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Thanks to the new bar at the Chicago Comedy Company Theater and Lillie's desire to have as many legal bartenders as possible, Erica and I are now Illinois BASSET* certified bartenders. Thanks to a two-hour online course and test we know all about Illinois liquor laws, how to cut off intoxicated customers, and how bad alcohol is for lil' fetuses, etc.

The online course was as laughably bad as you might imagine. Typos abounded: you should always check a "diver's license" because it might be "faudulent". There were videos about dealing with customers that I'm pretty sure were filmed in Wisconsin, for two reasons. One, in a video suggesting that you could "slow down" heavy drinkers by suggesting food or a glass of water, the girl responds to the suggestion of food by ordering some "cheese balls". And two, the actors' natural friendliness and affability is evident in every scene. In the one about cutting someone off, the 'drunk' says "I'd really like another drink" and when told "no" responds with two minutes of apologies about getting so 'crazy'.

One neat thing about this certification, other than the nifty certificates we got to print out ourselves at the end of the course, is that it marks the checking-off of a to-do item Erica and I have had since the start of our relationship. Back when we doing the chatting that turned into flirting that turned into going out, one of our recurring topics of conversation was Erica's casting about for a second job. She was thinking of picking up a bartender job somewhere and wasn't sure what sort of training or certification was required. I did the research and discovered that those hundreds-or-thousands of dollars 'bartender schools' are not required -- in Chicago you just need your BASSET license. So I offered to pay for the class and test for her birthday and take the test with her. Circumstances changed and we never did take the class, until now. So, oddly, sitting around on a Saturday afternoon taking online quizzes was somehow romantic.

* Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training