My ‘Desk Rescue’: Jon Taffer of ‘Bar Rescue’ Stages a Cubicle InterventionSpike
The best show on television is Spike’s Bar Rescue. This is not an opinion. This is a fact, one that everyone in the know knows to be true. The basic premise, in case you’ve been living under a Mad Men/Walking Dead/Black Mirror/Game of Thrones “critical acclaim” rock, is simple, dynamic, and heroic.
A man named Jon Taffer walks into your bar, changes your bar, and in turn, changes your life.
This is Jon Taffer with his wife, Nicole (tiled on my desktop).
Jon Taffer has lived an interesting life, one much more interesting than mine, than yours.
Taffer was a manager at the Troubadour in the late ’70s. He allegedly came up with the concept for NFL Sunday Ticket. Taffer was in the inaugural class of the Nightclub Hall of Fame. And he is the sole inventor of the butt funnel.
If you’ve binge-watched BaRes, you know that Taffer always brings the honesty, the passion, and the real. If you are a waste-of-life bar back who doesn’t deserve to breathe oxygen, he will tell you. But before figuratively asphyxiating you, he will hold you, tell you he loves you, and help you get your life back on track.
Taffer’s a fixer and a perfectionist. Before making his presence felt, he spies on the bar in a variety of ways (hidden cameras, patrons entering the bar as moles to relay information). Once he is fully fed up with the ineptitude, he storms in like Hurricane Opal, piledrives everyone’s confidence, typically picks multiple fights, finds the biggest weak spots, picks more fights, says SHUT IT DOWN, reunites a bar owner with his father, redesigns the bar, changes the name of the bar, unveils it to the remaining staff that he hasn’t fired, plugs the numerous brands that have helped make this transformation happen, and then says MY WORK HERE IS DONE and goes ghost like Swayze.
As I said in the beginning, Bar Rescue is the best show on television. And it’s always been a dream of mine to be rescued by Taffer. I dream about it. Every night. To summarize those last three sentences, I dream about Jon Taffer rescuing me from myself every night.
If only there were something very close to me that Taffer could swoop in and rescue …
If only …
Taffer: [Taps shoulder.]
Browne: Wow! Hey, Jon Taffer.
Taffer: This your desk?
Browne: Yeah, how’d you know?
Taffer: YOUR GODDAMN NAME IS ON IT. ALSO YOU’RE SITTING IN A CHAIR IN FRONT OF IT. ALSO I’M JON TAFFER AND I’VE BEEN WATCHING YOU.
Browne: You know, this is my dream. To be rescued by you.
Taffer: This is about to be your nightmare.
Taffer: Are you proud of this place? This existence you’ve created?
Browne: I mean, I think it’s got a lot of my personality.
Taffer: How old are you, Rembert?
Browne: I’m 28.
Taffer: Oh, so an adult?
Browne: Sure. Yeah, I’m an adult.
Taffer: Because what I see is a DORM ROOM OF A COLLEGE FRESHMAN WHO’S ONE DUFFED TEST AWAY FROM GETTING PUT ON ACADEMIC PROBATION.
Browne: It’s really not that bad, Jon. Look at Amos’s desk, it’s—
Taffer: Don’t you DARE bring Amos into thi— do you see what I see next to your cup?
Browne: Yeah, it’s a book. It’s Arthur Ashe on Tennis. So I work at Grantland, you know they say it’s the intersection of spor—
Taffer: Just shut up. You’re embarrassing yourself and your family. I’m not talking about the book. I’m talking about this:
Browne: It’s fine. There are paper towels in the bathroom. I’ll go wipe it up.
Taffer: Do you respect wood?
Browne: I know this bit, Jon. I’ve seen Curb.
Taffer: I INVENTED CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM 16 YEARS AGO. ASK LARRY. ASK HIM.
Browne: While you were screaming, I wiped it up. Look. It’s gone. Problem solved.
Taffer: Are you trying to be cute, or are you trying to be a professional?
Browne: Look here, I’m a creative.
Taffer: Sure. A creative. And a proud supporter of animal abuse, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?
Browne: Hey now, you can keep Vick’s name all the way out your mouth, before you get smacked.
Taffer: I’ll say whatever the FUCK I WANT. Also, how do you expect to take serious meetings with dolls right next to your computer?
Browne: It’s not a doll. Also, “serious meetings”? What are you talking about?
Taffer: HOW DO YOU EXPECT ANYONE TO RESPECT YOU IF YOU DON’T RESPECT YOURSELF?
Browne: Look here, you don’t even know me. I respect myself. I love myself. I care about myself.
Taffer: Oh really?
Taffer: Tequila. Soylent. What kind of monster are you?
Browne: Jon … OK … So sometimes people send you—
Taffer: I don’t want to hear it. Just get out of my way, I need to sit down.
Browne: Whatever, man.
Taffer: I will say, this is a comfortable chair. Ergonomically sound. But what exactly are my feet touching?
Browne: I don’t know, the ground? What are you talking about?
Taffer: What’s under your desk?
Browne: I don’t know, some cords.
Taffer: Oh really? Some cords?
Taffer: So are you trying to burn this building down? Do you enjoy arson? IS THAT A KEYBOARD?
Browne: I have no idea how that got down there. I think I’m being set up.
Taffer: LEARN HOW TO TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN GODDAMN SELF, THAT’S YOUR WHOLE PROBLEM, THAT’S HOW YOU GOT INTO THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Browne: OK, how about I just pick all that up and you leave? I regret ever wanting this to happen. I’ll get rid of the Soylent too. Even the—
Taffer: What’s that blue thing down on the floor?
Browne: It’s just a bag, Jon. It’s nothing. Actually, I promise I’ll put all the cords and bad stuff in the bag when you leave. It’ll be great.
Taffer: If it’s nothing, then why is it here? And why does it look full?
Browne: It’s nothing, Jon.
Taffer: Open it up.
Browne: But I’ll have to bend—
Taffer: OPEN IT. DA FUK. UP.
Taffer: A tent. ARE THOSE GOGGLES?
Browne: So I went to Burning Man. It was for work, Jon. I WORK HARD.
Taffer: When was that?
Taffer: Did I stutter? Do I look like R&B singer Joe to you? Again, WHEN WAS THAT?
Browne: August. 2013.
Taffer: SHUT IT DOWN. THIS DUSTY BAG IS ALMOST TWO YEARS OLD? THERE’S PLAYA DUST ON MY FINGERS, REMBERT. WAIT — THIS ISN’T EVERYTHING, IS IT?
Browne: Not exactly?
Taffer: Where is it?
Browne: Open the drawer next to the bag. It’s unlocked …
Taffer: Do you have a home, Rembert?
Taffer: I’m not convinced. A tent … a sleeping bag … liquor … Soylent … DO YOU LIVE HERE?
Browne: I don’t live here.
Taffer: THEN WHY DO YOU HAVE THE STARTER KIT FOR SOMEONE WITHOUT A HOME?
Browne: I FORGOT IT WAS THERE, GIVE ME A BREAK, I’M DOING THE BEST I CAN DO, IT’S HARD OUT HERE, YOU DON’T KNOW MY STRUGGLE, YOU CAN’T MATCH MY HUSTLE.
Taffer: Don’t you dare quote Kanye at a time like this, you sad excuse for a content maker.
Browne: I wish you didn’t exist.
Taffer: You don’t exist.
Browne: I do exist.
Taffer: Do I even want to know why there are three cups over there?
Browne: What cups, person I wish would fall into the Hudson River with ankle weights on?
Taffer: These three cups.
Browne: Oh, nothing … they’re empty. Just cups. Don’t even know why they’re there.
Taffer: Get out of my way.
Browne: Really, they’re nothing. Wait, Jon, look at these messy boxes. Bloggers be shopping. I will admit, I should do something about—
Taffer: GET OUT OF MY WAY.
Taffer: Fish. You’ve got betta fish in cups hidden in your desk.
Browne: THEY TRIED TO TAKE MY FISH AWAY FROM ME. YOU HAVE NO IDEA.
Taffer: So you know you’re not supposed to have them.
Browne: HAVE YOU EVER LOVED SOMETHING SO MUCH YOU WOULD TAKE A BULLET FOR IT?
Taffer: What did you tell people when they asked you about the fish, after you were told to get rid of the fish?
Browne: I said I took them home. I said I took the aquarium on the train all the way to Brooklyn.
Taffer: And people believed you?
Browne: Yeah. Pretty funny, right?
Taffer: That is pretty funny.
Browne: You want to see the aquarium? It’s still here.
Taffer: You sneaky son of a bitch.
Browne: I know. I’m sorry, Jon. I just love my fish. I change their water every day once everyone goes home. I’m like a fish abolitionist.
Taffer: You really are. I’m beginning to get you more, Rembert.
Browne: You are?
Taffer: Yes. This mess, this life you live — it’s a cry for help.
Browne: I dropped out of grad school, Jon.
Taffer: I know you did. You also can’t wink, can you?
Browne: I can’t.
Taffer: And you’re a slow reader.
Browne: A really slow reader.
Taffer: And you never really figured out how to do subtraction.
Browne: I’M JUST REALLY GOOD AT BACKWARD ADDITION.
Taffer: I know. Me too.
Taffer: Just go home. Get some rest. I’m going to do what I do. Come back tomorrow. I’ll do you proud.
Browne: Thanks, Jon. Thank you so much.
ONE DAY LATER
Taffer: Good to see you again, Rembert.
Browne: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to come back to my desk.
Taffer: Are you ready to see your new desk — and in turn, your new life?
Browne: I’m so ready. I’ve never been more ready.
Taffer: Introducing: REMLIFE.
Browne: HOLY SHIT.
Taffer: I did this.
Browne: HOLY SHIT.
Taffer: Because I love you.
Browne: I love you so much, Jon Taffer.
Taffer: Let me show you what I have done to change your life. First, let’s start with the books. You’re a writer, yes?
Browne: Yeah, I am.
Taffer: And we all know that the holy grail is print.
Taffer: When powerful people come by your desk, they need to immediately think, Wow, this guy sure knows his print.” Which is why I COMPLETELY SPLIT UP AND REORGANIZED YOUR BOOKS.
Taffer: I took these two books out of the book collection and put them at the FRONT of your desk so that they’re the first thing people see. You want people to know you care about money, about success, right? When it’s time for the big raise, you want your bosses to think, There’s no low-balling Rembert, he knows the teachings of Iacocca.
Browne: You’re so right. I want money.
Taffer: But it’s not just about money. It’s also about where you come from. The culture. Which is why I made a second separate section of books for you:
Browne: Wait, did you make me a black corner?
Taffer: I MADE YOU A GODDAMN BLACK CORNER.
Browne: I love you, Jon Taffer.
Taffer: If you hit them with the money corner, and then the black corner, you can’t be stopped, Rembert. Don’t let these white folks take advantage of you. You have to keep your edge, at all times.
Browne: You’re so right, Jon.
Taffer: And then finally, the rest of your books. Before, you had them all facing out, so people could see your book collection. And your heart was in the right place. But what if you need one of those books? You don’t even know which is which.
Browne: Yeah, I’d always have to guess which book was which. Or even worse, walk around to the other side of the desk to figure it out
Taffer: But look at it now. For you:
And for them:
Browne: You’re a genius, man. How do you do it?
Taffer: This is what I do. I rescue.
Taffer: Some other things. Not all changes have to be major. I noticed you had a big bin of your business cards.
Browne: Yeah, they gave me like 3,000 of them.
Taffer: But the box isn’t in the best condition, is it?
Browne: Not really.
Taffer: Not really the type of box you want featured on this nice new desk, is it?
Taffer: That’s why I made you a new-and-improved business card holder, USING THE TOP OF THE BOX THAT YOUR APPLE IPHONE CAME IN.
Browne: I was sure you would have thrown away that box.
Taffer: I only throw away things that deserve to be thrown away.
Browne: You’re so wise. Thank you for not throwing me away.
Taffer: Never. You notice anything else? Anything … sportsy?
Browne: No. You. Didn’t.
Taffer: INTRODUCING: YOUR SPORTS CORNER.
Browne: It’s so cool. This is the coolest thing ever. YOU EVEN LET ME KEEP MIKE VICK.
Taffer: I took all of your sports stuff and put it together.
Browne: Yeah, I know. It’s so cool.
Taffer: There was sports stuff everywhere. And I put it on one part of your desk.
Browne: I KNOW, JON. I GET IT. IT’S AMAZING. YOU MADE AMAZING HAPPEN.
Taffer: Thank you.
Browne: Wait, where did my Waffle House hat go? You didn’t throw it away, did you? I SWEAR TO GOD, TAFFER.
Taffer: Rembert. Did you even look at your entire desk?
Browne: You DOG.
Taffer: NOT ONLY DID I PLUG UP YOUR TV AND MAKE YOUR WAFFLE HOUSE HAT MORE PROMINENT, I TACKED UP A POLAROID OF CHRIS HAYES UNDER A TRADING CARD OF 3RD BASS.
Browne: You’ve done too much. How can I ever repay— wait, where’s my chair? Where’s the tequila? Where’s the Soylent? WHERE ARE MY FISH?
Taffer: My work here is done. TAFFER OUT.