“I wonder if we can contrive…some magnificent myth that would in itself carry conviction to our whole community.”
The other night, my friend Monique wanted to meet me for a drink after class, so we went to Down The Hatch. We forgot that Monday Night Football was on, and we didn’t want to deal with the crowd, so we went across the street to The Slaughtered Lamb. We sat outside and saw my friend Tom going into Down The Hatch. I called him over, and he joined us. Monique asked us how we knew each other. “From The Hatch,” I said. A few minutes later, Tom and I saw someone else that we know. He was walking down West 4th Street, but he wasn’t going into The Hatch. He stopped and talked to us. Monique asked us how we knew each other. “From The Hatch,” Tom replied. Within the next couple of hours, this happened about five more times. Monique finally said, “Why is it that everyone that goes to Down The Hatch only knows other people that go to Down The Hatch and practically no one else?” Tom and I both sat there in silence as we both realized something: she’s right!
I’ve seen this before. I went to a party every Saturday in Queens in July and August called P.S.1 with my friend Owen, one of the bartenders at Down The Hatch. While there, he ran into a bunch of people that he knew, and sure enough, when I would ask them how they knew Owen, they would tell me, “From The Hatch.” This would also happen at the post-P.S.1 parties that he would have at his apartment, and even at parties in the city after the post-P.S.1 parties. These are just a few of many examples that have lead me to a startling conclusion: Down The Hatch doesn’t really exist!
Monique compared the “members” of Down The Hatch to a cult or secret society, but I’ll take it one step further and say that we are all participating in a mass delusion, like in the movie “Fight Club.” We all congregate to a place that doesn’t exist, get drunk, and communicate with one another. The only time in my life that I’ve experienced anything similar to this was back in 1999, when I lived in Middletown, New York. I was eating dinner at a restaurant called The Hawaiian Fountain with my friends Nick Finkle (aka Louis Goldfarb) and Mike Wagner (aka The Despot). Goldfarb was mentally ill, and he told us that one time, he was at the mall when he decided to fall on the floor, kick his legs frantically and scream “FUCKER” non-stop, for exactly three minutes. At the time, he was with a mutual friend of ours named Robert Milby, and according to Goldfarb, when he got off of the floor, Robert Milby said to him, “Hey Goldfarb…do you realize that no one just saw you do that?” When Goldfarb told me this story, I told him that he was full of shit. “No, it’s true,” chimed in The Despot, “Goldfarb’s invisible.” What happened over the next few minutes was one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed. Goldfarb, in the middle of a crowded restaurant, yelled, “IT’S TRUE! I’M NOT FUCKING LYING!” I looked around. Sure enough, no one looked up from their dinner plates. Goldfarb, with total confidence, asked, “No one heard me, right?”
“No,” I replied. “But that has to be a coincidence.”
Without hesitation, Goldfarb screamed on the top of his lungs, “IT IS NOT A COINCIDENCE, YOU CUNT!!!”
Surely, they had to have heard that, right? Wrong. Not a single soul even glanced in our direction. This was weird, to say the least. I was curious as to whether or not this was contagious. I thought that maybe, since I was with Goldfarb, I too could be invisible. “No, it’s just me,” he said. Bullshit! I would hear none of that! I wanted to be invisible too, God damn it! “You can try it if you want to though,” he said. I had every intention of trying, so I shouted, “Maybe I don’t feel like trying, ASSHOLE!” Everybody in the restaurant stopped eating and looked at me.
“LOWER YOUR VOICE, HORSEFUCKER,” shouted Goldfarb.
Again, not one person heard him say this.
“I MIGHT FUCK HORSES, BUT AT LEAST I DON’T SUCK THEIR COCKS,” I yelled.
Everybody in the restaurant looked at me. Goldfarb responded with, “I TOLD YOU TO LOWER YOUR FUCKING VOICE, JERKOFF!”
No one heard him! I looked over at The Despot. He was quietly eating his meal, acting as if this was the most normal conversation in the world. “WHAT ARE YOU SO QUIET ABOUT, DICKHEAD?” I shouted. Everybody in the restaurant looked at me. I also got a couple of death stares. This time, Goldfarb screamed so loud that he made both me and The Despot jump in our seats. “DON’T FUCKING YELL AT HIM! HE DIDN’T DO SHIT TO YOU!!!” Following the predictable pattern, no one in the restaurant heard him say this. The point of this story is that very few people can actually see Louis Goldfarb. If there is a visible connection (no pun intended) between Louis Goldfarb and Down The Hatch, it’s lost on me. Neither Goldfarb nor The Despot have ever been there. I lost touch with them years ago, but I know that Goldfarb is now living in Atlanta, and as far as I know, The Despot is still living in Middletown.
I don’t have any answers to these mysteries, but my greatest fear in life is that, some day, I will be medicated, and as a result, this beautiful fantasy known as Down The Hatch will come to an end. Somehow though, I doubt that. I have a feeling that when the world ends, the only survivors will be a few cockroaches and the Down The Hatch community.
cc: The Invisible Man
October 22, 2004