Am I Blue!

Guinness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah yes, the Blue Laws, often forgotten, but still not gone.  Ontario is not the most morally repressive place on the planet.  There are places in the Muslim Middle East, matched by the American Bible Belt, where anything even smacking of enjoyment, is flatly forbidden, or fiercely frowned upon.  In Ontario, some killjoy politicians may pass legislation, but after that, it’s just the rule-following sheep who work to prevent the goats from having any fun.

Alcohol and tobacco are moving in opposite directions here.  A recent visit to a smoke shop in Detroit reminded me of what I haven’t seen around here in years – dozens of brands of cigarettes, and cigars, and loose tobacco, cigarette holders, pipes, ash trays, even bongs.

In Ontario, convenience stores are forced to hide all that behind plastic or cardboard covers.  See no sin – do no sin!  That worked so well during Prohibition.  When a pack of smokes is pulled out, the manufacturers are forced to use ¾ of the package to display pictures of diseased organs, rotted teeth, and a saggy cigarette, hanging down in a 90 degree arc, above a notice warning, “Caution!  Smoking may cause impotence.”  F**k you!…..if I could.

Ontario has come a long way towards normalizing alcohol enjoyment and use, but we still have a long way to go.  Up here in ‘civilization’, a “party store” will provide paper hats, candles, confetti, crepe paper, and Happy Birthday banners, whereas, down in the states…..

My childhood neighboring small town was “dry.”  No alcohol of any kind could be bought or sold.  It remained that way for years – as long as the voters could stagger to the polls.  Bootleggers were endemic.  Average alcohol consumption was estimated at twice what my town’s was.

Past, and present, rules often seem to make no sense.  No establishment which serves alcohol may have double-swinging “barroom doors,” whether external or inner access, although Ontario will let you have a beer while you watch naked strippers, something many American locations will not allow.

Bars, and licensed restaurants, have only existed for the last 30/40 years.  Prior to that, hotels provided “beverage rooms,” two per establishment, one for men, and another for “Ladies and Escorts.”  You could have 11 drunks around a table, as long as there was one token female.

Waiters/waitresses could only serve one drink per customer at a time, keeping them constantly moving, bringing out all those singles.  If you saw a friend over in the corner, you were not allowed to pick up your drink and go join him.  The law required the already overworked server to carry your drink over for you.

When bars and lounges started popping up, you still couldn’t order just booze, food had to accompany it.  A round of drinks would include a vending-machine cheese sandwich.  Often, the server would scoop it up with the empties, and re-deliver and charge for it with the next round.

Beer was bought at buildings labelled “Brewers Retail,” until enough confused American tourists forced the monopoly to rebrand clearly, as “The Beer Store.”  There, that wasn’t hard, was it??  😕

They’re starting to sell a bit of beer now, but for years, the government-owned Liquor Control Board monopoly stores sold only wine and distilled spirits.  No spectre of Big Brother there.   In my lifetime, we have come from:

Immediately after WW II, you had to go to the Liquor Store and provide identification and proof of age (21 years).  You were given a small notebook, and were allowed, once a week, to buy only as much as you could list on that week’s page.  If you missed so much as a 2-ounce bottle of bitters for whiskey sours, you were forced to wait until the next week.

In the ‘60s, we moved to a paper slip system.  Write the catalog number of the booze(s) you wanted, and a clerk disappeared into the nether-world of the back room, where, presumably, elves brewed the stuff up, out of the sight of the susceptible public.  Since people didn’t move around, you could be put on The List.  If you were caught drunk in public last Saturday night, the liquor store would refuse to serve you this Thursday, and perhaps for several weeks, until a manager unilaterally decided to annul the sentence.

Finally, we have reached the point where we can actually see the stuff on the shelf, put it in our own little shopping cart, and pay for it at the checkout.  Be careful though.  Some of those weird rules still exist.  “Only people 19+ can legally handle alcohol in LCBO stores.”

A local mother stopped into an LCBO store to pick up an eight-pack of Guinness for her husband.  While she dug her wallet out of her purse, her 17-year-old son helped out by placing the beer on the counter.  The clerk immediately asked him for ID.  He explained that the beer was not for him, but for his mother, who would pay for it, but the Can’t Touch It rule had already come into effect.

She went back and brought a pack up by herself, but now the manager came over, and accused her of buying the beer for a minor.  He claimed that staff is highly trained to prevent “second buying.”  All very noble, but this staff could never be accused of second thinking.

Bureaucracy exists to assure its own continued existence – and some strange restrictions and regulations.

 

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Flash Fiction #36

Maze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Melanie Greenwood

 

Labyrinth

Does the long rail go on this side??  No, it can’t, the clip doesn’t fit!? Are you sure that this is a water-bed frame?  It’s looking more like a wardrobe.

Take that short piece back off the top.  These assembly instructions are like a maze.  They would be easier to understand if they were written in Urdu.

What’s with these little stick men??….Is that one giving me the finger?

I hurt my back loading this thing in the van.  That’s the last time we buy furniture from IKEA.  Next time, we buy something already assembled, and let Sears deliver it.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Gun Safety vs. Gun Control

 

Colt 1911

 

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Government;

Please roll me up in bubble-wrap, and put me in a big box full of non-toxic packing-foam peanuts, so that nothing – not even a bad word – can hurt me.

***

Recently, some Idiot (a woman, as it turns out – just to disprove female claims that all Idiots are male.), managed to get herself shot to death in an American Wal-Mart, when her 2-year-old son reached into her purse, beside him in the shopping cart.

She was described in local papers as “an atomic scientist.”  She was a chemical technician who worked at a power plant.  This is not Big Bang Theory!  She was an ‘atomic scientist’ in the same way a homeless panhandler is a “Charitable Donations Canvasser.”  Still….

In an outpouring of telling others how to run their country and their lives, a Toronto area man sent the following letter to the Toronto Sun, titled More Gun Control:

I just read about the tragic death of a 29-year-old mother in a U.S. Walmart.  She was shot by her two-year-old after the youngster pulled a gun out of his mom’s purse.

I can’t think of any reason why it would be necessary to bring a loaded gun to go shopping.  What a waste of life, not to mention the emotional scars this child is going to have to deal with the rest of his life.

The NRA and its lobbyists need to be muzzled and better gun controls in the U.S. are long overdue.  There’s been too many of these senseless events for far too long.

I agree that it was a sad and preventable occurrence, but this writer leads a far too protected life, and uses way too many hysterical mistakes and lies to justify it.  Even the term “loaded gun” is a loaded term.  Can he think of a reason to bring an ‘unloaded gun’ shopping?  The title is another flag to show his bias.  He doesn’t advocate ‘Greater Gun Safety’.  He demands ‘More Gun Control.’

Through lack of forethought and research, I recently spent a weekend in a dangerous part of Detroit.  This was near Eight Mile, where the white rapper Eminem got street cred by growing up in a tough Negro area.

My motel had an armed security guard patrolling after dark.  My place was quiet, but the downscale motel directly across the street was well known for gunshots and police and ambulance calls.  The pizza shop on Eight Mile had floor-to-ceiling, half-inch thick, bullet-resistant Plexiglas.

The ‘Trade Center’ (more like a cheap flea market) that we went to on Sunday, had signs on the doors which read, “All hoods must be removed on entering”, and “We will provide a security escort to your vehicle, but we will not carry merchandise.”

As an unarmed Canadian tourist, I was very careful where I went, and when.  I can understand and sympathise with local residents who feel the need to carry firearms to protect themselves from gangbangers and drug dealers.

If even the Trade Center management feels the need to provide protective escorts, there must be a good chance that there might actually be someone in the parking lot to protect from.  I might not need a handgun while I’m shopping, but if there’s someone out there who wants to rob/rape/kill me before I get to my car, then I might need the gun when I leave the store.

Just what further “gun control” does this conservative Canadian feel Americans need?  The woman in question underwent a background check, and endured the 10-day waiting period.  She paid for, and enrolled in, a concealed weapon carry permit training session.  She was psychologically stable, and the weapon was duly registered.

Sadly, stupidity still carries the death penalty, and she’s posthumously (there’s no other way) enrolled in the Darwin Award hall of shame.  While she might have been intelligent enough to work at a nuclear generating plant, neither training nor legislation can instill common sense.

To have a loaded gun is one thing.  To have a loaded gun with several children around, including a busy, curious two-year-old, is something else entirely.  The story does not say if the purse was open, but even if it was closed, she was not paying sufficient attention to the child and the gun, sitting side by side.  The gun was not merely loaded, but almost surely must have been cocked, and the safety off.  Little two-year-old hands can’t do these things.

Just what ‘senseless events’ is he referring to, the accidental shooting death of a mother by a young child?  I don’t ever remember hearing of another!  Perhaps he could worry less about the NRA’s somewhat overzealous desire to preserve the legal right to possess firearms, and vent his indignation on gangs and druggies and other criminals who make carrying them seem like a good idea.

And that’s a view on Gun Control vs. Gun Safety from a grumpy, old, unarmed Canadian, north of the border.

I Don’t Know

You know those shows where people call in and
vote on different issues? Did you ever notice
there’s always like 16% “I don’t know”!

It costs 90 cents to call up and vote… They’re
voting “I don’t know!” – “Honey, I feel very
strongly about this. Give me the phone.” (Into
phone) “I don’t know!” (hangs up, looking proud)
“Sometimes you have to stand up for what you
believe you are not sure about!”

This guy probably calls up phone sex girls at
$2.95 a minute. (into phone) “I’m not in the mood!”

***

Very funny, Scotty. Now beam down my clothes!

***

Why do so many women fake orgasm?
Because so many men fake foreplay.

***

Virginity is not like a bank account.
If you save it, it doesn’t draw any interest.

***

A guy receives a free ticket to the Super Bowl
from his company. Unfortunately, when he arrives
at the stadium, he realizes the seat is in the
upper corner of the stadium; he’s closer to the
Goodyear Blimp than the field. About halfway
through the first quarter he sees through his
binoculars an empty seat 10 rows off the field,
right on the 50 yard line. He decides to take a
chance and makes his way through the stadium and
around the security guards to the empty seat.

As he sits down he asks the gentleman sitting next
to him, “Excuse me, is anyone sitting here?” The
man says no. Now, very excited to be in such a
great seat for the game, he again inquires of the
man next to him, “This is incredible! Who in their
right mind would have a seat like this at the
Super Bowl and not use it?!”

The man replies, “Well, actually, the seat
belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife,
but she passed away. This is the first Super Bowl
we haven’t been together at, since we got married.

“Well, that’s really sad, but still, you couldn’t
find anyone to take the seat? A friend or close
relative?”

“No,” the man replies, “They’re all at the funeral.”

***

Women’s Advice to Men 

The reason why our bras don’t always match our
underwear is because WE actually change our
underwear.

The next time you and your buddies joke about
armed women in combat, take a poll to see which of
you successfully aim at the toilet rim.

If the truth hurts, ask us those ego-sensitive
questions on your payday.

Don’t fret if you find out that the milkman
delivers more than once a day.

Lay off the beans several hours before bedtime.

Our bedtime headaches are inversely proportional
to the number of baths you take.

The next time you joke about female drivers,
research the number of accidents caused by
rubber-necking mini-skirts.

If only women gossip, how do you and your friends
keep track of “who’s easy”?

Stop telling us most male strippers are gay:
we don’t care.

Start parting and combing your hair to one side
early in life – you’ll never see the ‘island’ coming.

Your contributions to your child should go above
and beyond that Y chromosome you unselfishly
sacrificed.

Eye contact is best established above our
shoulder-level.

Your balding is a good thing – it subsidizes our
hair care expenses.