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Happy Hour... Really?

A HUGE plate of nachos (extra cheese) and two beers for $4.22?

I knew all appetizers were half off as a selection of beers, but it did not really hit me until I gawked at the bill.

“So much for SO cheap!” I exclaimed to the waitress.

“Oh,” she said, her voice all flat and nasally.

“That was so much fun,” I added as I packed up my huge Old Navy bag with textbook after textbook, my laptop and more notebooks.

I have this really bad habit of packing everything with me whenever I go out. It is like I plan on mastering Spanish, apply to three or four jobs and read all of my reference books in just a few hours.

Let’s just say I am a type A person, who just happens to be unemployed. I don’t get excited easily, but really, “Look at all of this!”

“We have this same special 12-4 p.m. every day,” my waitress said, not seeming all that impressed.

I just have to call someone.

“$4.22 for LUNCH and two beers!” I exclaimed to a friend.

“Oh,” she said, in that same flat nasally voice.

Can’t someone be happy for me?

“They have this special again tomorrow! This is unreal!” I shriek.

A pause.

“Um,” she said. “Were you at Happy Hour, Cathy?”

Dead Silence.

Happy Hour? That’s an actual thing?

I did not know it was an organized activity. I remember Jack Tripper (who was unemployed too…), rushing with Larry to the Regal Beagle for Happy Hour with some gorgeous waitress in mind.

Also, an actor was once asked if his past co-worker came back to the set drunk after lunch. The actor said, in a deep, suave voice something like, “Let’s just say he had a little too much Happy Hour.”

Clearly, yes, I am familiar with the term.

A light bulb is starting to go off:

“Happy Hour is like at Buffalo Wild Wings when they have beer and appetizer specials from 3-7 p.m. on weekdays?”


“And when bars have 50 cents off beers during the day?”


“OOOH! Like at Applebee’s, when some appetizers are half off after 10 p.m.?”


“No, Cathy. That is a food special,” she said.

I see.

“Like when McDonald’s has its Mix and Match special,” she added.


But really, who would really go to Happy Hour? I mean it is usually during a weekday. If you have a job, you shouldn’t drink in the middle of the day.

Don’t you want to be your best at your job?

I can’t really see retirees at Happy Hour. If you work second shift, do you go to Happy Hour before work?

I mean, I mistakenly went to one. But to go to Happy Hour on a regular basis?

I don’t think so.

When I first lost my job of 12.5 years, it was a bit difficult. I usually worked three or four jobs at one time so even just working one job was a shock to me. The advice was, “Try to get out in the community and have some kind of routine.”

Kind of what you would say to an 80-year old widow or something.

But I did what I was told.

I woke up, showered and dressed in work clothes. I carried my laptop, reference books and told myself I was going to work.

I went to a coffee shop all day.

However, there was a serious drawback to this plan:

Most coffee shops often do not sell soda cheaply. If at all.

I did not want to go to a fast food restaurant all day to drink cheap soda, so I came with a better option.


They have soda refills right? There, I went.

And the hostess would always greet me with some kind of special, “$2 beers on tap, and ….”

And then I would ask, “Do…?”


Wait a minute here.

Could she have been announcing a Happy Hour special? Does this mean I was at an actual Happy Hour?

What would happen is that the hostess would announce the special that usually included beer.

And my main concern was:

“Do…You have a table near an outlet?”

I would then go to a secluded table where I set up my “office.” I would organize my books, my laptop and supplies. This was a place for work.

I went to a new bar a day, and I am guessing a new Happy Hour each day. But did I really spend that much time at Happy Hour?

Last night, just for an example, I spent four hours in one bar before relocating to another one because it was too cold. I must have had three hours of Happy Hour time between the two.

That does not seem so bad.

The day before, I was at the bar on Milwaukee’s East Side. For about eleven hours.

And then, the day before that….

Let me do some quick math.

44 hours total of bar time (not including weekends). Approximately 23 hours at Happy Hour. In just one week?

People would come in groups, have a beer or two and leave quickly. I had soda, was alone and stayed.

When it was ten p.m., I was able to block out the dancing, shouting, singing and sometimes fighting and continued my work until the bar closed.

But then, however, I also would see people in suits and ties come in and set up a laptop or mobile

device during the day. They were there to work too! At the same bar I was at!

When I finally got the nerve to approach one of them (the handsome one), he said he was a beer distributor.

“It is an easy job; I travel to bars and sell beer,” he said.


“Are you hiring?”

“Well, you have to like beer,” Mr. Handsome said eyeing at my soda as if it was some foreign artifact.

Is this what you call hitting rock bottom? I cannot even do an easy job?

Instead of fitting in by taking advantage of the beer specials, I am drinking soda. Still…free soda refills are cheaper than the beer specials.

But, that is absolutely not the point.

I just Don’t Understand Happy Hour.

And then, I once decided to be adventurous and transitioned from soda to Point Root Beer. When they only had Point Kiddie Cocktail, I stupidly said, “I don’t want anything alcoholic,” ignoring the waitress’ odd look.

A quick Google search set me straight.

When I told people about not really comprehending the Happy Hour concept (selectively omitting the Kiddie Cocktail incident), most people, if they were not laughing uncontrollably, just gasped:


The silence was quite uncomfortable. When I tried to justify my lack of understanding, it made me, of course, look worse.

One thing that is so basic to just about everyone is clueless to me.

The point of these blogs is to Redefine, Reshape and Rethink literacy so EVERYONE can UNDERSTAND their surroundings. Everyone has literacy challenges. Especially me!

For years, I worked with basic literacy students. One older adult never felt comfortable ordering from a menu as he was not able to read it. Another did not feel comfortable paying with change as she could not count her change.

For most of their lives, they hid their lack of literacy skills from others and just plain, felt embarrassed.

And by taking another literacy to another dimension, the same thoughts, feelings and methodologies to what is defined as basic adult literacy can be used for people who have Competent literacy skills. They are just lost in one area of their lives. And that one area is basic to everyone else.

A CEO of a company may have trouble navigating a PowerPoint presentation his or her administrative professional made.

Someone who has never written an email on a professional level may struggle with email etiquette.

A new corporate employee may need to learn golf vocabulary to fit in at his or her job.

Can we TAKE Literacy to a new level and broaden the understanding of Literacy and help even more people?

Not to be defensive, but can you see how one may be confused about Happy Hour?

I mean, it is called Happy Hour, but the specials are usually more than an hour and at different hours at each bar.

At least I now have a basic understanding of the concept, I will no longer make a fool out of myself. I may struggle when it comes to reading a wine menu (it is in a foreign language) or pouring beer (it foams and foams and never fills), but that is another story.

I don’t think Happy Hour is my kind of thing.


After receiving an email, I found another way to enjoy this great American past time!

The subject line REALLY said: It's Happy Hour Over Here at…


My favorite, favorite online shopping source! I mean they sell brochure holders, signs and business card holders!

And if Displays2go has a Happy Hour, who knows, maybe Office Depot or Staples does too!

This is a great relief. I can still celebrate Happy Hour. In just a different way than everyone else

#LiteracyForAll #Literacy

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