Friday, May 25, 2007

Can't keep my mouth shut

I've got work - real work - to do today, as I returned from a week of leave on Thursday morning, and I should be doing that instead of this.

However, this decision by the Hancock family really bothers me.

Brian Burwell, who I have had occasion to disagree with (especially when he defends Barry Bonds and lampoons Mark McGwire), actually posted a good opinion article on this subject.

Allow me to pile on.

I was a bar regular once. I hope your life never devolves to the point that you find solace on a bar stool. However, there is a fraternity-like atmosphere that exists amongst the regulars. You look forward to seeing them; they become your extended family. The bar tenders are part of that family; they know your name and what you're having. I will admit to enjoying walking into my bar, having the gent (or lady) tending that night nod hello, then going and pouring my drink for me (if you care, mine was MGD in a bottle).

Which brings me to my point - bartenders TAKE CARE OF THEIR REGULARS. If Josh Hancock was a regular at Shannon's restaurant, as we are now led to believe, they would DEFINITELY have tried to pursuade him to take a cab home. I guarantee it. The folks working the bar at my place did it for me on more than one occasion. My fellow regulars would tell me to take a cab when I had too much - again, they're your family.

At my bar, one of the regulars hosted a Christmas Eve party for some friends/family (read: other bar regulars). As I was dating his roommate at the time, I went. He, predictably, got drunk, continued drinking after the party broke up, passed out on a couch in the garage (they had turned the garage into a party den) in the wee hours while smoking a cigarette, and set the house on fire - starting with himself and the couch he was laying on. The emergency workers don't know how he survived - but he did. During his recovery, the bar held at least one (and I think more) 'pass the hat' events to help defray the cost of his medical bills.

THAT's how far some places will go for one of their regular paying customers - you know, the guys who support their tip jars and help pay for the lights and the booze.

Attempting to hold Shannon's employees or the restaurant itself culpable for what Josh did that night is ridiculous. Josh decided to drink that night. Josh decided to drive against the judgement of others who cared for him. Josh was distracted while driving by his cell phone call. Josh chose to not wear his seat belt.

Josh killed himself due to his recklessness. Thank God he didn't take the tow truck driver or the stalled motorist with him.

I won't comment on including them in the lawsuit, for I'm trying to give up cursing as a part of my daily speech.

Does Dean Hancock want to sue those responsible for his son's death? Then I have a suggestion for him: Start with yourself. I'm quite sure you KNEW he was self-destructive; you KNEW he had an alcohol and possibly a drug problem; you KNEW he had a lot of free time to get into trouble. He was your son. Parental responsibility doesn't end once a child is out of college; it's a lifetime committment. YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING.

But you didn't. And you will have to live with that for the rest of your life.

Don't blame the innocent for your failings as a father.

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