I'm a good American. I stay out of trouble and pay my taxes. I drink on occasion, but rarely does it cause problems (save for the incident at the zoo with the llama and mayonnaise). Regardless, I've been kicked out of bars twice in recent years, both times while sober enough to operate heavy machinery. While it's fairly easy to get bounced from a bar for drunken acts of stupidity, I was kicked out for brazen acts of (attempted) humor. In one particular case, Kevin Costner's star-power was the cause of my untimely departure.
One of my favorite family traditions growing up involved summer visits to my uncle's log cabin north of Spokane, Washington. From ages 8 to 22, my father and I would make the annual 5-hour road trip to a small town called Ione to hang out with family and, occasionally, wildlife. Not surprisingly, the visits waned after college. That didn't stop me from visiting a few years ago with my father, for old time's sake.
During this recent visit, a brilliant actor, director and producer by the name of Kevin Costner was working on a futuristic depiction of the U.S. Postal Service cleverly named, The Postman. While we were aware of the movie-related activity in the area (a portion of the picture was filmed in Central Oregon ), we didn't much care.
My dad, cousin and I decided to head out for a drink at the local bar one night. We sidled up to the large wooden bar (made from old bowling alley flooring), which was covered with etched graffiti. The commentary consisted primarily of the standard: names, dates and declarations of love for women, men and 80s butt rock bands.
At our particular section of the bar, we couldn't help but notice a very large, detailed yet incomplete etching (make by a wood burning tool) that simply said "The Postman, Starring..." and a big empty space below. While downing greasy burgers and light beer, we discussed Costner, the movie and its impact on the local community. Although generally depicted as an a-hole by the media, Costner was viewed locally as a larger-than-life persona with tons of money and the potential to turn the depressed local community into a thriving metropolis merely with his presence.
As the evening passed, we became fascinated with the incomplete statement. My cousin, an artist, decided to take action and began etching the name "Bob" in the holy place reserved for "Kevin Costner". He (my cousin) had just polished off the second "b" with a pocketknife when the waitress came over and noticed his handiwork. I watched with amazement as her face turned red and the veins popped out of her neck.
"What the hell are you doing?" she demanded. "The owner would have you mucked for messing with this fine art work! In fact, I'm going to muck you out of this place myself. Go on, get out of here!"
The proverbial record player scratched and the place went silent. After waiting a moment to make sure she was serious, we gathered our thoughts, and the tip, and left. We headed down the street to the only other bar in town to shoot some pool and hope an angry mob armed with wood-burning tools didn't follow us. I haven't been back to that bar since then, but am curious to see if they ever managed to repair the damage and put Costner back on the pedestal where he belongs.