This country is f**ked up.

You can be tagged for DUI if you catch a glimpse of a beer in your peripheral vision but all the bars are built on major highways. In a just society, we’d understand that if you crash your car while drinking you’re held liable for the crime you’ve committed: property damage, personal injury, etc. Why do we need an additional penalty layer? It smacks of thoughtcrime. Like hate crime laws.

In a rational society, if we were actually concerned about drinking and driving we’d make it illegal to operate a bar that didn’t have a critical mass of pedestrian drinkers to support it. We’d outlaw parking lots at bars. We’d outlaw endless suburban casual dining chains nowhere near population centers. Surely the urban planners can get on board with that! Forced density, drawing people downtown on public transit, blah blah blah.

But no, we’re not a rational society. We’re a society of goddamned puritans. There is a sizable portion of the population who lives in abject fear that someone, somewhere is having fun. So they collect revenue from taxes on businesses and alcohol sales. Then they collect revenue from fines and penalties levied against people who consume alcohol. Then they spend that revenue on parks where your dog can’t shit on the grass, bike paths where you have to wear a helmet and skate parks where you can’t skate on account of the danger.

When did the home of the brave turn into the Fiefdom of Sir Robin?

In keeping with the theme, I face a dilemma. Each time I establish a home I learn something else I desire in a home. One of the absolutes of my existence is that I must live within stumbling distance of a bar. I don’t like to drink and drive. I don’t want to hurt anybody. I don’t want to hurt myself. I like to walk. I love to drink. I like to walk to drink but not so far that I can’t slither home. This is not a joke, this is a real concern. I have spent several nights sleeping at various inexplicably short distances from my house. Sometimes on a hillside within sight of my back door. Sometimes on the stairs to my apartment. Once, I actually made it through the door and ended up sleeping headfirst on the kitchen floor with my feet out the door.

All of which brings me to my latest search for a suitable home.

It seems the optimal place to live in New Jersey is somewhere on the Patco line: close to work, convenient for having a vehicle, plenty of services, 24-hour access to the city. Given those requirements, Collingswood and Haddonfield present themselves as highly desirable candidates. But there’s no booze. Goddamned Quakers.

So I have to live in the City. With high taxes. And no place to park. And an hour long commute in heavy traffic to work. What an incredible pain in the ass.

Which I can at least partially heal with a trip to the many, MANY bars that will be within comfortable walking distance of my future home.

And if there were 7-11 hot dogs or Wawa hoagies between the bar and my front door, that wouldn’t hurt either.

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