Western Courier

Dry county law accomplishes nothing

Mark Csernus

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It was a late Sunday night when I was hit with a craving for green apples and cinnamon caramel dipping sauce. Wal-Mart has shoddy produce and sub-par caramel, but to my knowledge it was the only business still open at five until midnight.

I threw the apples and the sauce in the cart and, having time to kill, began browsing. I wanted to buy some exciting food. A fat plastic bag of assorted seafood looked nice. A jumbo jar of pickles looked even better. I walked the candy aisle. There was a disheveled pile of Twizzlers, while Heath Bars were scattered across the Jelly Bellys. I had no plans to buy candy this evening. I just like to be surrounded by snacks. Sometimes I’ll go into a gas station, park myself next to the moon pies and just enjoy the proximity of cream-filled pastries. They work as sort of a Quaalude. They center me.

A though hit me just as I entered the gummy section: “You know what would go great with apples and caramel? Vodka. Gin or whiskey will work as well. Really, any hard alcohol is great for washing down a late-night snack.”

Booze is in the back, so to the rear of the store I headed. When I arrived, to my surprise and burning displeasure, all the alcohol had been corralled into a massive, light-brown cage. It was as if Wal-Mart employees had captured a rabid jungle cat as it nosed through the red wine. A span of three whole seconds passed before I fully understood what I was looking at. Was there a puma hiding behind the Beck’s? No. It was, as I mentioned, a Sunday night and Macomb does not sell alcohol on the Sabbath. Macomb is smack-dab in the middle of McDonough County, which is a dry county on Sundays.

First of all, this is a complete waste of padlocks and plastic wrap. How about you make a sign that reads “No Alcohol on Sundays”? How big of an alcoholic would a person have to be to ignore the sign, tuck a six-pack in their armpit, make a break for the exit and hope for the best?

Second, what is the point of this law? It’s outdated. Dry county laws began with the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the selling or production of alcohol on a federal level. Fourteen years later came the 21st Amendment, repealing the idiocy of the lawmakers of the past. However, while prohibition was repealed on the federal level, many municipal governments decided to stay partially dry. It’s time to get rid of these rules. They have no place in the modern era, especially while the economy is in the toilet.

Third, does the government not understand that nothing is better on a Sunday afternoon than an ice-cold cocktail? A beer and a football game, a little wine during communion, some Bloody Marys and an amateur cockfight -¬¬¬ staples of the American Sunday.

I was so frustrated I grabbed a stock girl by her blue sleeve and pulled her toward the cage.

“I know I can’t legally leave the store with any alcohol, but could you let me stay in the cage over night?” I asked with desperation in my voice.

I wanted her to let me inside so I could drink Jack Daniels into the wee hours. Shoppers would wave and snap pictures as I chugged warm whiskey and pounded on my shirtless chest like a drunken chimpanzee. It would be like a bizarre zoo exhibit.

“Word will spread that there is an entrapped, intoxicated college student at the Wal-Mart on East Jackson Street and the whole show is free. Business will boom.”

She said no and I left, sober as a shepherd, dragging my apples into the hot darkness of July. I sat slumped in my driver’s seat as I traveled back to my apartment with only my produce and my dampened spirits, longing for refreshment in a dry county.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Dry county law accomplishes nothing