As noted philosopher Nelly Furtado once crooned, “All good things come to an end.” The Shamrock Shake is forever fated to leave, and Princeton University statistically proved democracy is over. But I never thought it could happen in Madison. I never thought it could happen at The Plaza Tavern.
The Plaza, that delightful little bar off State Street with innocuous nature paintings on the tenderly wood paneled walls. That gathering grove for hipsters and people who deny they are hipsters, where LCD Soundsystem is required once an hour. That handsome bar that your parents say still looks the same, the bar that WiFi and credit card machines forgot.
The bar where a strange phone booth with a life-size styrofoam Colonel mustard statue sits right behind the never-used bubble hockey machine. The bar with a disconcerting bullet hole in an otherwise picturesque painting of a loon. The Plaza Tavern (at 319 N Henry St.) has it all.
It’s so beautiful, so raw, and Thursdays it’s the site of $2 long islands, a night where all flannel owners can get drunk cheaply together. They can all forget about the terrible liberal arts mistakes they are collectively making.
BUT NOT ANYMORE.
Now, perhaps thanks to Obamacare, or perhaps due to corporate greed that is sweeping America and threatening to destroy our democracy, the Plaza has changed. Gone is the innocence and the frivolity and the hope. The bartenders, who never used to raise their voices, now yell and curse and even deleted Neutral Milk Hotel from the jukebox.
Because now, on Thursdays, long islands are an astonishing, gut-wrenching, stomach churning, bile producing, rage inducing two dollars AND fifty cents.
262.71 yen (according to the trade values September 7, 2014).
So break out the piggy banks everyone, because the Plaza wants all those coins too.
Sure the Plaza is still packed Thursday nights. But the joy is gone. Now “21-year-old” millennials wander around shiftlessly, anxiously worrying about how they will pay for breakfast now that a double long island is FIVE DOLLARS.
Certainly, we as a nation could come together over the bi-partisan military industrial complex that has crippled our nation’s ability to take care of its citizens. Or maybe even we could protest the obscene way mental health is viewed and how we throw the elderly away like so many forgotten Dunkaroos wrappers. But why?
Instead we should protest this crippling price increase. Now, I only have enough money in my scrawny budget to blackout two, not three, Thursdays a month. Which means I’ll have the courage to flirt with hipster girls 33.3333333333333 percent less. Which means my 24 percent chance of success is now 16 percent. Which means the Asmus family line will probably end with me as the last male heir.
That’s what’s at stake.
I know I’m not alone. Especially because Michael Jackson sang “You Are Not Alone,” a song I no longer have the money to play on the Plaza’s jukebox once a month, which was a rare moment where I could feel alive in this post-post modern nightmare.
So protest this latest human rights violation, tune out from all that ISIS stuff and drink the Plaza dry every single Thursday night with our $2.50 long island special!
That’ll show ’em!
Geoffrey Asmus ([email protected]) graduated from UW in 2013 with majors in history, religious studies and language and cultures of Asia.