A comfort becomes the bartender. Not much comes close to matching the feeling of walking up to the stained and polyurethaned wood of a bar and receiving the knowing nod of the person who has served you up a dark elixir of carbonated relaxation.

Months of absence from an old haunt are quickly wiped away as this occasional player in your life brings you a Bass and cigarette without a word. They know you, a part of you, the routine of your life that so often goes overlooked by your closest friends and confidants.

They remember the last time they saw you, ask how your children and wife are, and where the person you usually share a drink and camaraderie with is tonight.

They remind you that you aren't just passing through life as another face, another lemming on the road of life. They remain the repository of who you are, when you need to be reminded that you are an individual, not just another cog in the wheel of life.

dedicated to Houlihans in Penn Station, New York

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