Opinion & Blogs » Punch Drunk

Punch Drunk: Jack's Parting Shot


My time writing a 750-word column in this space has come to an end. I’m sure a few people won’t be too upset about it. Conversely, my Mom probably will be really upset.

For a column like this, eight years is a very long time. But let’s be honest, there are only so many crude jokes out there.

There have been some proud Punch Drunk moments, though, like the time I interviewed Mayor Levar Stoney when he was a candidate. Would he have been elected mayor of Richmond had we not met at Star-lite Dining and Lounge for beers and a chat that day? It’s hard to say. Probably a question better suited for University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato Jr.

Or there was the time I got falling down drunk with Magnolia Jackson Pickett Burnside in the name of journalism. Magnolia is, in my opinion, Richmond’s finest and most vulgar drag queen. Upon entering the Jefferson with me, she loudly proclaimed, “It smells of dead ol’ lady fahhts in heh. My sensah-billi-tays have been offended!” Her sensibilities weren’t the only ones offended that evening. Somehow that column won me a Virginia Press Association first-place award. Maybe the judge was a drag queen?

Actually, now that I think about it, I’ve gotten drunk with and then profiled a number of local Richmonders, uh, in the name of journalism. There have been a lot of bartenders and bar owners, but also a current city councilman, Andreas Addison. And again, does he owe his victory to me? In his case, yes, he does.

This space has also seen a lot of personal details about my life. From relationships, to my myriad insecurities, to my day-to-day embarrassments — of which there have been many. Some of you may call that oversharing, but it’s not. It’s honesty. My radio partner Melissa Chase and I have learned that, to really connect with people, you have to put yourself out there. You have to just be you. And I have been unabashedly me in Style — even to the detriment of friends and family at times.

I’ve also talked about drinking. A lot. About bars, about cocktails, about being in bars with cocktails, about bartenders and the cocktails they were making in bars. I’ll be honest, there’s nothing I like more than being served a cocktail by a bartender in a bar. I started this column when I was a bartender. A wild, somewhat coarse, 26-year-old bartender. I’d like to think that I haven’t changed too much, but that’s not true.

I go to bed super-early these days. I have hair growing in weird places. My body has started making strange noises. The other day, I complained that my soup was too hot. This aging thing is not pretty. I still go to bars, though. I just leave earlier now.

Before I cash out, I’d like to thank people who have read me over the years. Many of you have mailed me kind words or told me in person. The best of you have even bought me drinks in bars. It’s all appreciated. In fact, if you see me out, continue that practice. I don’t mind.

Also thanks to Style publisher Lori Waran, whom I’m sure I gave my fair share of heartburn to over the years. Heartburn is another one of those aging signs that I’ve been afflicted with. Where does it end?

And, of course, I have to thank former Style editor-in-chief Jason Roop. He gave me a chance for some reason. He gave me direction at a time when my life was sort of foundering, and I’ll never forget it. There’s also a number of stories I can tell about our adventures together, but even Punch Drunk isn’t the place for those sordid tales.

Lastly, if I can leave you with anything, it’s to never do things in haste. Let time clear your head before you take action. Let the anger subside. Take a breath. Take a step back. Have a drink before you respond. But just one or two drinks. It’s a lesson I wish I had learned earlier.

Also, you’d better tip 25 percent or more for those drinks.

I’ll catch you at the bar. S

Jack Lauterback also is co-host of “Mornings with Melissa and Jack” on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at @jackgoesforth.