $25 an hour and spent most of their time sitting around. And boy, did they bitch when there was something to do. (Yeah, Krajick, I mean you.) Maybe Montreal is better than New York, maybe constant work is better than idleness. Maybe, my favorite theory, the world is on an upward trajectory and the latest generation is the product of better child rearing than previous ones. Maybe not. But it’s nice to have something nice that you can take for granted. And now that I have written this post, that’s what I”m going to go back to doing.
One caveat: the pretty girls treat me like I’ve got a disease. But what else is new?