Cocktail hours are pretty popular these days. Bars and restaurants offer drinks for a lower price during the cocktail hours only.
If I owned a saloon, I would invite like-minded people for a specific hour. Most people would rather drink with people they like, and I would avoid verbal and physical fights for the most part.
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My cocktail hour schedule would read as follows:
• 5 to 6 p.m.: Only optimists welcome at this specific hour. They would be upbeat, laughing often and spreading good cheer for the bartender. They would compliment the bartender and look forward to their next anything. They would greet the patrons with hugs and depart with hugs. Their common sense factors might be a tad low.
• 6 to 7 p.m.: Pessimists would be invited to attend this hour. Before they walked through the bar doors, they would anticipate poor service, weak drinks and no fun. Of course, they would be positive the bartender will short-change them. There would not be any hugs and everyone, including the bartender, would feel better when they left.
• 7 to 8 p.m.: This hour would be for Sierra Club members and members of the Tea Party — who are not like-minded people. There would be arguments galore, no compromises verbally or otherwise, and a lot of name calling. Sierra Club members would label the Tea Party group as “urban terrorists.” Tea Party members would describe the Sierra Club members as naïve and accuse them of having both feet firmly planted in the air. Business would be slow this hour because everyone would be shouting and forgetting to drink. The bartender would suffer a migraine headache and throw both groups out. My attempt to invite people who were not alike would fail.
• 8 to 9 p.m.: Christians only would be invited to this cocktail hour, except on Sundays. The liberal, moderate and conservative Christians would debate Bible verses quietly and ask God to forgive those who disagreed with them. Someone would point out that they did not do a blessing before the first drink, and all would bow their heads. Three people would try to convert the bartender and a young couple who was just passing through. “May God Bless You” would be said at least four times. Tips would be 10 percent.
• 9 to 10 p.m.: This would be the cocktail hour for atheists only. There would be no blessing offered before the first drink or otherwise. The phrase “For God’s Sake,” “In God’s Name,” or “God Knows I Tried” would not be uttered. Discussions would be pretty logical and would not include the subjects of heaven or hell. There would be lots of laughs about politics and politics and politics.
The AARP magazine contained the following statement: “Believe This: People who are highly cynical are more likely to develop dementia, according to a Finnish study published in the journal ‘Neurology.’ Those who strongly agreed with statements such as ‘I think most people would lie to get ahead’ were three times more likely to develop dementia than more trusting types.”
I am not surprised that highly cynical people are more likely to develop dementia than more trusting types. Their minds are probably exhausted from always looking at the dark side of life. Hope is not part of their world picture. They dismiss optimism. They expect just about everything to go bad. They visualize failure and despair, and their favorite expression is “I told you so” when things go haywire or wrong. Perhaps the brain gets sick of the doomsday dialogue and turns itself off?
Bob Billingsley is a columnist at the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.