Gagflex: Thank You for the Daily Liquid Bread

Ilove those little humorous laws that are still on the books that most people don’t really pay attention to anymore, like birds have the right of way on highways, etc. Here’s one; did you know it’s illegal to sell wine in a grocery store, and to sell liquor on Sunday? Of course you knew that, you’re in Tennessee, the land of silly liquor laws.

Analyzing Tennessee liquor laws is a test to one’s sense of rationality. Common sense tells you that if you can walk into Kroger and purchase a six-pack of Pabst, then you should be able to buy a bottle of wine on the next isle. But you can’t. Somebody apparently believes that if you make beer and wine available in the same market then that store will become some giant den of iniquity. If you go into a Supermarket in cities like Phoenix or San Francisco you can actually purchase a bottle of Jack Daniels along with your breakfast bagel, but then again those cities were always behind the times.

If anyone can truly explain to me why liquor establishments have to close on Sundays then I’ll give you a high-five and a Rollo. Aside from Sunday being the official day for Christian church-goers, what special significance does that particular day have for avoiding strong drink? As a responsible adult I should be able to buy a bottle of booze when I want to.

And if you’re applying to get a beer permit then you’ll notice that your establishment has to be 600 feet from any church, school or public gathering place. The school thing I almost understand. Nobody wants a hypothetical drunk plowing through the kids’ crosswalk to get to his fix. However, the definition of a public gathering place is up for debate, and I don’t see why buying beer close to a church should be any different than buying beer close to the Elks Lodge or a bank. I wonder if that law also applies to selling liquor close to the Church of Satan.

And then there’s the gambling thing. Not all gambling is illegal in Tennessee, because the folks who hold up the check-out line at Mapco buying scratchers are officially gambling. I guess it’s assumed that the gambling that’s kept illegal is the type that would turn our citizens into degenerates. So in the eyes of Tennessee, playing cards is bad, but playing the lottery is okay.

Consider the logic, Tennessee lawmakers trust you as an adult to spend as much money as you want on the state lottery where there is almost no chance of winning a dime, but if you upped the odds by playing a game of online blackjack then you’re officially a criminal. They trust you to walk into Wal-Mart on a Sunday and purchase guns, knives, duct tape, a jug of Drano and Point Break on DVD, but you’re definitely not responsible enough to handle that cheap bottle of Merlot.

Tennessee lawmakers can pad the walls to protect the children all they want, but in the end they all they’ve done is make us look like lunatics.


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