Best Stay On Band-Aid For A 1 Year Old The Band Box Tavern

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The Band Box Tavern

Recently, my sister and I were reminiscing about our crazy party days when we were younger – when we stayed out until 5 a.m. and hid in my car around the corner from the house, waiting for our mother to leave for work. so that we wouldn’t come in while she was having breakfast in her nightgown. Inevitably, our conversation turned to drunken evenings at a Bellmore bar we frequented called The Band Box Tavern.

Now The Band Box was a special place for my sister and me. . . we had been Sunday afternoon regulars there since we were toddlers (literally, not figuratively). My dad, like so many, played softball on Sunday mornings, and the experience wasn’t complete without a trip to the bar afterwards – a beer for the men, Shirley Temples with extra cherries for the kids. I know times have changed drastically and today bringing a child to a bar will prompt a visit from child protective services, but in the 1970s and early 80s it was commonplace and we We certainly weren’t the only kids running around like thugs.

One Sunday, when I was about 9 and my dad felt no pain, he gave me a few dollars to put in the Jukebox (the kind that turns 45’s-eek! I’m old!). I was – and still am – a huge Blondie fan, and my favorite song back then was Rapture (you know, Fab Five Freddie and the Man from Mars, eating cars, bars and guitars.. .) I was old enough to love music and old enough to put the money in the machine and find the songs I wanted to play, but I didn’t have enough experience to realize that once I typed in the code to play Rapture, there would be a considerable delay before the song actually played. When the music didn’t start immediately, I thought I had done something wrong, so I dialed the number again. It still hasn’t played, so now I thought the jukebox was broken and punched Rapture’s number a third time,…and a fourth. By the time Rapture played for the seventh time in a row, I was getting dirty looks from all over the bar (remember this was before the remote, and you couldn’t “skip” songs), and the bartender finally unplugged the jukebox.

It was a bit of a homecoming when we returned to The Band Box as patrons ourselves, and quickly reestablished our status as regulars. During one of those fuzzy nights, another regular, whose name escapes me completely, so I’ll call him Bear, invited me to accompany him the next day to Atlantic City. Bear looked like an overweight, aging Magnum PI in a semi-unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt, showcasing a thick gold chain and tangles of coarse chest hair. I’m guessing he was in his mid to late thirties, thick salt-and-pepper curly hair and a Hell’s Angels mustache. I found it physically repulsive, so, of course, I agreed to go (insert shoot-myself-in-the-eye emoticon here).

He picked me up the next morning at 7am and in my hungover, hungover and sleep deprived state I wanted nothing more than to cancel the trip and stay in bed . But, he was outside, honking and he had already paid for my bus fare the night before. I had told Bear I would go with him to AC, but I had also told him that I was broke…actually, I think I had less than $10 in my wallet. Bear had agreed to pay for my trip, so I felt compelled to get up and leave. I didn’t shower, or even change my clothes from the night before, so I can only imagine what I looked like stumbling towards his car. We drove to The Band Box, where the bus we were taking left from.

When I got on the bus, it was as if I had walked onto the film set of the movie, Cocoon. If you don’t remember, that was the movie with all the old people swimming in the pool with alien eggs and regaining their youth by sapping the life force of the alien embryos. In other words, I could have been the great-granddaughter of 75% of the group we were traveling with. Bear seemed to know everyone on the bus; I presume his affiliation with the local C of C, rotating club or VFW. I tried to escape at that time and called my sister to come get me but she just laughed and told me to sleep in the messy bed I had made .

I followed his advice. I dozed off on the 4.5 hour drive to Jersey and, even when I wasn’t asleep, I pretended. Like a fly on the wall, I heard the conversations of those around me as they complimented Bear on his pretty, young girlfriend and asked how long he and I had been together. His boastful response that it was our first date almost made my ears bleed and my stomach convulse. I moaned silently in my head and devised a plan to sabotage any idea Bear had that he was going to kiss me in the next 8 hours.

Turns out being a bored, whiny, nauseous girl was all I had to do.

I stood next to Bear as he played Blackjack, yawning obnoxiously and making sure no part of my body touched any part of his. I could smell the cigarette smoke in my hair from the night before and the sour smell of alcohol seeping into my skin, and I thanked and praised my disgust…I hoped it would act like garlic for a vampire. Bear had given me $20 so I could eat while we were there, and we went to a restaurant in the casino. He ordered a steak, a baked potato, a salad…the works. I had already spent some of my $20 on drinks, because since I wasn’t gambling, I wasn’t allowed to drink for free at the casino. So I didn’t have enough money to buy a decent meal and settled for a sandwich and fries. I complained loudly about my food (and sincerely, in fact, it was terrible), while I longingly watched Bear eat his shrimp cocktail. I was tired, hungry, in company I didn’t want to be in, and I didn’t hesitate to let Bear know how unhappy I was. By the time we got back to the bus to leave, he not only wasn’t talking to me, he wouldn’t even sit next to me on the ride home.

Moral of the story: the most painless way out of a bad date is to be a worse one.

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