When I was a wage slave, the call of Friday happy-hour escapism was like aural honey to my ears.

After a few years in the YTG system, I could proudly say my paper-shuffling skills were unmatchable. (I can make it look like I’m furiously working while doing nothing at all.)

It also helped that no one expects anyone to actually do any work, the closer the weekend approaches.

Every Friday, at about a half-hour to closing down another thrilling workweek, the trickle of escapees would begin. I usually made my dash about 15 minutes later; any longer and I would have been in danger of being confused with the eager beavers who stayed right until the clock hit 5.

(Seriously, no one expects you be to there clacking away at the keyboard. If you happen to be catching up on your Facebooking before you go, well, that’s fine.)

At the time, I also had access to a back door out of my 9 to 5 heckhole, all the more to make a silent getaway.

You see, I wasn’t just escaping the weekly doldrums for a couple of days. I had a stronger imperative.

There were two instances when I knew I had made it as a Yukoner, and feel free to read into it as deep as you like, but they do indeed revolve around booze.

(I guess I’m not that complicated of a guy really – I like beer.)

The first happened when I sat down at my usual table in the Taku (RIP), and the server brought me a frosty mug of Chilkoot without me having to order. Not the grandest of hallmarks, but it was mine nonetheless.

The second came to me as I chowed down on free mini-meatballs, surrounded by other weekend warriors. I had found my bar family.

Discovering which watering hole you’re going to call home is a decision that is likely tantamount to choosing a doctor. You want a place that feels comfortable, is filled with like-minded folk … and it doesn’t hurt to have your favourite ambrosia on tap.

Next, you and your like-minded folks need to be ready to hold a mini U.N.-like session on the past week’s events.

Once you’ve figured out this formula, you’ll find there is no greater decompression chamber than a filled pub on a Friday afternoon.

In the Taku, we would examine the vagaries of work life, the good and bad, the triumphs and foibles. Grand tales were spun, crazy scenarios were retold and, indeed, many a tyrannical boss ended up skewered on sharpened tongues.

(For, truly, the lifeblood of any government system is gossip. You know it and I know it. Let’s just say the whole “Pornogate” event made for some of the best Taku Friday afternoons.)

Disseminating your workweek amongst like-minded people is the best therapy for some and almost like church for most.

Hey, it works for this particular atheist. This was my once-a-week spiritual replenishment place with free appetizers, no less. Plus, I had a wonderful congregation to pull up a stool with.

So I’d like to raise a glass to my old bar family. To Joanne, Jo, Shelagh and Howard, Karen and all the rest – you’re irreplaceable.

Shoving mini-meatballs into my yap by myself just isn’t the same.