Last week, two bars exploded in Bozeman, MT. The only tragedy is that one person lost their life. Were it not for that, I’d say that the explosion was the best news I’ve heard in a long while. This probably sounds callous to most people, especially if you’re not from Montana. However, if you’ve spent any time at all in Bozeman, I think you can appreciate this little blessing.
Bozeman used to be a fun town — one that I loved. But with each passing day, all the character and joie de vivre has been sucked away. I have fond memories of the Cats Paw on Thursday nights. There’d be a $5 cover, a great live band, and once you got inside — any beer you wanted was $.25 for a pint. That’s right: quarter pints. It was asses-to-elbows in there with a line going out the door. Before I graduated, the management decided they didn’t like big crowds anymore, so they got rid of their drink promotions and live acts, and focused on gambling. Ugh.
I used to drop off copies of Piece Magazine (a local men’s rag I produced) at some spots in Bozeman, figuring it’d be a fun college crowd who would appreciate my brand of humor. One day I get an email from the lady that runs the Crystal Bar. She asked that I not distribute papers to her bar anymore because she felt I was promoting binge drinking. First off, I didn’t. Second — are you kidding me? Were my eyes deceiving me? If I recalled correctly, the Crystal was the kind of bar where people would roofie themselves. Since when did that establishment of all places decide to become righteous?!
Bars aside, just driving into Bozeman is becoming a drag. It now looks like every other town in America. Once you get off the exit, you see the same box stores you see anywhere. Home Depot. Borders. Denny’s. Target. Wal-Mart. The big boring list goes on and on. The new stores that are locally run, cater to the pretentious, overpaid business snot, whose idea of a fun day is jogging his poodle to the gourmet pet food store, and buying Fluffy a treat that costs more than your average dinner.
The bars that got hit were Boodles and the Rockin’ R Bar. Boodles was the first snob bar I recall to hit the scene. It was an early taste of California. The drinks were expensive, you kind of had to dress up to enter the joint, and there was no smoking. A lot of people were bummed out about the Rockin’ R because of all the history it has. Face it — the Rockin’ R that blew up is NOT the same Rockin’ R we grew to love. They rennovated it in 2000 from the fun loving bar we adored, to another snotty P.O.S. bar with no fun or character. It’s like season four of Welcome Back Kotter, when John Travolta left the cast and they tried replacing him with some preppy guy. We all know that the Sweathogs just ain’t the Sweathogs without Vinnie Barbarino.
I hope they decide to rebuild on the condition that it isn’t another joint for the fun-hating elite. I want a dirty bar with dollar bills on the ceiling, PBR on tap, discounts for customers that come in with their own beer coozies, thick cigarette smoke, and Led Zeppelin blasting through some big speakers that were built during the 70s. THAT is a bar, my friends.
They’re still investigating the blast. They think it might be a gas leak. I’m under the impression that it might be a terrorist. Not a terrorist with a turban, mind you, but a terrorist wearing an old corduroy baseball cap with the Rockin’ R patch on the front, who remembers a simpler, more enjoyable time. If that is the case, then maybe terrorism can serve a function. If that’s the case, Plonk had better watch out. (Plonk is a new wine bar, also located in Downtown Bozeman, and caters to local Über-yuppies.)
I’m not advocating violence or destruction. I never have. I’m simply saying that sometimes things blow up and it isn’t all that bad. Some of you readers might be thrilled at the idea of every bank in the country exploding Tyler Durden style. If everybody’s records were wiped out, around 5% would be absolutely shit out of luck, where most of us would love to be worthless. Sure, we’d have no money, but we’d have no debt either, which would leave a lot of us in a better place.