It’s funny, the things one remembers from college.  I went to Northern Michigan University in Marquette and I remember little about my studies and nothing about my professors, with the exception of Jerry Cushman and Phillip Legler.  Jerry Cushman was my big crush – my gay, modern dance teacher who choreographed the troupe, writhing on dusty floors and chucking animal blood to Beethoven, a la  A Clockwork Orange.  Dr. Leggler was the professor who used to lock the door to his shabby, poet-in-residence office whenever I came by.  He was Anne Sexton’s lover right before she poured a glass of vodka, shut the door to her garage and started the car…


But I don’t want to talk bout my college crushes. Or dead poets.  I want to talk about Barflies.  In the town of Marquette there is a bar on every corner.  Our favorite was on the edge of town, next to the train tracks.  I don’t remember the name, I don’t even think it’s there anymore, but it’s where I learned to drink and play pool.  We all know how good I am at drinking.  Ask Jon Jon about my obnoxious, uber-skill at billiards (he will not play me).


Now you know why I have little recollection of my studies.


Let’s call this bar The Alibi.  It was nestled near a soup kitchen and a flop house, which was convenient for most of its patrons.  I was underage and no one seemed to care.  It is the first place I ever saw people wait outside at 10 AM for a bar to open.  It is the first place I ever saw a woman fall off a bar stool.  I remember it in snippets: emerald green, old maps, deer heads, dark roots in platinum hair, B.O., scarred pine, beer nuts, blue chalk in paper…


Recently, Rosalind wrote me a comment about how pitiful women over 40 look when they’re drunk.  It reminded me of Marquette and The Alibi.  The Alibi is the first place I ever saw those women of a certain age who sit at one end of the bar, lipstick a little smeared, a smokers rattle, “flirting” with the guys.  I call them BARFLIES.  Is it sexist that I think of the word as feminine?   If so I don’t care.



To me, a barfly is a woman who’s life did not turn out the way she expected.   She sees herself in the flattering scrim of a wine glass reflection.  She’s a triple bagger, coyote ugly and a sure thing (nudge, nudge – wink, wink).


Ladies, DO NOT let this happen to you.


Today I’m not drinking because I’m NOT a barfly…

How come you’re not drinking?