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A Doorman's Memoir: Tales of Friendships

A Doorman's Memoir: Tales of Friendships

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A Doorman's Memoir: Tales of Friendships

186 Seiten
2 Stunden
Apr 16, 2016


A Doorman's Memoir is a self-published memoir by Brent Lymer, detailing his days moonlighting as a Vancouver nightclub doorman during the 1990s. Manning the front door at Granville Street mainstays "Fred's Uptown Tavern" and "Babalu's", Lymer fondly reminisces about trusted friendships, ill-tempered customers, and testosterone-driven barbs.

Using downtown Vancouver as it's backdrop, A Doorman's Memoir touches on Vancouver's violent underbelly, while exploring what makes male friendships so endearing, so frustrating and always competitive. Lymer uses a pithy, self-deprecating voice that tells it like it was, often brutal, hilarious and definitely not politically correct.

While primarily a humorous reflection on a past life, the narrative is punctuated with laugh-out-loud circumstances. Throughout the book, Lymer calls out hilarious back stories to provide context into his own personal baggage.

In the end, the novel is actually a story about true friendships. Friendships based on trust, humor, loyalty, and a common goal to make it home safely at the end of each shift.
Apr 16, 2016

Über den Autor


A Doorman's Memoir - Brent Lymer



What if you were offered a part-time job knowing that on any given night you might be spat on, physically threatened, ridiculed, or disrespected? What if that job paid only $15 an hour, had no benefits and your shift ended at 2 AM. Oh, by the way, if you accept this job, at some point you might need to quickly change employers because someone wants to shoot you and your co-workers.

Would you consider taking this job?

I’m fairly confident you wouldn’t. However, for arguments sake, let’s say you’re still interested.

What if you were aware that someone doing the same job was stabbed last week, or another guy is now paralyzed from the waist down because he was shot minutes after leaving work? On the upside, what if getting stabbed or shot is just a low probability, you know a worst-case scenario. In all likelihood you’ll only sustain a broken nose, chipped teeth, or a fractured metacarpal.

Would you now be tempted to take this job?

Hell no, you wouldn’t.

On the plus side, what if the job will test you physically and emotionally, challenging you to do the right thing? What if this job forced you to face your fears? What if, by taking this job, overtime you become a more compassionate person?

More importantly, what if, by embracing this opportunity, you established deep, life-long friendships – friendships immediately based on unquestioned trust and loyalty? What if those friendships gave you strength when you needed it most, like during a personal crisis? What if those friendships made you laugh and excited about actually going to work? Finally, what if those friendships came with unconditional love?

Would you now accept this job?

No, you still wouldn’t. And that’s okay, I get it. For most people, the risks would be far too great. As for me, I’m not one who gets overly worried about coloring outside the lines. So, when I was offered this job, I said Yes, and just like that, I was a nightclub doorman at the unlikely age of 30.

In hindsight, knowing what I know now, the greater risk would have been to not accept this job. However, in the absence of predicting the future, I decided to become a bouncer based on some fairly pragmatic reasons. I did it for the extra money. Vancouver can be an extremely expensive city to live in. I did it to alleviate the boredom associated with living alone for the first time in my life. I did it because I was going to be out at a club anyways, so why not get paid to be there.

Nevertheless, the real reason I took and kept this job was because I missed hanging out with the guys. My life up to this point had always included a core group of male friends that banded together – high school, competitive hockey, rugby, university residence, and fraternity life. We shared challenges, tests of character, pranks, and misadventures. But more importantly, we constantly pushed each other to be smarter, funnier, more respectable, and better men. There were both written and unwritten checks and balances.

However, once I started a formal career, this type of camaraderie rapidly disappeared. I worked in an office. I wore a suit and tie. I was even on the fast-track in my career. But things were way too buttoned down. The risk of offending someone always outweighed the opportunity to make the workplace less suffocating and more enjoyable. For some reason, sweatpants were considered unprofessional attire. My life was slowly becoming Melba toast when it had always been cinnamon raisin. Frankly, I wasn’t ready to be normal.

So when a couple of gym buddies asked if I was interested in working the door with them, I enthusiastically signed aboard.

That decision introduced me to Davey, who was working at the Warehouse. To avoid being reduced to a pair of violent crime statistics, Davey and I abruptly left the Warehouse and found ourselves working at Bar None. That’s where I met Jack and Dave. A couple of years later, Jack, Dave, Davey, and I eventually moved to Fred’s Uptown Tavern, where I would meet Marcus, Pat, and Karim.

These stories highlight that final period of my doorman life. These are not stories about boys being boys. These are stories about men being boys. I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. I mean it as homage to staying young. I mean it as a tribute to being introspective enough to step back and see the absurdity in minor disagreements. I mean it as a celebration of being absolutely fearless in making the choice to laugh at situations that should be laughed at, rather than defaulting to unnecessary acts of violence.

To be honest, we were unsophisticated idiots with a common goal to make sure we didn’t get hurt, that those we were entrusted to safeguard enjoyed their evening, and that we laughed as much as possible while meeting the bare minimum of our fiduciary responsibilities.

Many of these stories are one-hundred-per-cent true. The only thing remotely incorrect will be the punctuation and grammar. Other stories might have the details muddled a bit by the passage of time or subjective interpretations shamelessly intended to make yours truly look better. Regardless, they do capture the true spirit and context of the events. The remaining stories are simply the combination of two or more real events joined together with duct tape and bubble gum to create a larger story.

So as a memoir in its truest definition, this novel does in fact recount my life as a Vancouver doorman in the early 1990s. However, unlike a memoir, this book is sprinkled with artistic license, unadulterated bullshit, innuendo, hearsay, and blatant fabrication. But in reality it’s probably best defined as non-fiction fiction. See, I’m already making shit up.

It’s also important to note, in some cases, the names of individuals have been changed, not so much to protect the innocent, but to absolutely protect the guilty.

Chapter 1 Thanks for the beer

To be honest, when this happens it isn’t completely unexpected. It’s half an hour past closing time and the conversation isn’t going the way either one of us wants. He wants to finish his beer; I’d like him to leave so we can close up. So, when he defiantly says, Maybe just one more sip, I expect the worst but hope for the best. What I get is beer spit in my face. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time this has happened to me.

Ignoring the beer dripping into my eyes, I immediately grab him by the throat, pressing my left thumb hard against the bottom of his trachea. With my right hand, I slap the beer bottle from his grasp. He wasn’t expecting this at all. He was expecting me to first wipe the beer away and then respond. But by waiting, I would have only given him the advantage.

I start running him backwards towards the bottom of the stairs. I manage to run him up three steps before his legs buckle and he falls backwards. I’m now towering over top of him, and I’m dragging him up the stairs by his throat, tightening my grip every step we take. I warn him, Don’t even try to punch me, or I’ll fuck you up.

He knows he’s at a disadvantage; he has no leverage to punch upwards. On the other hand, I can easily punch downward, using my weight to tag him in the face with significant force if need be. His only option is defensive; all he can do is crawl on his back as fast as he can to reduce the risk of being punched and minimize the tightening pressure on his throat. He’s actually helping me to throw him out of the club.

Once we reach the second flight of stairs, Pat runs two steps above us and grabs the guy’s shirt, pulling him upwards and towards the door. I hear a ripping sound – Pat stumbles slightly onto the stairs above us. He’s torn the guy’s dress shirt and has briefly lost his balance. He regains his equilibrium and grabs another fistful of what remains of the torn shirt.

Behind us I hear muffled arguments and the sound of pushing and shoving. It sounds like there’s a group of people intentionally following us up the stairs. I’m not sure what’s actually happening, but I assume the boys are helping his friends out as well. Although I’m blind to what’s going on behind me, I trust that the door staff literally has my back.

When we reach the top of the stairs, both Pat and I continue to drag him out on his back rather than stand him up. We pull him about 20 feet away from the entrance, and just before I release my grip on his throat, I coil the middle finger of my free hand and flick him in the left eye to temporarily impair his vision.

Pat continues to tug him forward. Once I release my grip on his throat, I grab his left arm with both of my hands, and quickly yank that arm across his body, using the momentum to flip him onto his stomach. With this piece of garbage face down on the sidewalk, Pat and I am now safe to step aside. As we do, I can hear him coughing as he tries to regain the use of his windpipe.

Next through the front door is Jack. He’s pushing someone backwards. Jack gives him two strong shoves and the guy trips over the piece of shit lying on the ground. Now there are two of them rolling around the less than pristine pavement.

Marcus is next out the door. He’s got someone bent over at the waist as he’s pulling him out by the hair. I see the person is resisting, so I step behind him and give him a harsh kick in the ass. The guy suddenly jerks headfirst; Marcus takes two quick steps to the side and uses the forward momentum to yank him off balance, face first to the ground. Now there are three of them rolling around on the sidewalk.

The last ones out the door are Dave and Davey. They have their guy tied up by his arms, and they’re walking him out upright. He isn’t fighting – he’s more confused about what’s happening. He keeps repeating, What did we do? What did we do?

Now outside, there are six of us and four of them. The three that were on the ground are now standing up, and there’s some mild posturing and cursing. The guy that Dave and Davey walked out whines, Fuck this, and breaks away, heading south down Granville. The other three are still yelling at us about how there was no need for this, the force was unnecessary, you tore my shirt, you pulled my hair, blah, blah, blah.

I’m still angry. I step forward and aggressively shove the fucker who spat the beer. He jolts backwards. With him at a safe distance, I inform the other two, This obnoxious piece of shit spat beer in my face. So, end of conversation. There’s suddenly silence. Clearly, the other two aren’t aware of how this all started.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I notice their friend who broke off earlier running back to the group. Marcus has his back turned to him and can’t see him as he rapidly approaches.

I have no idea what this guy’s intentions are, so when he’s about an arm’s length from Marcus, I take one step forward and violently push-kick him, landing my right foot flat to the solar plexus. The kick abruptly stops him in his tracks; his arms and legs extend to full length as he’s then forcibly driven several feet backwards through the air.

Landing on his ass, he hits the ground hard and rolls sideways off the curb into Granville Street. He lets out a slight whimper as he lies curled up in the street gutter.

His three buddies break from our group and run over to pick him up. As they help him to his feet, there’s a barrage of profanity-laced bitching and moaning projected our way. They’re talking over one another, so the uproar is basically incoherent. All I’m able to decipher are the odd disparaging references: "fuckers, assholes, and faggots."

Fuck. You, I loudly mock, making sure I slowly enunciate and over-emphasize each word.

Dave decides to get us focused. He’s noticed their group is a safe 25-foot distance from us, and he quietly says, Hey guys… let’s head back inside.

Marcus eagerly agrees. Yeah… fuck these idiots. I’m bored. Let’s go.

Although I’m through the door first, I stop just inside, and as each of the guys pass by, I thank them. Pat is the last through the door, and I give him a pat on the back and a hug.

Thanks Patty. I appreciate the help, I sincerely say.

Not a problem. Did he really spit beer in your face? Pat asks.

Yeah, and it wasn’t particularly refreshing, I answer. Labatt Blue if I had to hazard a guess. Had it been Molson Canadian, the incident probably would have ended in a handshake.

Pat laughs and heads downstairs. I stay behind and lock the floor-to-ceiling glass door. It’s two locks, one at the handle and one at the floor. I give the door a couple of shakes to make sure it’s secure and then head downstairs. As I get closer to the bottom, I can see Marcus and Jack are asking the few remaining stragglers to leave the bar by way of the backdoor.

I’m suddenly conscious of the adrenaline coursing through my body. I’m exhilarated. I walk over to the bar and ask for a towel and a glass of water. I reach for the water and notice my hand tremoring from the excitement. I take a long drink of water, grab the towel, and head to the washroom to finally wipe off what’s left of the beer on my face. Over the next hour, I spend my time talking with loyal friends who I trust without hesitation, and friends who equally trust me.

But tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll feel completely different, almost empty. I’ll be embarrassed, ashamed, and feel morally conflicted about hurting someone.

Tomorrow, I’ll wake up around 10:30 in the morning and lay in bed for hours wondering what the fuck a liberal, university-educated 33-year-old is doing working as a Vancouver doorman.

Chapter 2 Batman versus Superman

Itake the Seymour exit off the Granville Street Bridge and head north. I’m dropping by work early tonight to grab a bite to eat and, hopefully, catch the first period of the Canucks game before I start manning the club’s door at 8 o’clock.


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