86’d? Fine by me

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This letter that I am writing is somewhat different than usually write.

First, It is not original, I copied it. My Daughter Cheryl and I were discussing the word ”86’d” and where it came from, what year did it start and does it mean the same thing as it does now. My daughter looked it up on the computer and the following is the information that sent me:

“The word eighty sixed, first originated from 86, 86ed or 86’d and is American English slang for getting rid of something, ejecting some, refusing service. According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary “86” is a slang term that is used in the American popular culture as a transitive verb to mean throw out or grid of, particularly in the food service industry as term to describe an item no longer available on the menu, or refuse service to a customer. The term is part of a restaurant slang seen among restaurant workers in the 1930’s where 86 meant ‘we are all out of it.’

Walter Winchell publishes examples of similar restaurant slang in his newspaper column in 1933 which he presented as part of a glossary of soda fountain lingo. The history and stories of the best bars of New York claims that the police would call Chumley’s Bar during prohibition before making a raid and tell the bartender to 86 his customers, meaning that they should exit out of the bar while the police would come to Pamela court entrance.”

According to the Oxford dictionary, the first verifiable use of 86 in the sense of “refuse service to” dates to a 1944 book about John Barrymore, a movie star of the 1920’s, famous for his acting and infamous for drinking. There was a bar in the Belasko Building, but Barrymore was known in the cubby as an eighty six. An eighty six in the patios of western dispensers means “don’t serve him”. I often wonder myself where to word 86 originated, because I am very familiar with that word. The last time I got 86’d was in at a tavern close to where I live. I am not going into details of what happened. Someone started it and I got blamed for it. It happens all the time.

I have been 86’d four times in four different bars for committing terrible crimes. I thought that I would have served a life sentence in the penitentiary, but the sentence I got in number four was that they will not serve me, but it did turn out humorous.

Later, I got a letter from this local tavern, named Queens Out that stated “if I come in the bar or some person comes in the bar and asks the bartender ‘will someone serve me serve me.” This last sentence is Jim Dandy. “If someone sneaks a drink out of the bar for me they will call the sheriff”. Now how in the hell do you sneak a drink to someone?

1. By tip toeing through the Tulips?

2. Hope it is a new bartender that doesn’t know all the facts.

3. You are the only one in the bar and bartender is in the bathroom longer than usual.

I think they are barking up the wrong tree. I showed the letter to several people and they thought a six year old wrote the letter. The other night I dreamt that I was on the ten most wanted list. So to the people who work at the Queens Out Bar and the owner, I will never patronize that bar as long as I live. I hope that makes you all happy.

James Baker,


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