Thursday, February 26, 2009


The great state of Pennsylvania has set up a lot of obstacles to those of us attempting to get our drink on. It's so fucking irritating that I can only buy wine and liquor in a state run store. When I visit other states and see alcohol on sale in convenience stores I just about have an orgasm. Seeing a bottle of KJ Merlot, a pack of cigarettes, and a pre-made sandwich on the same conveyor belt is an erotic experience for me.

You know what our liquor store in my neighborhood is called? The Wine & Spirits Shoppe. I hate people that spell shop in that old-timey way. Is that supposed to be quaint? Like a throw back to the good old days? There was nothing good or quaint about the days of yore. The days of yore were rife with racists, misogynists, and horse shit. I hate the good ole days. I hate people who spells things old-timey. You know what I don't hate though? Spirits. I love me some good fucking spirits.

It wasn't until recently that a very small number of our Wine & Spirits stores were even open on Sundays. Most Pennsylvanians are forced to teetotal on the Sabbath, or at the very least observe the commandment: Thou Shalt Not Purchase Spirits on the Seventh Day. It used to be easier to buy crack on a Sunday, than a bottle of wine. Some of us got up in arms about that. I don't know what could be a more un-American activity than preventing a person from buying a bottle of Whiskey on his day off.

Yet another obstacle: Pennsylvania law decrees that thou shall not sell Liquor and Beer at the same store. You have to buy your Heinekens at a completely different place than you buy your vodka.

My mother-in-law, who is from Florida, just can't get over our unjust and inconvienent system of alcohol dispensation.

"How can you stand not being able to purchase a bottle of wine when you buy your groceries?"

"Somehow, someway, I have survived. That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger."

Do you think the fact that this bothers me so much means that I'm an alcoholic in the making? I can't claim the title yet, as I only drink on the weekends. A few things would have to happen for me to start imbibing enough to achieve alcoholic status.

1. Someone else I love dies
2. My doctor stops prescribing me good painkillers
3. Someone invents a fool-proof hangover cure

So that would be the alcoholic "big bang" for this girl. The hangover thing has been a deal breaker for me so far. Last summer, I went to the city to "party" with my girlfriend, Tina (who I only tried to kill once), and apparently had the time of my life. I don't remember a single thing after taking one giant hit off a blunt offered to me by some guy. Tina came up to me right as I'm standing in the huge cloud of smoke I just exhaled from my baby pink lungs.

"Gwennie...What have you done?"

"I just did one hit. It's no big deal." That's all I remember other than the following montage of images.

Me asking, "Am I being weird? I feel weird."

Me drinking. And drinking. And fucking drinking.

Me bent over a handrail in front of a Philadelphia apartment building, hurling.

There are no words to describe the horror of awakening to a new day. The only thing that would have made it worse is having Robin Williams' smug mug at my bedside.

"So what happened?" I whispered to Tina. She was sitting on the couch with some of my other friends, watching I Survived, and eating breakfast empanadas.

"You had a really good time."

"Was I weird?"

"The only thing weird was that you kept asking if you were being weird. Empanada?"

My stomach protested, violently. "Ummm. No. I only had ONE hit. ONE. How could this happen? What was in that shit?"

"Gwen, let this be a lesson to you. Never smoke anything handed to you by a shady black guy at one of my parties. NEVER. It will fuck you up."

Consider me fucking schooled. If I hadn't taken that hit, I wouldn't have drank so much. Weed is whack. My whole evening could have been an Above the Influence commercial. I love those commercials. They make me laugh and laugh and laugh. Especially when I'm high. But, seriously, hangovers are like tiny glimpses of Hell. I should get used to it, because I have a feeling that's where I'm fucking headed.


  1. I used to live in NY and was so annoyed when I couldn't buy my beer with my frozen pizza.

    Missouri rocks for buying booze anywhere.

    Oh and since I discovered that if I take two ibuprofen and drink a glass of water I wake up feeling fine... It's been bad news.

  2. You wouldn't be going to hell for hangovers and substance abuse, you'd be going because you say "fuck" all the time. That and drinking Kendall Jackson Merlot. I'm pretty sure that's in the bible.

  3. Chris - I know. I KNOW. Drinking the KJ is a criminal act. But I just can't afford Jordan every single weekend.

    Betsey - see the Ibuprofen thing I've tried. Nothing humans have come up with thus far have worked on my hangovers. I even tried morphine for that shit. (I had morphine prescribed during my reconstruction.)

    WRH - I hope you don't live to regret tagging me. I'm a bad, bad girl. But thanks for liking me anyway!

  4. I remember the day I fell in love with the city of Chicago was the day I realized I could get a shot in my coffee at the coffee shop. Like our plaque~ I'll have a grande mocha vodka valium latte to go please. You can get that in Chicago.. almost.

  5. This is why I love you Alisha. You GET me. And that plaque is my most favorite thing ever. I mean besides my actual grande mocha vodka valium latte. And you can have exactly that. I will show you how to ground the Valium into a fine powder. :) See you tonight!!!!

  6. Dude, I'm two miles from Jersey!

  7. Nutmeg - I'm about a 20 minute drive to NJ. Which I guess isn't that bad. I mean I used to make the drive before our liquor store decided that they could accomodate the local lushes for a few hours on a Sunday.

  8. Yeah, like Alisha says: there will never be a booze shortage in this city. I live in a small church-filled Ukrainian neighborhood, and if time were distance and expanded radially, I've got thirteen bars within a seven-minute walking radius.

    We take this shit seriously.

  9. I know - PA is trying to kill me. Because when you have kids, one-stop shopping is a must. But I can't do that because of the PA liquor laws. And I have no choice - I need my booze, because I have kids. It's a never-ending cycle of suck.

  10. Here in Franklin I can only get beer at grocery stores and gas stations. And if you buy a tall boy at the gas station, they'll put it in one of those little brown bags so no one knows you're sipping on a PRB at the stoplight. I can only get wine and bourbon at the liquor store and NOT AT ALL ON SUNDAY. But I can buy beer on Sunday. Somehow, it's less sinful to drink beer than bourbon. I think Jesus said that in Mark 3:14.

  11. PBR--duh. No one drinks PRB tall boys anymore.

  12. HIF - You can't even buy beer at grocery stores or gas stations in PA. There are separate stores for that. It's so bizarre to me. What is the point?

    Gina - I hear you, girl. My sentiments exactly.

  13. The sad twisted reason I will always chose painkillers over alcohol? Calories. Swigging back a couple of Vicodin is never going to give me a fat(fatter) ass. Yeah, I said it, and yes, I'm unhealthily preoccupied with the size of my ass. Now where is my prescription pad?

  14. Oh for crapsake people! Stick with the plan! If you are willing to use copious amounts of mood and mind altering chemicals for something like a decade straight your system breaks down and you can get completely drunk on one beer. I'm not kidding! It's great! Well, until you realize it's time to go to a 12-step program. But, you know, I'm just tryin' to help!

  15. FF - you are right. I'd rather take a percocet than drink a beer for the reason you have stated. I am unhealthily preoccupied with the size of my ass too.

    Mong girl - You know what else can get you drunk off one beer? Not eating like all day. Here's the algebraic formula: Empty stomach + 1 beer = Trashed.

  16. Okay.... 1, I had no idea you were in the greater Philadelphia area. I am too. At least, I usually am. Right now I'm on vacation in Florida, so feel free to ransack my house while I'm gone. The really good shit's in the basement, in the crawl space under the addition out back.

    2, "You can't even buy beer at grocery stores or gas stations in PA. There are separate stores for that. It's so bizarre to me. What is the point?"

    The point, my new imaginary internet friend, is the middle name of the Pennsylvania L.C.B., aka the Liquor CONTROL Board. Doing things this way, they get a lot more applications (read "fees") for liquor licenses (the only way to sell alkyhall on Sunday in PA for years). It ain't about morality. It may have started that way, but it ain't now. It's about taxes and revenue and fines and all of that shit.

    3. I don't think hell (in the theological sense) exists. But you just might discover that a morning with a hangover is as close as you are likely to get.

  17. I'm a huge fan of gas station convenience stores and will go out of my way for a good one. There's one on the way to my favorite summer vacation spot that sells cheap everything .... booze, smokes, gas, Christmas decorations, and every kind of snack food under the sun. All of my favorite things! If they had a hotel room, I'd be happy to just stay there.

  18. Booze and the chronic DO NOT MIX. Learned the hard way.

    Also, here in my neck of FLA, we can't buy booze on Sundays, and we can't buy the hard stuff except in liquor stores. Wine and beer they sell in convenience and grocery stores, though. I remember rushing out on Saturday night before midnight to stock up for Sunday.


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