Dry days are trying days
Those who know Hamish Joy are qualified to testify under oath – “Hammy? Oh, he’s Christian, I think, but he’s not really that religious, if you know what I mean.” Sure, I say ‘God’ and ‘Jesus Christ’, pretty often, but it is more frequently used as stress busting expressions than actual words of prayer. And just to make the record clear, I do NOT use the lord’s name in vain! The stress DOES get busted most of the time.
It would, therefore, make some people raise their eyebrows all the way up to their bald spot if they learn that Hamish was thinking of attending two or three mass services a day for a few days… as many as possible, actually. No, it wasn’t a mid-midlife crisis, the kind that affects people in the late twenties… It wasn’t a guilt trip or a bid to let me ‘back into the fold’. It was just that it seemed to be the only source of alcohol in this town.
For those of you lucky enough to have been elsewhere, let me clarify. It was election day in Bangalore. The powers that be laid down a decree that it was in the benefit of society to have not one, not two, but THREE dry days when the citizens should not have access to alcohol… at least no legal access.
Bold initiative? I am not really all that sure. Given the choices people have in politics these days, people need to be as drunk as a skunk to make a sober choice. Ironic, I know. But let’s all get on the popular notion here. Water good. Alcohol baaad. Election and alcohol do not mix. Basically two important reasons…
1. Alcohol clouds judgment – You may end up not choosing the bad guy and give power to the really bad guy… But on the plus side, you don’t get to moan over the choices you get.
2. Alcohol causes riots – Yeah, if you are drunk enough when you find that ‘your guy’ has lost, the theory is that you go around with grenades, guns, knives and sticks looking for soft spots to shove them in… Of course they don’t have trouble accessing THOSE stuff, but hey, at least they will be in the right senses if they stay sober.
Ok, so the ban is justified. Possibility of crime is reduced by, I say, 20% or so, and that’s pretty good. So boo hoo to you, Mr. drunkard. No swigs for you. But the the innovative geniuses running our government decided to rule by extension.
“Hey, maybe we should have THREE dry days before the election. Makes the election go THREE times as safe. All in favor, say aye.”
“Close enough. Motion passed”
I’d call them idiots, but I don’t want to be unoriginal.
They think the alcohol consumed three days before election would have inebriating effects on people? That’s just idiotic and I protest the idiocy… or maybe these guys know some REALLY potent mixes, then I protest that they’re not sharing it with the rest of us. What were they thinking? Maybe they thought – Hey, having single day dry day is useless. People would just stock up on liquor the day before. But doesn’t that affect three day dry days just as much as the one-day dry day? Do they think that the average Bangalorean is so bad at math that he can’t figure out he has to stock liquor for TWO days more than if he were facing just one dry day?
Some of you are thinking “Oh, no. He’s ranting against alcohol prohibition. I didn’t realize he was that hooked on it.” No, I am NOT. Like any self respecting alcoholic, I severely and unanimously deny an addiction of any kind. (It’s so much easier to be unanimous when you are alone). I am not that pissed off about the ban. I’m more annoyed that the city is once again trying to plant nonsensical rules in my gray tissues.
The alcohol dispute is actually pretty funny, especially if you are high on three rounds of vodka…
“Alcohol is bad”
“Absolutely. It could kill ya.”
“Sheesh. Maybe I should stop drinking, eh?”
“Uhm… Well, yeah. You should. It’s better for you”
“Hell, if it’s that bad, we should ban it completely, eh?”
“Oh, hold on. Let’s not overreact on this. You just have to be responsible about it. If people just take some simple precau…”
“But you said it is bad for people.”
“It IS bad. Really bad. Awful, actually.”
“Then let’s get rid of it.”
“No, no, wait.. I… I got a better idea. Let’s just charge more tax on it. That way, we get to make money on this.”
“What? You’d put people’s life at danger just to get money…??”
“Hey, hey, hey, it sounds really bad when you put it that way… It’s not like we’re sitting idle doing nothing here…”
“Oh? What have we done then?”
“Well, for example, we’ve put restrictions on advertising.”
“Oh…kay? So they can sell beer, but just can’t talk about it? So it’s ok to do bad things if you don’t preach what you practice? If alcohol is as bad as you say it is, it is poison. You’re condoning suicide provided people don’t advertise the fact?”
“What? I… I did NOT mean… Well, and there’s the age ban. You can’t drink until you’re legally an adult. Once you are old enough to make your own decision and pay for your own…”
“So there’s an age barrier to suicide now. That’s all you’ve accomplished?”
“Look here, it is NOT the same as suicide. There are different grades of bad. Alcohol is bad, but it isn’t SO bad that we have to ban it completely. Plus, remember, we get money out of this thing.”
“?? So it’s not completely bad… It’s bad only if people use it irresponsibly? So why should responsible people suffer because of a few bad apples? Why can’t…”
“Oh, God. I need a drink.”
Now, don’t jump to the insane conclusion that I don’t know about the ill effects of alcohol. I’ve read the popular stories of drunken retards using their wives as punching bags; of people trading in their day jobs and wealth for a career in gulping whiskey at the local pub. But surely, you can’t be two-faced about the situation… You can’t blame the whole shebang on alcohol and still allow it to be sold. Alcohol isn’t the only culprit. There are usually other factors at play. Without doubt, some people need help. Give it to them. And some people need to be locked up. Lock them up. It’d probably be a good idea to make sure you don’t mix up the two, though.
Right now, I am pissed over the three day dry day. I am not really proposing that I regularly transfuse my blood with vodka and gin, and normally, I could have gone for a month without a drink without much problem. But right now, I wanted to get some of of the slow poison running through me. But the bars were closed, the wine shops were barred, and the malls had restricted access to the wine section.
The only place left was the Christian mass, where they dip bread in wine and serve you buffet style. And yes, I do realize that if God doesn’t have a sense of humor, I’m cooked. But really, I think his sense of humor is divine. The wine-dipped bread, like most things in life, had two sides…
Pros: Service is excellent; you get it served right into your mouth. Also, it is free, so hurrah…
Cons: It’s just a measly little dip into wine. Gotta attend several masses in rapid succession before you feel any effect at all… And even worse, no seconds. Try asking for a second round, and you’d feel like; and be treated like Oliver Twist asking for more gruel from his workshop masters.
Maybe I could try my hand at disguises… moving back in line after putting on a false beard; back again after putting on some cooling glasses; and back again after putting on a blonde wig… and so on. And I would certainly not be above using strategically timed phrases like “Come on, Father, you can dip it deeper than that”, “Maybe I should dip the bread myself. Just give me the wine cup”, or even “Hey, look, everybody. Is that Moses?… … …(gulp) … Oops, my bad. Must have been a reflection.”
At least… that was the thought back then… Right now, the prohibition’s been lifted, and I’ve gulped down two cocktails. And now, on retrospect, I do admit that the church idea was not a great one… It was downright stupid, even… The irony is that I was sober when I thought it up.