Last year I submitted an audition tape to Ninja Warrior, a Japanese reality show pitting man against, well, nothing. Just a bizarre assortment of obstacles and water pits, really. Getting on Ninja Warrior is the first phase in my five-year plan to get off my couch. I haven’t figured out the other phases yet, but I think they’ll include mud-wrestling kittens.
I was pretty confident about my audition tape. As part of my training to leap and dash my way through any and all obstacles, I made a habit of getting wasted downtown on weekends. Then, I’d try to get home in record time while evading the hordes of cops eager to bust wasted Neanderthals such as myself. Hell, can you blame them? We’re young. Well, they are, but I’m pretty sure hanging around people much younger than yourself makes you look super cool. Alec Baldwin’s engaged to a 27-year-old yoga instructor, and the blue in his eyes makes the Hearst Castle Neptune Pool look like a trailer park mud puddle.
Also, I’m pretty much broke—you know you’re a loser when you chase squirrels through the park hoping they’ll drop a nut for you to snack on.
The point is, we Neanderthals are bad through and through. You can take one sweeping look and dismiss us by our clothing, socio-economic status, and age. And that’s exactly what cops do.
Don’t believe me? Remember Deb Linden? The outgoing SLO chief of police—Capt. Buzzkill as I like to call her—who dedicated her career to vilifying college drinking? Remember the provincial rhetoric about “rowdy and destructive kids” who were essentially responsible for undermining the moral fabric of the city? Yeah, she blamed drunk college students for just about everything, stopping just short of fingering them for global warming. And the only reason she stopped there is because she’s probably one of those wackos who doesn’t believe in it.
And remember all those times she went after the wineries and the tasters who drive to a vineyard and drink then drive to another vineyard and drink and then drive to another vineyard and drink?
Yeah, me neither. That’s probably because good ol’ Deb never had anything to say about the classy middle-aged white people getting hammered on rich people juice and then driving potentially long distances between wineries for more. For that matter, neither has the Sheriff’s Department, or Paso Robles Chief Lisa Solomon, who’s got so many wine-industry hands up her butt it’s hard to tell which one is making her talk.
It doesn’t take a ginormous leap of logic to work out that wine tasting, by definition, involves drinking, climbing into the car, and drinking some more.
Meanwhile, law enforcement hears about a 4/20 concert at Pozo Saloon and the entire Narcotics Task Force, plus 45 spares, takes a field trip. Reggae? Young people? Sun? Clearly, it’s a recipe for mafia-esque behavior. At least, law enforcement chooses to treat it that way. Isn’t it neat when everything works out perfectly to vindicate your prejudices?
But when Sunset magazine puts on a glitzy booze fest, ala Savor the Central Coast, the law enforcement presence is practically invisible. Either they’re really good at being incognito, or they suck at law enforcement.
Surely, an event boasting nearly 4,000 visitors per day, each of whom is handed a wine glass upon entry, will be accorded the same treatment as a downtown weekend boozer or concert-goer? The concert at Pozo was first and foremost about the music, and Savor is first and foremost about the, ahem, fruit of the vine.
I’m no cop—I was turned down for being too rational when I applied, also I refused to grow a handlebar mustache—but I’d like to think, in the name of protecting Santa Margarita residents from potentially drunk drivers, that the event would be buzzing with law enforcement. You know, just in case. Thousands of people piling into their cars after a hot day of guzzling as much wine as they can get their manicured hands on equals danger in my book.
I’d be wrong. A preliminary phone call to the California Highway Patrol and the Sheriff’s Department revealed that not one person was given a DUI. No DUIs, no accidents, not even a freaking ticket.
Either this was the most responsible group in history—in which case, bravo!—or some drunkies slipped through the two or three CHPs handling traffic control.
When queried about the event, law enforcement’s response basically boiled down to: “Gee golly, why would you even ask about that? Nice, rich white people drinking their happy juice. It’s a celebration of the happiest place on Earth! Suck it, Mickey!”
If it was a beer-tasting festival, I’m guessing they’d be singing a different tune and you’d be reading this week about all the dangerous drivers who got pinched before they could roll through residential neighborhoods.
There’s a lot of talk about class warfare right now, and I’d hate to fuel it by suggesting there’s one set of laws for the rich and another for the poor. But it seems to me that if you’ve got the cash to swirl spoiled grapes in a glass, the people who are supposed to make sure you don’t splatter someone’s brains on the side of the road are going to look the other way. If you don’t have $85 to spare for a Savor ticket and you instead find yourself at some dive sucking down $3 well beers, you’re gonna have a cop breathing down your neck and a community wagging its collective finger at your misbehavior.
So, let’s call it like it is. Maybe the purpose behind law enforcement is to protect us. Or maybe it’s to look the other way when it’s convenient and gargantuan piles of wino dollars are at stake. If it’s the latter, I vote we take away their weapons, because the last thing I want to see is a sell-out PR skank with a gun. If they really are here to protect us, then they need to decide to protect us equally. I’ve always been a fan of anything that requires less work or movement, but I don’t think cops want to pattern themselves after me. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to mimic them.
Shredder drinks booze stolen from the ducks at the park. Send PBR to firstname.lastname@example.org.