Nothing turns my “everything’s horrible at work” frown upside down like going to the Bartender’s Olympics. My brother has performed in this annual event at his job for a few years, and he tends to be the most awesome. Bartenders at his place will perform and make a few drinks and the winner gets to go to another set of finals, and so it goes on to an international competition. The drinks made during the competition are then auctioned off, this year benefiting breast cancer research.

It’s at TGI Fridays, and every time I go there and see everyone have a boozy, good time I think “why aren’t we here ALL THE TIME?” Also it’s on Southside, and although my chances of seeing someone from high school are high, everyone is having more fun than we are in our dark basement bars listening to the Hold Steady. It was even endearing how everyone cheered and sang along to that “I Kissed a Girl” song. But also on Southside I am the best dressed and Richard kept getting compliments on his sideburns.

There is something satisfying about hearing a crowd of strangers chant my brother’s name (they call him “Chuck”). He won the most popular bartender, and was a huge favorite and raised the most money with his drinks. One drink went for $450! Suck it, everyone! Take that, cancer research! He placed second, though he gave a first place performance. Plus he gave us giant, free beers.

The first year I went to watch my brother compete, I came right after work by myself. I knew that there was an auction involved, and I mentally prepared my insufficiently- funded self that I would maybe bid $30 to him just so he would get a bid. But by the time finished (in a cow suit, which made the White Russian routine very amusing) I realized that my brother is basically the most beloved person on earth, and after every other bartender auctioned off their $50 to $100 drinks, my brother raised almost $3000, including a $1500 from a Chesterfieldian Nascar champ (whose name I am withholding for privacy and also because I don’t remember it). I mean, if I could rest a martini glass on my head while making said martini, I expect everyone to throw $500 at me, too.

So, kudos, big brother.

In other news, Richard and I are opening the bar TGI Mondays with fancy drinks with names such as: Taxes in the Office, Balancing the Checkbook in a Bathrobe, and Donating to NPR.