I went to an open-mic comedy night at someplace called the Squire Lounge last night with two friends, the name being important only insofar as I dare say it found itself elbowed into more slanderous tirades directed against various people’s bodily orifices than any other title of chivalric rank has before. Inside the bar was the kind of motley grouping which didn’t lend itself to any shared social classification, no matter how broad, except maybe “evacuees sheltering from a natural disaster.” It was a vaguely endearing place nonetheless, with some sort of yarn creation wrapped around a pillar like a knitting project that had regrettably failed to turn into a pair of socks, as well as, up in the rafters, a disembodied, seemingly female mannequin head with what one of my friends and I decided must have been a moustache shading its upper lip, only because I don’t imagine a mannequin would be designed with a harelip. The men’s bathroom had, besides a urinal, a sitter whose lips practically touched the walls on both sides, probably because the owners were tired of people taking dumps on the floor on either side and determined to provide no room for error.

We sat in a semi-circular booth with a two-step rise near the stage. I thought that that kind of set-up by itself practically seemed like an implied invitation for a lap dance. One of my friends claimed that that wouldn’t work because the booth was too high off the ground. I liked that the only problem she saw with the idea was the elevation of the furniture, not the fact that the only people in our near vicinity were bums sheltering from the cold and a couple of people guessing the gender of whom, we decided, could replace bar trivia contests on the nights where there was no act. Finally the performers came on one at a time. Much wonderment at ethnic differences was expressed. A general lack of interest in babies without exciting mental illnesses or poignant disappearances into garbage dumps or the hands of pedophiles was implied. I learned that a much bigger groundswell of dissatisfaction with the state and nomenclature of the vagina exists than I would have suspected.

Outside the bar a bouncer was trying to shoo the smokers on the sidewalk off to more than 15 feet from the building. Most of the art-school types walked further down the street. The hobo wearing the hard hat, on the other hand, had, I take it, armed himself to pursue the opposite strategy. On our way home, a sudden unexpected need to go to the bathroom on the part of the girl provoked a discussion as to how long-haul truckers manage to drive all day without having to stop for that purpose, my guy friend holding that they take anti-diuretics to suppress the urge. Whereas I had assumed that the usual trucker strategy was to accumulate enough veneral diseases that it would hurt too much pee. So that, like in most primitive societies, fear would fill the role of science.

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