Outside in the cold distance, a wild cat did growl. Two riders were approaching, and the wind began to howl…
-Bob Dylan, All Along The Watchtower
If there is a hell in America, I’m putting my vote on Utah. The place is mostly uninhabitable desert with frigid winters and blistering summers, and its primary body of water is undrinkable poison. If you choose to live there, there’s a better than even chance that your neighbors on either side will believe, if you’re anything like me, that you start your day by lighting up a transgression and brewing up a hot pot of veniality, and end your day with an icy sin and tonic (Yeah, I know that was lame, but fuck you: I’m sick).
And not only will they believe that, but they will consider it their duty to pound on your door at inconvenient times to tell you to stop. Utah’s like living with your parents, assuming that your dad suddenly developed an inexplicable hard-on for bow ties, and your mom suddenly started advising you to give up this ugly little business about a career and find some nice girls to settle down with.
Between the weather and the company, the only positive I can see to living in Utah is that the line at Starbucks is probably always short. Of course, entering it will require the raincoat-and-shades wardrobe of your average 1970′s urban pervert shopping for fisting porn, your vente cup will always smell like industrial hand sanitizer, and asking for it “very light” will mean that the well-scrubbed kid behind the counter only horks one lunger into it.
Granted, no place is perfect. Here on my street, I am surrounded by Mexican neighbors who only cop to the ability to speak English when they ask me if they can bum a cigarette, which thanks to Massachusetts sin taxation in the current economy, is akin to asking me to co-sign their car loan. Plus, when I walk out to buy my coffee, I pass a Salvation Army where I am constantly invited in for free soup:
“You poor man! Do you need to come inside for a hot meal?”
“Nope! I’m on my way to Dunkin’ Donuts to buy breakfast! With money from my job! My nearly six-figure income job!”
“So… you did that to yourself on purpose?”
But I can always take the edge off my living conditions by swinging straight from Dunkin’ Donuts to the next-door liquor store to Irish that Big Gulp up. I can walk into a restaurant and order myself up a few Car Bomb shots, chill the fuck out, and get some perspective on my home town. And, being part of America, I imagine I could do the same if I lived in Utah.
Or, you know, not.
A Utah Senate committee has approved a bill that would hide the preparation of alcoholic drinks behind 10-foot-high walls in restaurants and make it illegal to appear drunk.
First of all, I’m gonna skip the obvious conventional wisdom that people who hide their booze are usually closeted alcoholics. That said: what possible purpose could it serve to hide cocktail preparation behind a ten-foot wall? Is it to protect their liquor-curious children? Some kind of bent security by obscurity defense, so that when they hit sixteen and try to make themselves a scotch on the rocks, they bash their front teeth out with gravel? If that’s the case, God help them when their kid comes home and tells them he’s tasted a Hot Irish Nut.
And the whole making it illegal to “appear” drunk is such obvious discrimination against non-Mormon drinkers that it’ll never stand up to serious argument… not that I’d want to have that argument with a Mormon cop: “You’re arresting me? I’m having a beer and giggling at Letterman! See that guy over there? He pounds on my door at six every morning to tell me I’m going to hell, and I’m disturbing the peace? How about that guy in the corner moaning with glossolalia and twitching like he’s been tasered? WAIT! I SURRENDER! FORGET I SAID ‘TASER!’”
It’s easy to make fun of Mormons… and since they’re not lawsuit-crazy like Scientologists, I don’t intend to stop anytime soon. But at the same time, although I don’t agree, I can recognize where their mortal terror over booze, caffeine and tobacco come from: they believe that God wants them to avoid substances that could affect them adversely in body or mind. Which I could understand… except it’s clearly not working.
Fans have driven from all over the state for this one-night-only event. Someone… says he’s from Decatur, Ga., only to admit he was really a Utahn who did his Mormon missionary work there. Still it’s obvious that tonight, Orem [Utah] has become ground zero for ’90s romantics far and wide. After all, the names are the marquee are none other than MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice.
For the time being, let’s just gloss over the fact that a culture that’s petrified to allow a milliliter of ethanol to invade their skulls has embraced two guys who deal in pop hooks more insidious and infectious than Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and focus on the fact that the evidence indicates that Mormons take the idea of cleanliness in pop music seriously. So seriously that they invaded the public airwaves throughout the 1970′s, making a generation of prepubescents believe they should swoon over giant teeth. So very seriously that they just tried a second invasion run, but thankfully, due to the advent of the grill, tooth caps are outgunned dead tech.
And yet these same people invited M. C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice into their homeland. And while they may seem like harmless, washed-up bubblegum pop stars, they are, in fact, trojan horses for other peoples’ music. So while you stood with clear, sound minds and applauded and screamed for U Can’t Touch This and Ice Ice Baby, you were, in fact, respectively embracing the music of a crack-addicted wife-beater and a couple of known sodomites with both of your healthy, scab and track mark-free arms.
So I think I’ll keep my vacation plans for Utah this year… those plans being to never fucking go to Utah. If I want to go to a desert and be incarcerated as a sinner by people who not only invite harbingers of doom into their home, but pay them to come in, I’ll go to Vegas, where they only arrest you for a better class of sin, and hire higher-quality minions of Satan.
Well, generally better, anyway.