“If you want to see some sin, forget about Paris. Go to Kansas City.”
-Editor of the Omaha World-Herald, during the Prohibition Era
According to Wikipedia (the limit of my researching capabilities), Missouri has some of the most permissive alcohol laws in the United States, ranking right up there with Louisiana and Nevada. As well, our stoic neighbors to the west, Kansas and Oklahoma, are apparently far more rigid in their regulations regarding intoxicating drink. Goody gum drops for them. Missouri is allegedly known for its laissez-faire approach to alcohol throughout the Midwest, highlighted by the fact that it allows residents over 21 to make up to 100 gallons of any alcohol for personal use each year, without any further state limitation, state license, or state taxation. You’d think this would be my kinda place, and for the most part it is, with one glaring exception:
I CANNOT BUY BEER/WINE/SPIRITS BEFORE 9:AM ON A SUNDAY. AND IT SUCKS.
There may be a few out there thinking I’ve slammed into a new low, imbibing first thing in the morning, on a Sunday morning. And I’m not fundamentally opposed to the idea, but it rarely works out that way for me. Here’s the actuality of the situation: I’m a shift worker, and our 24-hour shift ends at 7am, after which on Sunday mornings, I like to hit the store, buy a paper, some coffee and various stuff to cook for the family that day. Two items which make some Sundays almost holy for me are bacon and Guinness. I make the bacon in the morning and enjoy the beer later on, as we’re smoking meats for dinner or working in the shop or sitting on our collective asses. No matter.
I’ve asked clerks if they think I’m planning on getting wasted in the parking lot before 9. I’ve indicated that I appreciate their concern for my moral well-being. I’ve begged them to tell me the difference between a man who would buy alcohol at 8:59 am (filthy sinner) and one who would purchase at 9:01 am (sounds like a nice guy!). All employees look at me with the same vapid stare, and say “state law, sir, I’m sorry.” And rarely do they want to debate the merits of the law. Younger clerks sometimes sheepishly apologize, as if to say “yeah, it’s stupid, but it’s the law, man.” Older employees often visibly cluck to themselves, mentally stowing away the incident for their next nighttime study group (“and oh my word, Irene, I can’t tell you! Some poor heathenistic soul actually came in today and tried to buy b-e-e-r before 9am! On the Lords’ Day! Tsk, tsk….what IS this world coming to?)
It’s not the clerks fault. And I’ve made plenty of emergency medical runs on people wasted at 7am, so I can understand, societally, that it’s inconvenient to deal with the intoxicated before your morning coffee sets in. I’ve been tanked before 9am on several occasions in my 20’s and the allure of it is now lost on my in my 30’s. Yes, I’m on board with the pragmatic problems that come with drinking before the Today Show is over. What irks me to no end is that some law-makers feel the need to regulate what time on which day of the week you can purchase a delicious six pack of Guinness. How did they pass that crap through legislative session?
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have before you an amendment to the law with regards to liquor sales. My church has demanded that we restrict sales of beer until 9am on Sunday mornings. This is because we most certainly don’t want our parishioners to miss services with their faces down in the gutter. After church? No big deal, they can go about buying their devil-juice all they want, but I’m most adamant about this. NO buying liquor before church. THAT IS THE LAW.”
And thus it was so.
Missouri is known as the “Show Me State”. I wish to hell they would show me how this makes any sense at all.
Okay, it’s after 9 now, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got go BACK to the grocery store and commit some barley sin. It’s thirsty business, working up such outrage.