Ripped at C.W. Chips Bar & Grill in 2004

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. Twenty years ago the Sultan of Sot paid a visit to C.W. Chips Bar & Grill and composed this article for the April 2004 issue of the Ripsaw magazine. At the time, there was a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of Duluth City Hall, which was moved to Canal Park later that year. C.W. Chips closed in early 2005 when the building was purchased by the Whole Foods Co-op.]

Because I’ve spent the past several years trolling the suckholes and boozehalls of this wreck of a city, because I’m cheaper than a Mexican proctology exam and because I like to control my own drunken experience, I like to drink at home. Preferably alone.

Tonight, however, my sometimes pal Ricky Flours is in town and we’ve pissed away enough time together in my cramped, dingy apartment to know that we need to remove ourselves from the sticky, bottle-filled dungeon I call Chez Goodbuzz. I’ve become a hermit, and Ricky is little more than a purring cat lying around on my floor. We don’t have to go to C.W. Chips, but we can’t stay here.

I’ve been to the bar section of C.W. Chips a lot, so it strikes me this time to finally check out the restaurant. All I want is a seat where I’m not being visually assaulted, but everywhere I look there are patriotic photos, quotations, symbols and the like. As a patriot, this of course pisses me off.

See, I’m a firm believer in freedom. I don’t like leaders, and I sure as hell don’t like followers. While I’m on the subject, let me tell you what I think about the Pledge of Allegiance, the American flag and the Ten Commandments. If you want to pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth, a can of nitrous or a soggy prophylactic, by all means go for it. If you expect me to do anything more than humor you during your rituals, forget it. When you say march, I go nap.

As far as the plaque in front of Duluth City Hall commemorating the Ten Commandments goes, I’m actually pretty upset about the lawsuit to remove it. What these annoying whiners from the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union don’t seem to understand is that I need something to piss on when I stagger out of the Pioneer Bar at closing. Why can’t the panty-pounding MnCLU crybabies show some respect for my beliefs?

Among the red, white and blue onslaught at C.W. Chips is a photograph of local cops all proud and pleased in their ball-breaking uniforms. I recognize a few of them. I have to say, contrary to what others may think, my experience with Duluth’s finest has been somewhat pleasant. They know what to do with a guy like me. At certain times, a man appreciates a little direction in his life.

The waitress tonight looks a little scared, and I actually feel a bit sorry for her. My thinking is that a place like this, with its walls constantly screaming at you, has to make a person a little paranoid and fearful. Poor thing, she’s so young. Maybe I should invite her over to my place and get her more accustomed to dealing with the shit life has to offer.

After the salvation that is beer arrives and I sip the holy water down, I look up to see Ricky staring at me through a pair of binoculars. Evidently, each table is equipped with binoculars so patrons can … what? Stare out at Third Street and drool, I guess. So, as I drink my beer I check out what life on Third Street has to offer. A bunch of socks waving around on a clothesline, litter and some punks playing grab-ass.

Finally, the scared waitress arrives with a burger and another beer. T-minus diarrhea and counting.

1 Comment

Helmut Flaag

about 1 month ago

I was trying to place the voice in my head that narrates Slim's sordid tales and I realized it's Ron Swanson. One genius deserves another.

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