On the Jag

A sailors' bar jammed not with pirates but Steelers

"That's right, Big Al," said Donna, who had dropped in on the conversation.

"No, it should be Big Ben," I said, indicating Adam's jersey.

"What have you heard?" Adam said, giggling.

Jason Crosby

"Is he talking about his penis?" Donna asked.

Suddenly, they all focused on the TVs, and Donna started chanting these magic words, over and over: "Jell-O shot."

"When the Steelers score, we all get free Jell-O shots," Adam explained, as if letting me into an inner sanctum of wisdom. In a flash of brilliance, I realized the truth: I'd always loved the Pittsburgh Steelers. I just hadn't known it until that moment.

"The shots are Steelers colors," Adam continued. "The black is black cherry; the yellow is lemon. I hate the lemon ones." He made a face.

"If you get a lemon one, give it to me," I said.

Jell-O shots: I guess the Steelers were sucking so hard that Donna figured a touchdown might not ever happen, so she gave me a delicious, lemon Jell-O shot. A few minutes later, the crowd blew the place apart with cheering, and though it hadn't been a touchdown, Donna decided it was as good a time as any to give out shots. So I had another one, becoming increasingly good at downing them with minimal mess. Eventually, the Steelers stopped sucking, and I ended up sucking down two more Jell-O shots. Man, gotta love those Steelers.

Pittsburghese: An older, wiry gentleman — he was wearing two plastic Hawaiian leis around his neck, one yellow and one black — came up to me and said he'd heard I was writing about the place.

"I stole the leis off the tuna," Patrick explained after noticing me eyeing his neck adornments. He pointed to a big fish mounted on the opposite wall. "Anyway, I'm here to answer your questions."

I had four Jell-O shots crawling around my stomach and nothing investigative to ask, so he led me over to his group of friends.

"Do you know what a jag-off is?" Patrick asked me.

Sometimes the currents can take a nightlife columnist into the mental doldrums, no matter how she fights it.

"What?" I asked politely.

"It's Pittsburgh slang. Go ask the owner." Mark said he didn't know. Patrick was outraged and led me across the bar. He commanded dark-haired Robert and pretty, slender Stephanie to define "jag-off" for me. He then promptly wandered off.

"It's like a jack-off," Robert said. "An asshole."

"I kind of figured," I said, taking the opportunity to scribble in my notepad. In the process, my grocery list fell out of my purse, and Robert snatched it up. " 'Dishwasher soap, yogurt, Draino, tampons, condoms, lube, vibrator...' " Only four of those things were actually on the list. Stephanie sighed exasperatedly.

"Yeah, I'm shopping for a vibrator at the grocery store," I said, snatching the list back. It was about time to bolt.

No such luck. I was stopped by Adam's father, Tom, a friendly, older gentleman who had heard about my quest to define the word jag-off. Adam saw me talking to his dad, and, like an adolescent, rolled his eyes in embarrassment.

"I suggest you try Pittsburghese.com," Tom said.

"What are they doing to you?" asked Jill, an off-duty bartender who was short, pretty, and for some reason way too sober for the place.

"Defining jag-off," I said innocently. Now that his father was a few feet away from us, Adam strutted up and put his arm around Jill.

"This is my wife," he said. She rolled her eyes.

"You've just found the definition of the word jag-off," she said with a smirk.

So, the Steelers won, I learned a new word, had three too many Jell-O shots, and drifted wordlessly back into the night. Yeah, I'd had a crazy, drunken time with Steelers fans, but a nightlife columnist doesn't dock her ship at one bar, no matter how much fun it is. I'll be drifting on to a new liquor harbor next week, and I just hope it's got as many fun, Pittsburghese-speakin', hard-drinkin' folks as the Wayward and maybe a few less jag-offs.

Contact the author: Tara.Nieuwesteeg@BrowardPalmBeach.com.

Shawn confessed he was not a Steelers fan, and despite watching intently, Adam might have been too inebriated to know the score.

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