Sure, laugh it up, but sometimes the joke is on you

“Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief,” sang Hoagy Carmichael back in the 1940s, and that phrase (despite it not being politically correct) has come to signify a type of diversity. For someone who works behind the plank, and who knows plenty of doctors, lawyers, and yes, even an Indian chief, I can attest, that in every microcosm all things necessary exist.

“I agree,” said the man in front of me, making me wonder if I had said any of that out loud. Thinking things and saying things don’t always go hand in hand. Just ask any lawyer or doctor, or bartender for that matter.

It turned out he was talking to his friend, but life has an odd way of superimposing things right on top of each other. Savvy people observe, silly people regurgitate, and others just order drinks. Again, that microcosm thing.

“Can we get order some drinks?” bellowed a man sitting two stools over. He was certainly the loudest of the people he was with. It didn’t make him the most interesting. Not to me, and certainly not to the two people with him.

“Alpha male is a misnomer,” said the man sitting in front of me again. “In the wild the alpha male is often not the loudest or the biggest or the most abrasive, but rather the one who can get things done.”

I tilted my head at that comment but set to my task. It took several minutes for Mr. bellows to order. He asked about our most ridiculously priced whiskeys. He then asked for hard to find beers. And then highly allocated wines, all before ordering the most mundane of products. Sometimes it really is all about the show.

His two guests; his wife, and another man whom I guessed was an employee of some sort, rolled their eyes. Certainly not so he could see, but because I was looking directly at them, I most assuredly could, and did.

Mr. bellows laughed long and hard, and especially at his own jokes.

“It is widely misconceived that what humans perceive as the alpha male, is not really the alpha. Studies have shown that often those type ‘a’ males are too preoccupied with their status, and keeping it, that they actually have reduced matings,” said the mind reader.

“What are you talking about?” I asked breaking the fourth wall of bartending.

“You can hear us?” asked the man in front of me.

“Of course, I can hear you,” I said. “You are only 3 feet away.”

“Oh,” he said. “We’re anthropologists, and we study animal behavior.”

“Usually they don’t even realize we are watching them,” replied his partner.

I wonder what that is like, I thought, making sure that I thought it, and didn’t say it out loud. One can never be too careful.

“You’d be surprised what wild animals do in their natural environment when they think they aren’t being observed,” said the first anthropologist.

 I bet I wouldn’t.

 Just then Mr. Bellows, bellowed again. This time it was about the most expensive steak. Sometimes some people feel other people are getting more attention than they are. And they often do odd things to change that. They ask that their full water glasses be filled, or ask for silverware when it is already there, or ask exacting questions about an item they don’t ever intend on ordering. Just an observation.

 We worked our way through an order for Mr. Bellows and his two guests. Sometimes a dinner out can be more of a “have to” thing rather than a “get to” thing. Rolling eyes and crossed arms are always a great indicator.

 “They’re called ‘sneaker males,’” replied one of the two anthropologists to a question I didn’t hear. “They hang around the showy males and when the so called ‘alpha’ gets preoccupied, they then make the most of their mating opportunities with the females.”

The two anthropologists looked up at me making drinks directly in front of them and stopped talking. The very act of observing of a phenomenon changes that phenomena, once said a scientist or two. I’m sure there is at least one bartender who agrees.

I delivered those two observed drinks and walked past Mr. Bellows empty chair.

“Don’t worry, he’s going on a golfing trip soon, then we can get together,” said the wife patting a hand that was not her husband’s.

Leaving me with these thoughts:

-In nature it the DNA that matters, not the house, the car or the job.

-Hoagy? Really?

-According to some studies, sneaker males account for 80% percent of the offspring in a population.

-Laugh it up, but be careful, sometimes the joke is on you.