Jesse Tise

It’s never too late for a holiday party, especially if you write for a newspaper, as we define the times and seasons.

Here at the Portland Mercury, we pride ourselves on staying connected to the public, the common worker, and the wealthy hipster convinced they represent the common worker. So what better venue for our festivities than a dive bar decorated with relics of a Portland long since replaced by high-rises in which no native Portlander can afford to live? One corner held a velvet, Hawaii-era Elvis painting staring lasciviously at the perky breasts of a nude from an age when untrimmed pubic hair ruled the land. The paramours were separated by a plastic stand holding all of your lottery needs. In another corner there was an elevated crèche with a taxidermy mongoose and pheasants in Santa hats standing in for shepherds.

Every wall featured an illuminated advertisement for the finest beers: Pabst, Rainier, Blitz, Hamm’s, and Olympia. Behind the bar hung a rotating globe of the world advertising Schlitz, bracketed by a television dedicated to large, attractive men throwing balls across a field. For historic accuracy, the proprietors included a photo booth, Big Buck Hunter, and pinball machines.

Having learned from my last party, I tried to come formal, but quickly changed my mind upon inexplicably hugging the bouncer, who may or may not have been a clone of Andrew Dice Clay circa 1990. My assessment of the situation was confirmed by the announcement of an open bar. In my experience, there’s little point in formality once you’re belligerently drunk. So, the shirt came untucked. Liquor filtration included quartered sliders made of beans as well as various slain animals, hot and BBQ wings, shortbread cookies, salad, dressed-up tots, and the bomb-ass buffalo cauliflower of which I ate far more than my fair share.

Naturally, such a classy engagement required karaoke provided by a set of DJs dressed like rejected members of the Lovin’ Spoonful. Our editor opened the floor with a stellar Britney Spears impersonation. I, of course, performed Fiona Apple’s “Criminal,” because I’m a stereotype. Then came a performance of “You Can Call Me Al” by a charming chap in a dog sweater. ’Twas the sweetest, whitest thing these eyes had ever seen—sufficiently sweet to overshadow his and multiple female partners’ later cruising, as the night and drunkenness carried on. Next came a spot-on rendition of “Immigrant Song,” performed to a degree of perfection exclusively attainable to badass women. The low point of the evening was a performance of “Cradle of Love” that got the whole crowd (with the exception of myself and two other social justice hawks) gleefully singing along with Billy Idol’s signature ode to pedophilia.

An exceedingly problematic song choice aside, a Mercury party is guaranteed 10 of the 10 points available—based on objective quality, rather than contractual obligation.