Punch Drunk 

Jack's Fall Mailbag


The mailbag: a time-honored act in which the writer completely softballs his readers while maintaining the illusion of progress and self-improvement, or in this case, an act undertaken because a certain politician squirmed his way out of being interviewed, leaving this writer scrambling to produce enough words by deadline. As always, these are very real questions either emailed to me or asked in person.

Jack, I'm a single woman in my late 20s, and I consider myself fairly attractive. I like being in sports bars during football season because of all the guys who come in. But I hate football. How can I connect with them during the game?

Don't let the over-analyzing, emo-pro-fem types fool you. Being fairly attractive is the best — and to those lucky enough to be so afflicted, the only starting point. Given that gift, life merely becomes the game of logistics.

First go to nfl.com and purchase a form-fitting women's jersey. It doesn't matter what team. Next, perform a cursory Google search on your new favorite team. Click on "news" and read that day's storylines regarding said team. Memorize a few basics, such as the quarterback and head coach's names. Now go to the bar, sit down and order a drink.

Sloppy men with lower-than-standard social skills whose sole interests lie in sports — which quite honestly are the only type of men you find at most sports bars — will find you.

To settle is human; to forgive the laundry list of red flags and sleep with some idiot you meet at Buffalo Wild Wings, divine.

Jack, what do you do when you're with friends who get drunk and start pissing off the bartenders and servers? I don't want to be lumped in with them.

Simple courtesy, as in most cases, goes a long way. Take the bartender aside and apologize for your friends, even going as far to slip them a little cash, depending on the level of asshole you pal around with. Reprimand your friends if needed and tell them to make it right with the barman. If that fails, go to another bar and find new friends.

The company you keep says a lot about you, and life is way too short to fraternize with bores who can't handle their liquor. College was a blast, but that's over now.

Jack, have you ever served any celebrities at your bar? Who were they and what were they like?

No, unless you count Channel 8's Juan Conde. Smooth talker. Smelled of fresh lavender. Hung like a bull moose.

Jack, it seems like you're always complaining about stuff. Doesn't anything make you happy? And I'm not talking about sex.

Family and friends? I'm supposed to say that, I think.

Honestly though: Knowing that a good book followed by a good nap is waiting for me. Sitting silently at a favorite bar with a drink and that day's New York Times. Getting immovably stoned and watching a favorite comedy. Waking up for breakfast and finding that I have both cereal and milk. Witnessing misfortune befall my enemies. Getting paid.

The list does not go on.


Shades of Buddy's

By now many of you have heard that 11-year Fan mainstay and popular Virginia Commonwealth University hangout Baja Bean Co. has been informed that its lease at 1520 W. Main St. won't be renewed come October 2013. This clears the way for building owner John Conrad to develop a new business in the gigantic basement and porch spaces occupied by the Bean.

Business is business, and it's a waste of breath to castigate Conrad for his decision, but there's also no need to let this ship sail quietly. Baja Bean has meant so much to so many, especially VCU students and younger Fan residents. From cheap Tecate to even cheaper tacos (whose quality, admittedly, varies from decent to awful), to a patio that's unmatched in Richmond, Baja Bean is one of a kind.

And while the space that Baja laughingly refers to as a bathroom appears to be modeled after the seventh circle of hell, the service and friendly vibe have always more than made up for that one jarring oversight.

So not surprisingly, a Save Baja Bean Facebook page has been started at Facebook.com/SaveBajaBean. Go take a moment to "like" the page and leave a kind note or memory from your times spent there. It may or may not make a difference — but as with any grass-roots effort, a groundswell must begin somewhere.


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