The latest Friendly Neighborhood adventure was unusual: find a public place to sit for one hour and take note of all of the sights, sounds, smells, textures and tastes, but avoid spending that time in a schoolyard, playground or someone’s front yard – sitting by one’s self in areas frequented by children is frowned upon.
Mulligan’s Pub, titled with a sign lacking the apostrophe in the name and adorned with Oregon football banners, stands on 29th Avenue and Willamette Street.
A $2.75 pint of Widmer Hefeweizen combines mild, wheat-y flavor with a complementary lemon for a wonderful drinking experience.
A blue-and-yellow neon Corona sign hangs on the far wall above a pair of pool tables and a gray-and-black Oakland Raiders helmet sticker. A Harley-Davidson pinball machine stands next to the front door like a sentry.
An elderly man in a black-and-yellow striped bumblebee sweater sits at the center of the bear. A replay of the weekend’s Ohio State – Wisconsin game sounds above his left shoulder. ‘Christmas’ string lights flash alternating red and orange above the bar, to the left of a curvaceous mermaid cut-out emblazoned with ‘CAUTION: PARTY’ tape around her chest. On the ceiling above her are green cobwebs, hung up for the approaching holiday.
Blue lottery machines whistle and a modernized jukebox machine plays hits from today and way back when. Red, purple and light-blue neon bulbs above the rounded center tables cast 3-D-lens-colored shadows.
At 4:11 p.m. the bartender, a shorter, brown-haired man wearing a gray hat, a white shirt and blue jeans, walkx to the jukebox on the opposite side of the room, impatient with the current musical selection.
“What’s the most gnarly, headbangin’, metal shit you can think of?” he asked, scouring the machine’s song selection. “That’s all the ’60s shit I can handle. It’d be all right, if we had hippie chicks in here.”
At 4:15 the opening line of Metallica’s song ‘Fuel’ storms out of the jukebox speakers:
Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire! HUUUUUH!
Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! rings a lottery machine in the rear of the room at 4:16 as the bumble bee man (whose attire reminds of his counterpart on The Simpsons) won a return on his credits.
The bartender leaves his post to take a pool shot at 4:17 with a crack!, followed by a dissatisfied “Ugggghhhhh!” on his way back.
A man who seems to be something akin to a co-owner came in from the covered patio deck through the door on the left-hand side. He wears an orange ball cap and a black shirt christened with a gray skull on the front.
“Dude, I dropped the ball on those boxes. Sorry, bro.”
At 4:22 The ESPN College Football announcer declares “The Buckeyes have been stunned in Madison!” and ESPN replays a red-and-white-uniformed Wisconsin player crossing the goal line as the telecast cuts to a commercial.
A bespectacled, brown-haired middle-aged man in a green ‘I Love My Ducks’ T-shirt atop a black long-sleeve shirt to match his black pants shoots pool for a moment at 4:24, then suddenly returns to the patio outside.
The Cars’ hit ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ lifts the mood at 4:27.
“Which one’s the Pabst?” asks a man who feels entitled, from the left end of the bar, searching for the right beer tap to pull.
“Whichever one tastes bad!” replies the bartender from over by the jukebox.
At 4:39 ‘Dixie Chicken’ plays on the jukebox, performed by one of the many bands famous for its cover of the song.
An older man in a purple zip-up jacket fleece jacket calls out to the bartender, “Kevin said he’s buying me a beer!” to which the ‘tender replies “… Okay?”
Santana’s ‘Maria, Maria’ plays at 4:42.
At 4:43 a man in a two-tone brown camouflage shirt reading “One More Round” walks through the front door and sits at the right end of the bar.
Another man, wearing glasses, a green sweater, blue jeans and what looked like a cross between a cowboy and pilgram hat, does the same.
“What’re ya havin’, Dave?” the bartender asks.
The Wallflowers’ ‘Sixth Avenue Heartache’ whines at 4:47.
There was also a man in a green, purple, brown and white fine-lined ‘hoodie’ that resembles a poncho with a zipper down the front.
Yet another man (there were several guys at the bar by 4:49) wears a black hat, blue jeans, a checkered jean jacket. He talks about his dog:
“I never run him, I just walk him a long time and hope that’s good enough.”
At 4:49 ‘Monday Night Countdown’ and Yankees-Rangers ALCS Game 2 oppose Ohio State – Wisconsin in all corners of the room.
A blonde woman, addressed as ‘Jess’ as she arrives by the men who knew her, wears a black shirt with rainbow-colored Quicksilver logos across its backside. She unleashes a few choice words for the bartender’s wardrobe:
“Get that fuckin’ piece of shit shirt off of you!”
She also entertains the barstool crowd with a fairytale love story:
“You know, my ex-husband and I got together at a Halloween party. He was dressed like a chick. I was dressed as Catwoman. He had a short-ass skirt and a hot pink wig … tennis balls for boobs.”
The final character making an appearance in this special hour-long episode is a thin man wearing a brown peddler’s cap and a turquoise, purple and black, ’90s-style windbreaker, reminiscent of the clothing styles in Saved by the Bell. He sits down to watch the baseball game.