"You know, honestly, I think it’s just too hard to keep track of,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “If you can’t legislate it, if you can’t enforce it then you probably ought to just go ahead and make it legal. I think that’s kind of what happened with Prohibition."
— WV Men’s BB Coach Bob Huggins, on the NCAA’s change in legislation of texting potential recruits
If you go to the movies, popcorn is a given for many patrons. And possibly a pop to wash it down. But unless you’re going to see Follow That Bird, why not opt for an adult beverage? Haven’t we come far enough to make that happen?
Many theaters now have a spirituous option. Some opt for a cold brewski to moisten the palate and make it feel like being at the ballgame while Moneyball is on the screen. Others opt for a good glass of merlot to get them in the thinking mood while watching The Artist, letting the sound of the full-bodied red swish in their glass act as the only sound necessary. Other theaters offer a full-fledged cocktail menu, with drinks that you’d be able to quaff at your favorite craft cocktail outfit.
Regardless of what you drink, is imbibing really desired during a movie? I must admit, having a Smirnoff Ice while watching The Dark Knight made that experience a bit different and definitely put a smile on my face, it was probably for the novelty. I’d never done it before, and felt like I was “getting away” with something. But you’re not using the cocktail or icy bottle to ease conversation with anyone. It’s usually too dark to make out the different colors in your drink, and you can’t describe the flavor profile to your partner, lest the usher come up to you, throw the drink in your face and kick you out of the place for talking too much.
Maybe the best place is to go to theaters that create a drinking place at the moviehouse itself. Imagine the glorious time that can be had rehashing parts of the movie, why you think George Clooney finally nailed the role that will take him across the Oscar threshold, and why The Help won’t need any additional assistance to continue their award sweep. All the while downing a Red Carpet Fizz in an open space with tons of light and no 18th Amendment towards sound. That sounds like the script to a congenial affair.
We all have stress. Few of us live in a cabin in the woods, far away from life and its twists and turns, far removed from anyone else with feelings and idiosyncrasies, far away from our constantly-changing needs and wants. But when we do encounter stress, what do we do with it?
Some people try to drown their stress with liquor. Alcoholism as a disease has affected countless people, and their friends and families, and was the justification for the only constitutional amendment to be revoked. Many aids are available to deal with reliance on the bottle, with religion, a focus on personal wellness, and the organization Alcoholics Anonymous and their 12-step recovery program at the lead. But no matter how committed a person may be, or not be, they often fall victim to a relapse. What is the cause of that, and can it be prevented? Can anyone be associated with “fault” other than the person holding the glass?
Many famous athletes have been sufferers of alcoholism over the years: Mickey Mantle, John Daly, John Lucas, William “Refrigerator” Perry, even Ron Artest offered a claim that he would drink Hennessy during the halftime of games earlier in his career. Seemingly invincible during times of competition, their struggles with alcoholism shows a level of vulnerability that affects everyone with a beating heart.
Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers has been through his share of struggles throughout his career, but made a strong comeback over the last couple of seasons. With the Rangers now looking like a perennial challenger for the World Series crown, and himself on the cusp of a sure-to-be blockbuster contract, he had the r-word that doesn’t make or bring in a score for his team: relapse.
In his post-relapse press conference, Hamilton spoke of the personal and family stress that he’s going through, how he will continue to lean on the people closest to him, and that his religion will be a big part of his continued recovery. Hamilton also said his relapse scenario was: he went to a restaurant, had three or four drinks, met up with a teammate, lied to him about drinking previously, spending time talking and afterwards accepting a ride home, then sneaking away to have more drinks.
One of the restaurants in question was said to put the personal responsibility squarely on the patron, Hamilton in this situation. While that is totally permissible in a court of law, was there latent blame on the bartender? No information was released about the specifics of the situation — Hamilton’s behavior, the identity of the bartenders, any details of the transactions, etc. Speculation notwithstanding, if Josh Hamilton came to your bar asking for a drink, and you knew who he was and the extent of his personal struggles, would you serve him? Even if you served him once, would you continue to serve him? Would you offer a different style of drink or cocktail, if he was asking for straight shots of liquor? Would you use some portion of B.A.S.S.E.T. training to “talk him down”?
I just wonder if different styles of drinking would aid in preventing the onslaught of the relapse, get the person to slow down a bit, and think about what they’re doing and who they’re doing it to. Your ability to throw out a runner from left field shouldn’t prevent you from respecting the bottle — we have seen much too often what the bottle does to disrespect you in return.
….Prohibition. The Noble Experiment. The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Volstead Act. The day that made men cry — that is, unless they kept a tommy gun at the ready.
Prohibition is known as the period of time where it was illegal to produce and consume liquor. Feds running around to safehouses and using axes to crack open illegal barrels of whiskey and beer. Americans were forced to turn to household items, such as the sacred bathtub and pantyhose, to produce spirits undetected. As for the industry, countless breweries and distilleries went out of business, unable to transition to legal products profitable enough to keep their smokestacks churning. Drinking establishments, as was alluded to in the previous post, had to switch to serving products of the legal variety — ice cream and soda pop.
However, was everyone on either the legal/carbonated side or illegal/gangsterrific side of the law? Was there no happy medium? Indeed there was. The language of the Volstead Act prohibits “intoxicating liquors” — isn’t all liquor intoxicating? Not quite, according to Congress. Available for production was a defined amount of “non-intoxicating cider and fruit juice”, originally set to be no more than 0.5% ABV, but then extended, rendering home wine-making basically legal. But who really wanted to fiddle with grapes, just to arrive at a Pinot Noir that was the same color as a mass-produced Pinot Noir, but without any of the convenience or complexity. And all the 99p red in the world couldn’t make up for the lack of an ice cold beer or a nice jigger of brown, right? What’s a man to do?
Go see the doctor, that’s what. In current times, we know of “medicinal marijuana” that allows pharmacists to prescribe narcotics to those who need it, without criminal penalty. In the decade or so of Prohibition, this was also the method used, as pharmacists would dole out “spirituous frumenti”, the medical term for whiskey:
“To persons who are druggists in good faith, to retail spirituous and vinous liquors at the drug store in quantities not less than a quart, the liquor not to be drunk on the premises or adjacent thereto, and to sell in quantities less than a quart, for medicinal purposes only, on the prescription of a regular practicing physician, $50…” — Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. J.W. Fowler
Now that seems right and just. If I need my medicine, law or no law, I should get my medicine! And who would fight over that right? Lawyers?? Of course. They already had their Constitutional Amendment, why not keep fighting? Well, you know what we say to those lawyers? This:
“Everyone has the right to follow an innocent calling without permission from the government. He may do so with his own whatsoever he pleases, so that he injure no one else…So, then, without governmental interference or consent, we say the farmer may till his soil. the merchant may buy and sell, the lawyer and the doctor practice their professions, and the druggist and pharmacist compound their medicines. And if, by reason of shysters and quacks, an injured people demand protection, or if, because ill-behaved druggists or pretended pharmacists debauch the public morals by dealing out intoxicating liquors and nostrums as beverages, yet the pursuit of these callings cannot be prohibited. The innocent and honest druggist cannot be restrained of his liberty by reason of the dishonest practices of others. His pursuit, being in itself harmless, and indeed useful, and capable of being conducted without harm to the public, cannot be prohibited….” — Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. J.W. Fowler
So with that, let’s raise a glass to this glorious Repeal Day. The anniversary of the right of Dr. Feelgood to prescribe you a fifth of brown. Or for you to just go pick one up from your favorite beverage depot. Or for your favorite barkeep to pour you two fingers of Old Forester, the only bourbon produced before, during, and after Prohibition, as it was used as spirituous frumenti. Any way you get your spirits, let’s celebrate the legality of it all. Cheers. *clink, clink*