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How Dry I Am

It seems as though New York has finally gotten its head out of its phony moral ass. For years it was impossible to buy alcoholic beverages before noon on Sundays, and now, lawmakers in Albany have decided that as of July 30, 2006, that law will be replaced by one authorizing beer sales as early as 8 AM.

Just how did this travesty of justice come about? Well, it was once decided that it was depraved to drink alcohol, read, talk loudly, scratch yourself and other sundry activities on “the Lord’s day.” No, no, not in this moral land! So, starting around the 1600’s in Connecticut, laws were passed to keep people on the straight and narrow path, at least on Sunday mornings. Violators were heavily fined, and sometimes even whipped and beaten. While detractors of the law might cry that the government was “legislating morality,” the truth is, as many truths are, economic in nature. If people were at home or in the bar on Sunday mornings getting soused, that meant that they weren’t in Church getting fleeced and brainwashed. Can’t have that! The Church, and its exceptionally deep pockets, has always had incredible influence over almost every facet of daily life, including that of governance, and so the laws were passed.

A few states, such as Connecticut and Rhode Island, refuse to loosen their grasp on the outdated superstitions and draconian morality of the seventeenth century, and so, still have their blue laws on the books. But thankfully, we live in a progressive state (one that forces its drivers to wear seatbelts and refuses law-abiding citizens their Constitutional right to carry firearms, but progressive towards fermented hops) and now New Yorkers everywhere can skip the sermon and head down to the ol’ watering hole for a frosty pint. Way to go Pataki (you fucking wanker).

Now on that note, I’d like to relate to you, dear readers, an experience that I had about two months ago at the Super Stop and Shop in Yonkers. You see, I was restocking some essential items (taco shells, transmission fluid, and a desk fan. They really do diversify at Stop and Shop), when I decided to pick up a twelve-pack of Sam Adams Summer Ale. All was going well until I got to the checkout line and the cashier, who was less than intellectually gifted, informs me that she is unable to complete the transaction. Well, not in those words exactly. Think “less syllables”. Since I knew exactly where this was going, and desired to instigate a little trouble, I resolved to claim ignorance of the entire “blue laws” nonsense by disguising myself as an Irish immigrant, (adopting the worst brogue since DiCaprio in Gangs of New York). So here I present to you a short scene detailing the exact exchange entitled "I'm Moving The Fuck To New Hampshire":



CASHIER: It’s Sunday.

ME: I know that.

CASHIER: So you can’t buy it.

ME: Because it’s Sunday? Or is there another reason I’m missing?

CASHIER (BECOMING VISIBLY PETURBED): You not allowed to buy beer on Sundays. That’s the law.

ME: Is this an order from Stop and Shop, then, or is this some American thing?

CASHIRE: America. All over. You can’t buy no beer on Sundays.

WOMAN BEHIND ME ON LINE (SHOUTING): Bullshit! It’s just fucking New York. And you can buy it after 12 o’clock.


ME (TO THE FEMALE SHOPPER): So is this a religious thing, then?

THE WOMAN BEHIND ME: Who knows? Probably.

ME: Don’t they serve wine at church? Do they not like the stores cutting in on their business?



ME: No worries, then, I’ll be back in a half an hour.

The cashier continues to ring up the rest of my purchases; I pay, trundle out the door, load up my truck and smoke a cigarette. It’s now 11:50, so I head back into the store, pick up a fresh case of Sam Adams, and go directly back to the cashier. As I’m waiting on line behind a woman with two carts who was apparently making purchases for the entire Lithuanian Army, the cashier notices me and picks up the phone, presumably to call the manager. Just a point of information: 90% of the time that I’ve bought beer at the supermarket, the cashier had to call the manager over to get him to unlock something special in the cash register, as if purchasing alcohol required launch codes or something. By the time he gets there, the woman in front of me had left, so I plop the case down on the conveyor belt.



ME: I’ve already done the rest of my shopping. Had to wait until the stars were in correct alignment for this though (PATTING THE CASE LOVINGLY).

MANAGER (FORCES A SMALL LAUGH WHILE KEYING THE REGISTER): Well, that’s the law, even if it is a bit silly.

ME: (SWIPING MY DEBIT CARD) I bet you that most people in my line of work would agree with you there.

MANAGER (TAKING THE BAIT): What sort of business are you in?

ME: (CASUALLY) I’m a priest.


I know, I know. I’m going to Hell. But at least there, I can get two-for one Cuervo shots on Christmas morning.


Moni said…
Naughty Val; giving that $7.50 an hour, just doing her job, doesn't even know why they law is in effect, one who puts up with people's crap everyday, cashier a hard time. Shame! ;)

FYI, not all churches serve wine, not even at communion. Not all are churches bad, medievil, legalistic, brainwashers. But of course you know that down deep. I'm not going to get all preachy on you, we've been through this before. Anyway, religion is man's attempt to reach God, grace is God's attempt to reach man. I don't put too much stock in "religion"; it's man-made. One is either a follower of Christ or not.

Anyway, hilarious post, you're a true Irish brogue, I would have loved to have witnessed that. Too funny! You're a character Val! I'm glad you got your Sam Adams, I'll bet it tasted all the sweeter.

"The Brainwashed"
Valannin said…
"One is either a follower of Christ or not." If only it were that simple. Christ's teachings seem pretty strightforward to me: Don't lie, cheat, steal, kill, or fuck your neighbor. Good advice, easy to follow.

It's when the line gets blurred between "good advice" and "institutional fanaticism", which of course takes place in every church, everywhere around the world. While they have their hands out. People don't need collection plates and doctrine to find God; in fact I'd go far as to say that the more heavily involved in a Church one is, the farther one actually is from God.

Jesus is as cool as Sinatra. Knows the right thing to say, when to say it, and can impress chicks at parties. It's when people make it a point to worship either one that causes all the problems.
Moni said…
"It's when the line gets blurred between "good advice and "institutional fanatiscism', which of course takes place in every church, everywhere around the world." Isn't that what I just said? Relgion is man made, man's attempts to reach God? Although, you said it more eloquently. I didn't say it didn't exist, I said not all churches are like that.

"Jesus is as cool as Sinatra." Ha, except he's not a mortal, narcissitic, blue-eyed crooner with ties to the mafia.

Dude, I don't believe you can't see a distinction between man made, and inforced religious legalism and the agape teachings of God in the flesh. I disagree with the statement that worshiping him causes problems. Faith doesn't cause problems, it's man that's causing the problems.

And again, are you just yanking my chain? Careful, I'll retract my marriage proposal. Ah ha!

**pinches Val on the cheeks and runs out***
Valannin said…
Ah, and therein lies the rub. You can't make the distinction between "man's teachings" and "god's teachings" because they are in fact one in the same.

Man wrote the Bible, the Torah, The Koran and any and all associated literature. "God" never put pen to paper, or chisel to stone. It's all an invention by man to a) preach moralistic behavior and b) proselytize.

And a lot of times, such inventions are good for man. The Ten Commandments, for instance, or the Sermon on the Mount. They give us direction and hope, not unlike the teachings of the Tao Te Ching, or Aesop. But not one word of any of them came out of the mouth of a deity.

And you can say that "God inspired man to write those things" but I think that's selling man short. Mozart didn't claim that Yahweh guided his hand, and even if he did, no one today would actually believe that he had a transcendendal moment, looked into the eyes of god and then wrote the Magic Flute. The most creative and most intelligent of us that have ever lived used their talents to make the world a tiny bit better for the other 10%, and to say that this was the work of a "god" denies them that genius.

And in the case of "fait and worshipping", the bad outweighs the good, I'm afraid. Thousands of people in the Middle East will die in the upcoming year simply because of a matter of faith. More people have died in the name of God than for any other reason. Believing in the teachings of a smart man is one thing, slaughtering millions because of your unwavering belief that your invisible man is better than another's is ludicrous.

I'd like to hear what others have to say on this topic, so feel free to point them this way.

I was going to write about my recent trip to Home Depot as my next post, but perhaps some spiritual and ecumenical definitions must be made first...
Scott said…
Over from Moni's place.

All I can say is, you are a man after my own heart. Religion, although it has some great lessons to teach, has no business as a guiding principle in any law we create. This post outlines the perfect example. Laws should be based on what is needed to make a society fluidly function. Blue laws are utterly ridiculous. I've been jonesing for a joint for nearly a year now and I'm getting sick of the fact that pot isn't legal while alcohol is. My preference is that both would be legal, but I'd gladly exchange the latter for the former. But will that ever happen? Not while religion guides us. Religion has wrought the most horrible wars, and is such a tool in manipulating guilty people that need a passport to the afterlife. I'm sick of it.
Valannin said…
Hey Scott, welcome.

The ironic part is that so many people take pride in claiming that U.S. law was derived from Judeo-Christian law, and as such, our country is able to practice a better brand of justice. For one thing, I don't buy into that. "Judeo-Christian law" has little to do with justice, and everything to do with control. "Don't eat this on this day," "Don't touch this person during this time of the month," "Don't mention certain words during certain phases of the moon while wearing certain colored pants," etc. If our legal system was really built on the backs of the Torah and Bible, the majority of the country would be taking milk baths to rid themselves of personal shame and end up being stoned for dropping the word "Jehova" in everyday conversation. And I'm not even going to touch Sharia law.

Second, rules like the Ten Commandments (at least the last seven) seem to be based on providing people with common, human rights. Don't kill, Don't steal, Don't lie. Don't cheat on your wife. Simple, logical. Or as George Carlin put it: "Thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie."

Our laws today appear to be much more concerned with protecting the rights of EVERYONE ELSE except the individual. What the hell does the State of New York care if I wear my seat belt or not? If I wish to be ejected through the windshield of my car at high speeds, then so be it. I have a right to so. Ah, but lawmakers cite the increased financial burden placed upon the state by people without medical insurance who have taken such a windshield swan dive. Hence the law, and hence my statement that most "truths" are economic in nature. Which I'm guessing is the core of your marijuana argument.

Thanks for the comment.

And just for the record, I would never give up my Macallan Single Malt - not even for a garbage bag full of Cambodian Red.
Scott said…
Well then, I'll just have to give that Macallan a try then, won't I?

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