J.R. Moehringer can saddle up to a bar and rattle off some of the best stories. He’s had a lot of practice, too, by having grown up in Publicans, a well-oiled Long Island, NY, pub run by his Uncle Charlie.
Moehringer puts his life on the table in his bittersweet memoir, “The Tender Bar,” with the perfect blend of wit and humor.
It's an engaging look his taking wisdom from a bunch of drunkards and losers who are regulars at the bar.
I especially like the nicknames he give the characters, including "Wheelchair Eddie," who earned his by rolling his car and losing control of his legs.
Moehringer overcomes great odds while growing up fatherless and searching for male role models, even though many of his ended up begin gamblers and crooks who drowned their sorrows at Publicans.
Fore example, he lands a scholarship to Yale and a job at the New York Times while developing his own drinking problem.
And, he shows a great knack for putting to words the process of loosing his mind with every swig of gin.
Best of all, his book published in 2005 and available in paperback is 110 proof that a little guy can come out on top after starting life with a near-empty glass and ending up sober.
Moehringer explains this process best at start of Part II, “Measure for Measure,” with this quote from William Shakespeare:
“They say best men are molded out of faults,
And, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad.”