Normally the Hater’s Guide is chock full of hacky jokes at the expense of the city and team Atlanta United is facing in the coming game. This week, doing so just didn’t feel right due to the current situation of the team at hand. Instead I’d like to direct the hating towards a more worthy target in a very special edition of the Hater’s Guide that may help us better understand the man trying to take away a team, for no reason, from people who care about it. You know. Like an idiot.
As always, minimal effort has been put into this. There has been little research, next to zero editing and there’s a legitimate chance that you won’t find any of this entertaining in any way. As one commenter eloquently stated many editions ago, even after reading a disclaimer about how dumb and irrevocably pointless this article would be…
“This is a waste of time. Nothing here folks.”
Columbus, Ohio - 9:43 p.m. - An Applebee’s. No not that one, the other one across town.
“Can I get you anything else?”
The bartender looked over to the man slouched onto the countertop. “12th night in a row,” she thought to herself. The man just couldn’t hold Dollaritas. One dollar margaritas, non-stop. 12 early evenings in a row. The only thing more surprising than the fact he kept coming back was that he hadn’t died from the Dollarita-ness of it all.
“No I’m good,” the man mumbled over the top of his three-foot tall glass before returning to the colorful drink.
“Just let me know Mr. Precourt.”
She watched as he took another lengthy gulp and sat down his drink in exchange for his phone. Was he...? He was. She stared dumbfounded as he fired off a string of tweets. She wondered how a man so far gone on Dollaritas could be tweeting anything rational and not completely two-faced and an obvious lie and stupid. She let it slide.
“What is this weird smile he’s giving me?” she thought. “Oh wait, no, that’s just how his mouth always looks.” She almost felt bad for him, then remembered the Dollarita he had thrown at a customer the previous night and the feeling dissipated. That poor toddler.
She knew for him it had been a rough week. She didn’t know if the drinks were helping.
Two empty Dollarita glasses sat next to the half-full entity he had stopped working on long enough to yell at the elderly couple in the adjacent booth for being happy. A makeshift monument to...hubris? Loneliness? Greed? The right word couldn’t find it’s way to her tongue.
She reached for one of the empty glasses but the man, docile beforehand, ignited to life and slapped her hand.
“My glass!” he blurbled loudly.
“I’m sorry, but what?” she said incredulously.
“My glass!” he splurted again, this time with even more punch.
“This is not your glass,” she responded. She reached for it again but once again he swatted her hand away.
“I bought it! It’s my glass.”
“No,” she said. “You bought the Dollarita. The glass is ours. What the heck are you going to do with the glass anyway?”
“It will be better there,” he said before pausing to flick off a man, obviously constrained to a wheelchair, for not standing for the national anthem which in no way was playing at the current moment.
“Why would it possibly be better there?” she asked, slowly recovering from the shock of the initial exchange.
He paused and leaned forward for effect. As if he was going to whisper the world’s secrets to her. He then fell off the stool. But then he got back up and said one word.
“I’m going to take it to a college town. Those college kids love this stuff.”
She looked around the Applebee’s. The walls were suffocated by Ohio State jerseys, photos, memorabilia.
“You just don’t get it,” he explained. “Don gets it. Why can’t you be cool like Don.”
“I literally have no idea who you’re talking about.”
He downed another swig of Dollarita and told the manager to play the new Linkin Park album over the sound-system as loud as possible and turn the TV to “Big Bang Theory.”
“I call it “Big Linkin Bang Park Theory” he said, stupidly. “Anyway, I’m taking these glasses and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
He began to walk to the door, glasses in hand. However, as he began to leave a vision appeared. Initially he couldn’t make it out. It was...bright. It was...beautiful. It was...getting clearer. And clearer.
“Matthew McConaughey??? What are you doing here?”
“I’m what you imagine when you envision Texas,” Matthew McConaughey said.
“Why do you sound like my voice Matthew McConaughey?”
“Because you can’t remember what Matthew McConaughey sounds like so you’re just putting your voice in what you consider a southern accent,” Matthew McConaughey said. “Look. You don’t want to go to Texas. They don’t even want you. Looking past this extremely-thinly veiled allegory for moving the soccer team, I can tell you that they aren’t even interested in building you a stadium. They’ve literally said that. And you can’t play at DKR either. That’s where my Horns play. Hook ‘em hooooorrrrnnnnssss….” Matthew McConaughey trailed off as his corporeal body faded out of the Applebee’s and into the ether.
“No Matthew McConaughey! Not you too! You were my only friend! MY ONLY FRIEND!” Precourt cried as he clutched the Dollarita glasses to his chest and slunk to the floor of the Applebee’s.
The bartender stared in horror as the man yelled at what was clearly a picture of Woody Hayes.
“Ok maybe it’s time to give me back the glasses,” she said as she reached down.
“I bought them! They are mine! Matthew McConaughey said!”
“For the last time, just because you bought a Dollarita it does not mean you can take away everyone’s chance at ever having a Dollarita again. Those are the only glasses we have. Sure you could go get a drink at some big fancy bar, but we, the patrons and workers of Applebee’s, love Dollarita’s. To take that away from us...it’s...you’re just a bad human.”
“We agree,” actually the entirety of the Applebee’s said in unison.
He looked at their faces and saw how angry they were. He was frightened by it. For the first time in his life, people didn’t want to give him what he wanted.
“I really do feel for you Dollarita fans,” he said. “Its an uncertain time I recognize, and I take full responsibility for the situation I have put us in. The bartenders and wait staff deserve your support as they make a run to storage to provide you with the best Dollarita replacement they can. They have nothing to do with my decisions. I put you all in, not us...whatever the hell that means. I’m drunk, where did that good for nothing Matthew McConaughey go, he owes me a stadium and at least five dollars worth of Dollaritas.”
With that, every single person in the Applebee’s lurched towards the man simultaneously and attempted to take the glasses away. Despite their insistence he continued to hold on. You know. Like an idiot.
As the collective populace of the Applebee’s -- not the one you’re thinking of, the one across town -- converged to unanimously declare him wrong, the man began to cry out.
“Why does everyone hate Tony?!” he screamed. “Why everyone hate Tony???” He wailed.
The mob continued to swallow him while he yelled.
“WHY EVERYONE HATE TONY? WHY EVERYONE HATE TONY?? EVERYONE HATE TONY. EVERYONE HATE--”
And just like that, he was back in the basement of his house in Austin.
It had been forty years since he had escaped the Applebee’s with those glasses. The management helped him for whatever reason, even though the damage it would cause to the Applebee’s brand was readily apparent.
It took him a second to adjust to the scenery in the basement. He couldn’t understand why he kept imagining the Applebee’s. But the visions didn’t seem to stop. He looked around for his friends. He realized those were in his head too. He lost them in Columbus. He lost the glasses in Austin after a few years. The hipsters weren’t as interested as he thought. He didn’t know why. He couldn’t even tell you where they were.
He did know he was dying and no one wanted to be near him.
He downed the Dollarita copycat he had learned to make years ago. It didn’t taste the same.
He began to feel his body failing him. He knew he would be gone soon. He tried to imagine that Applebee’s one last time. In the early days though. Surrounded by people who cared.
He couldn’t do it. No one was there.
The man died in old age, alone, in an Applebee’s of his own making.
You know. Like an idiot.