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Alcohol does weird things to many of us, especially those of us blessed (or at times, cursed) with something called the “gift of gab”. Memories of past conquests and failures seem to rush to the forefront of your brain and spill out of your mouth like hot lava, burning the ears of your intended audience. Details of said stories are either greatly exaggerated or omitted entirely in order to make the story worth telling.

The thing about someone with the gift of gab is that they need an audience. I mean, have you ever sat at the bar and wanted to just have a couple of drinks and be alone with your thoughts when all of sudden a complete stranger starts bending your ear.

I am that stranger…

I think I was on the road, doing some traveling for my company and trying to make new contacts and whatnot. Don’t let anybody kid ya, the life of a traveling salesman, while often sounding glamorous and fraught with tales of adventure and fine dining, is often a lonely one. Hotel rooms, no matter how hard they try to put that homey touch on them, always seem empty. That’s why you see so many people (men especially) drooped over their over-priced drinks in the hotel bar. Nobody wants to go back to their room.

Sittin’ thinkin’ sinkin’ drinkin’
Wondering what I’ll do when I’m through tonight
Smokin’ mopin’ maybe just hopin’
Some little girl will pass on by

I mean, that’s most men’s dream isn’t it? Fella’s you know what I’m talkin’ about. That fantasy of a chance encounter when you’re just getting ready to close down the place and call it a night when all of sudden in walks some broad who looks like she popped right out of a beer commercial. The proverbial “two ships passing in the night” and no strings attached” one-night stand where you’re gonna find yourself in a new town the next day anyway. Oh yeah, the only thing your left with is a smile and maybe a small case of the guilts.

To wanna be alone
But I love my girl at home
I remember what she said
She said, my! my! my!
Don’t tell lies!
Keep ‘fidelity in your head!
My! my! my! don’t tell lies!
When you’ve done your show go to bed
Don’t say hi! like a spider to a fly
Jump right ahead and you’re dead!

Well, see that’s the whole thing. Most of usually have somebody else waiting for them at home. Wife, girlfriend, lover, friends with benefits, I don’t care. Most of us have (or have had) somebody and chances are that if that certain somebody finds out you’ve been playing around on company time you’re gonna be in a world of shit. Everything you worked for, the trust, the intimacy, the feeling of being special is tossed in the trash heap should the word ever get out that you’ve been fucking around. Sorry for the harsh language but sometimes you just gotta call a spade a spade.

Oh, you might try and explain away your actions in the form of “she didn’t mean anything to me” or a drunken night of passion but chances are the other person ain’t buying it. (If you have managed to do this, please let me know, I’ll gladly surrender my user name and admit defeat). They might say they do but in their eyes, you’ll never be the same. It’s just something that you know is like ammunition in the back of their brain, just waiting to be detonated in the event you screw up again.

Sit up, fed up, low down. go ’round
Down to the bar at the place I’m at
Sittin’ drinkin’ superficially thinkin’
About the rinsed out blonde on my left

Like I mentioned earlier hotel bars are lonely lonely places. 1:00 AM on a Tuesday night when you’re beat from travel and deadlines staring you in the face don’t make it much better. Maybe you had a little tiff with your significant other before you jumped on the plane, maybe the prospect of wining and dining any potential clients is gnawing at your insides and eating you up the way acid eats through most things. Maybe you’re just looking to tell your story to anybody who will listen. You are, after all, a most fascinating and complex human being aren’t you?

And then I said hi! like a spider to a fly
Rememb’ring what my little girl said
She was common, flirty
She looked about thirty
I would have run away, but I was on my own
She told me later she’s a machine operator
She said she liked the way I held the microphone
I said, my! my! my! like a spider to a fly
Jump right ahead in my web!

When there’s only three people in the bar it’s kind of awkward. If it’s just you and the bartender, hey, no problem. Flip the tube to ESPN to catch the highlights and bullshit sports. If there’s more than three, the load is off your shoulders and you can leave or take part in the conversation. When there’s three, you feel sort of obligated to strike up a conversation with your fellow road warrior. This is where those tales of conquests and failure come into play. You might have what you think is an innate sense to tell people what they want to hear. You are, after all, a salesman.

So what happened at that bar?

Heh heh heh

Maybe I’ll tell you sometime over cocktails.

Buy you a drink sometime?”

Words to The Spider and the Fly” copyright Mick Jagger and Keith Richards from the album "Out of Our Heads" recorded 1965.

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