Table Knocking

by Jake Block

 

There’s a quaint, old custom that you used to see in Bavaria at restaurants and beer halls where good friends gathered at long tables to eat, drink and talk the night away.  When someone would join the group, knowing several of those in attendance, he would knock the table softly two or three times, acknowledging everyone,  and those at the table would raise their glasses in greeting.  Should a stranger walk up to a table and knock, they’d be met with silence, shunned by the group, who continued enjoying the company for friends that the outsider could only watch from a distance.  It was called “table knocking.
 
Today we’re a little less formal, regarding who we allow at our tables, not recognizing that the quality of every group is dependent upon the stability and personality of those within it.  Now, I’m not saying that we should be snobbish and standoffish.  Everyone wants to be part of the “cool kids’ table in the school cafeteria.  But you have to merit a place at the table.  If you can measure up to the standards set, and you don’t make an ass of yourself, you might just fit in.
 
Like Leo Sayer sang in his song, Long Tall Glasses:
 
“There was ham an’ there was turkey, there was caviar
An’ long tall glasses, with wine up to yar 
Then somebody grabbed me, threw me outta my chair
Said before you can eat, you gotta dance like Fred Astaire
 
It’s the way of the world.  You wouldn’t expect to just wander into the Hell’s Angels club house in Oakland, California, grab a beer out of the fridge and start yammering on about your Honda 175cc put-put.  You wouldn’t expect to walk onto the yard at at San Quentin prison as a black man and wander over to the Aryan Nations’ squat to catch a few rays.  You wouldn’t expect to walk into the teacher’s lounge as a student because you have read a book… or the Pilot’s Lounge at JFK because you’ve flown into the airport as a passenger… or the 1st violinist’s seat at the Met because you’ve heard Charlie Daniels rip his fiddle.  All of these places and more throughout your life will have “merit requirements” that those who reside there will have met.  They are recognized by their peers as deserving of being amongst others who also have spent their time and paid their dues to be part of that group.
 
We’ve all probably faced the sting of rejection at one time or another because we sat in the wrong place or said or did the wrong thing.  It happens all of the time on the web, where experts, real and imagined, “cop a squat” and pass judgement on those who will be able to squat beside them and participate in the group dynamic.  The nature of these groups can be like castle walls or as open as theater in the round.  We have to bear our share of the blame, because one would be wise to observe any culture before diving headlong into the center of the action and expecting to be accepted by simple virtue of being.  But you know what I always say?  “Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.”  We learn as much, if not more from our mistakes in life as we do from our successes, and those who come down on us like the “wrath of god” for our faux pas are merely replaying those memory tapes of when they stepped on their own social banana peel.
 
I can recall any number of times when someone’s wandered into this page or that page and made a bad first impression.  Sometimes, they don’t recover, gain their composure and become a working partner in the group.  Ok… they leave.  If nothing else they become an anecdote; a cautionary tale of how not to handle yourself.  Some groups simply oust them.  Others might try to work with them te get them on the same page as everyone else, regarding group culture and decorum.  Those who take the hint and “get a clue” quite often manage to become valued members of the groups.  Either way, the group continues and is none the less for wear.  And you know, as long as nobody dies or steals the silverware from the kitchen, what happens on the web is what happens on the web!
 
Some “merit” groups are pretty laid back and your ostracizing might come in the form of “hard looks” or sniggering from the group.  I once had an appointment in the financial district of San Francisco.  By nature, I am a punctual man, and I arrived early, with about 30 minutes to kill before my meeting.  So, I wandered into a small coffee shop near by and stared at the menu with its half-caf shot drop lattes and ordered a cup of plain, black coffee.  I popped open my laptop, sipped my coffee and started to go over my notes for the meeting.  After about five minutes, I noticed that everyone seemed to be giving me disapproving looks and attitude.  I glanced over at the woman sitting at the next table, who looked as if I had just swallowed worms and asked, “What did I do, get the wrong kind of coffee?
 
She scowled at me and said, “Mister, you are in a lesbian coffee house.
 
I had no idea coffee even had a sex.
The Orders of The Sect of the Horned God

The Order of Pan
The Order of Cernunnos
The Order of Prometheus
The Order of Dionysis
The Order of Shiva

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