Sunday, September 09, 2007

Taliban Qwikie Mart

Here's a story about a girl with no ID trying to buy alcohol. Fortunately, she was caught in the act and prevented from doing so, thanks to new laws and policies requiring ID for those who may look too young to drink.

The "girl" in this case was 65 years old. (And I have some friends who want the number of her plastic surgeon).

The first absurdity that struck me was the obvious one - in how many ways can we attempt to replace good sense with arbitrary and ridiculous laws? The Maine State Legislature "passed a law that requires identification from those who look under 27 years old." Not to be outdone, this particular supermarket chain implemented a rule to card "anyone who looks under 45 and wants to buy alcohol."

(Rumor is that their competitor down the street, not wanting to lose all the MADD mom's in the neighborhood, is considering an "id required for anyone who looks under 100 and wants to walk by the cold beer section" rule).

I really shouldn't make fun of these stores. They're just reacting to the incredibly absurd laws passed around the country regarding "underage drinking." Laws that arrest bartenders and 7/11 clerks if they sell to a minor, even if that minor has a valid looking ID. Laws that close businesses if their patrons get intoxicated - not before driving, not even outside on the street, but in the bar. Laws that lock-up parents and send the kids to foster care if those parents allow kids to drink - even the safety of their own home, even if they allow no one to leave the house till the next day.

I could go on. I could start citing the evidence around drinking age laws, but these arguments have been presented well by people like former college president John McCardell, to no effect.

Instead, I'll just do what I do best. Laugh at the absurdity of people, particularly those who make the absurd laws that generate even more absurd behavior.

You know the old saying..."If you can't laugh at yourself, make fun of other people." (attributed to Bobby Slayton)


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