Back around 1990 or 91' I was dating this nurse who worked in the ER at Univeristy of Pennsylvania hospital. A few blocks away from the hospital where she worked was a bar called the Kyber Pass on 2nd Street. It was a pretty cool place although I didn't frequent it often. It was too far from where I lived to be a real hang out place for one, and it really didn't have a night crowd. It was mostly an 5PM to 8PM Happy Hour place for all the office workers who would stop off after work for a few belts.
It did have a lot of atmosphere, lots and lots of dark wood, I think the bar and barback was over a hundred years old. And along with it's name came the almost required stuff from the British Raj in India and Pakistan all over the place. You could almost feel Gunga Din looking at you from somewhere...
What it did have also was a beer list that boasted over 300 different brands of bottled beer from all over the world and the bartender would even give you a menu of the beer it carried.
So one evening the woman I was seeing and I decided to meet after her shift, have a few drinks and then walk over to Old Original Bookbinder's for dinner. If you ever get to the Philadelphia area and want to get the best seafood you'll ever have, try the place. It's definately not cheap, but it's well worth it.
As usual, I'm a little early and I have about thirty minutes to wait for my date. I wander up to the bar and find a seat. The place is starting to fill up with people and it looked like it was going to be a good night for the place. Right away I notice the guy who's sitting next to me is well on his way to a really good drunk. He looks like a businessman of some sort, jacket and loosened tie, and he pounding down martinis like they're water.
Being that they have over 300 imported beers from all over the world, I order up a Miller Genuine Draft as the guy starts a conversation with me. Just small talk really, the weather, the Phillies, Traffic on I-95... Seems like a pretty nice guy. Like I said before, he's really pounding the vodka down. He then pulls his wallet out and gives me one of his business cards.
I looked at it and was just a tad bit stunned. He was a neurosurgeon at the same hospital where my girlfriend worked... Chief Fellow, FAC... All those alphabet acronyms and shit doctors have.
"Hey doc... I thought alcohol was supposed to kill millions of brain cells, isn't it?" I asked.
"Yeppers it does, Tommy, but you've got BILLIONS!" he said with a laugh and ordered up another.
Soon after my date showed up, I introduced her and he bought us both a drink. We finished that and said our goodbyes, leaving him to slowly pickle himself in good Russian tater' squeezings and went to the restaurant.
Over dinner I related what the doctor said to me, and my date told me he was one of the best brain surgeons in the country.
I don't know about you, but right there on the top of that list of people I do not want drunk, along with airline pilots, cruise ship captains and railroad engineers are most definitely people who might someday be cutting open my skull and digging around in my gray matter.
But that's just my personal opinion.
Meanwhile, I'll have a double shot of John Jameson's finest rye, neat in a rocks glass.
I've got some thinking to do...
Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden