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I.

The other day as I was going into the grocery a couple of people were
outside the entrance asking people to sign a petition. This particular
petition was to put a voter referendum on the ballot to privatize liquor
stores, which are currently run exclusively by the State of Washington.

I told him I would have to think about it. So I've thought about it.

I think that if the stores were privatized that the same thing would
happen with liquor sales at stores as happened with booze sales at our
local bars and restaurants — the State would tax the hell out of it.
Competition they say lowers prices. But in this case you know that the
government is going to get it's money out of it one way or another. So I
think that the price of liquor would actually increase. Whereas the way
it is now the State gets money from the sale of booze by running the
stores and so kind of lays off the taxing thing a bit.

So I'm not going to sign the petition.

You know it always gets me the way people respond to something like this
in the most knee-jerk fashion imaginable, without really thinking the
issue through. "Yeah, privatize the liquor stores! That damn government!
Capitalism rocks!" So I imagine that it will get put on the ballot. And
that the initiative will probably pass.

II.

And speaking of the State Liquor Store, Friday I walked down to the one
closest to me to get some vodka. Normally I buy the 750 ml bottle of
Stolichnaya. But I decided that for this month that I wanted to get a
larger quantity to keep me the whole month so I wouldn't have to
supplement with beer, which leaves me feeling bloated and tired these
days.

But I couldn't afford the large size of Stolichnaya. So I decided to go
with the cheap stuff. Well as it turns out there are a good number of
cheap vodkas, none of which were known to me. I stood there looking at
the shelves wondering which one might be the best. Finally, I decided to
ask the store clerk.

To my surprise the clerk walked me over to the vodka section without
even thinking about it, even though the store was busy. I have found
that in recent years that the young people that work at places really
don't seem to care about doing a good job. I think that if kids are given
everything then they come to expect getting everything without effort.
Or at least that's my theory. But that doesn't apply to everybody, of
course, and the clerk that waited on me was an exception.

I showed him the Stoli that I normally get, telling him that I wanted to
get a larger size but couldn't afford it getting Stoli. Almost without
hesitation he pointed out a brand called Vikingfjord Vodka, made (as the
name might suggest) in Norway. It was only about half the price of the
1.5 L Stolichnaya. Given that was the best information I had going, I
bought a bottle. At my local store it runs about $27 USD for a 1.75 L
bottle.

But of course the real test is the taste. To my surprise I found
Vikingfjord to be quite good. Not Stoli perhaps, but very close. And a
good deal for the price.

Very much recommended if you are on a budget and somehow need a
massive amount of vodka.

III.

The liquor store is about 7 blocks from my apartment. Which means that
if I walk down there, make a purchase, and then walk back home it amounts
to a pretty much continuous 14 block walk. That's too far for me these
days with my medical condition. So what I usually do is stop at Chan's
Dragon Inn across the street from the liquor store, have a drink or two
and rest, and then hit the store and walk home. In other words, I divide
the trip in half.

I hate to say it, but Chan's is a real dive. And though I may be a little
paranoid here I wonder about any communicable diseases that may be spread
around there. But for an hour I guess I'm willing to risk it.

Well Friday I sat down at the bar and ordered a Jack Daniels and
7-Up — "Jack and 7" as it is commonly known. But when the bartender
returned with my drink it had a dark color to it. "Is this Coke?" I asked
her. She said that it was, and then thinking about it a second realized
her mistake. She started to pull the drink away.

"No that's all right" I said to her. "I'll drink it." She wasn't going
to let me pay for it, but I didn't think that quite fair seeing as I was
going to drink it.

I sipped on the drink. And then some lines from the song "It's Magic"
came to mind.

"Went down to the river
to wash all my cares away
Saw a little fish swimming
And here's what he had to say:
He said girl don't you know
Life is just so easy
when you go
with the flow"

When I ordered another drink the bartender went to the well and started
(once again) to make another Jack and Coke. And then, once again, she
realize her mistake. "That's okay" I told her. "Make it another Jack and
Coke. I'll just go with the flow."

The bartender got off duty and was replaced by another. She hadn't been
working too long when she launched into a story about what had happened
to her that morning. Standing at the end of the bar she told us how that
morning she had burned her finger on a Pop Tart — or to use her own
words, "I burned my finger on a fucking Pop Tart!" And as if to provide
evidence of the horrible event she extended her index finger to show us
her burn. I had to admit that there was some discoloration in the fingertip
area. We all nodded our heads sympathetically.

Anyway, as for the little stay at Chan's I'm actually glad my drinks
were mixed up. It allowed me to practice a bit with a new attitude I've
been trying out lately: Try to be a little less like Gregory House. Make
an effort to tune out all the brain-damaged shits out there. Instead, just
go with the flow. Keep it simple stupid. Hit the Easy Button.

And of course I should try not to burn my finger on a frigging Pop Tart.

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