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As Long as We Remember...

March 5, 2008

Booze News

Tom McLaughlin

I have started to go back to bars. In my drinking days, I loved them, but with all the medication I take now, it puts a damper on that exercise.


The first one I tested was the Yacht Club here in Ocean Pines. As expected, it’s populated by the rich and beautiful of which I am neither. The “Thurston Howell the Third” crowd. Boating is the favorite topic, as to be expected.


I ask them where they travel and most tell me they get a group together, cross Back Bay behind Ocean City, and dock behind a bar. “Expensive transportation,” I thought.


“Don’t you fish?” I ask.


The answer is always “When the kids come down.” I ask them about their boat and the answer is always “Do you want to buy it?”


Conversations then turn to “When I was in Costa Rica” because everyone who thinks they are anyone (and that’s about everyone around here) vacations and hides money there. I usually chime in with:”Aren’t you bored with that place?”


“Let me tell you about Kuala Lumpur or Borneo Island.”(I spent 10 weeks in Southeast Asia staying in cheap hotels last summer). Of course, they have never heard of those places but act like they have. “We plan to go next year” is the answer. They also look at me a little differently.


Bored with that crowd, and believe me it only takes about five minutes, I started going to another establishment just outside the Pines. It was a smoking bar until the law went into effect in February. Before, when you went in, you were assured of lung cancer even though the strongest thing you ever inhaled was pot in grad or law school.


They scrubbed the place clean; but it remains a working man’s drinking place. One guy only has to open the door and the bar maid has a beer poured and shot of whiskey ready before he even sits down.


Beer and shots seem to be the beverage of choice for many of the patrons. When I sat down and ordered a non-alcohol beer, the entire place went quiet and everyone looked at me like “who the hell”?


They finally got used to me, and I only get stares from strangers now. It is interesting that the habitual drunks in the place say they have to start drinking like me. I guess it is a compliment of sorts. A billboard for AA, I guess.


The local state’s attorney for Wicomico County, who got arrested for blind drunk driving, also had a gun in his car. I don’t know what’s worse, a drunk state’s attorney with a gun, or a preacher with a gun and a Bible. (You will have to think about that dichotomy.)


He hightailed out of town for 30 days saying he wasn’t going into rehab and wasn’t going to resign. What a damn fool on both counts.


During the summer I swear they pipe the liquor into Ocean City with bleeders off to the various bars. Come to find out they get the booze from the state store which buys it from a middleman who buys it from the manufacturer. The bar owners want to cut out the middleman to gain a better profit.


They will probably lower the price of drinks because the locals have the rental rate so high vacationers can’t afford to imbibe. This piece of important legislation is heading for the General Assembly. I hope the delegates and senators ignore it as they have better things to do with their time.


Well, that’s the booze news for now, both personal and public.


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