Managing Editor of the Tocquevillian Magazine, is also newspaper
columnist and police sergeant on Long Island.
Stan Kid Archives
Keep Those Laws A-Comin'!
by Stan Kid
In the unenlightened past, bar and restaurant owners in Nassau County, New York found it necessary to please their customers or face the prospect of losing them. If your clientele was unhappy with the blue cloud of cigarette smoke hanging over your bar, they would simply take their business to the saloon down the street where there were fewer smokers. If you lost enough customers for this reason, you either changed your policy or went out of business. Your customers announced their pleasure or displeasure with their dollars or their feet. It was laughingly referred to as the free enterprise system.
This month, Nassau County puts into effect recent legislation making it illegal to smoke in virtually all public places, including restaurants and bars, formerly the last public haven for smokers.
I, for one, applaud this move, but suggest it doesn't go far enough. Now that our Legislature has seen fit to protect me from the evils of second-hand smoke and make it no longer necessary for me to select a bar or restaurant based on that particular criterion, it should take a look at the other legal behaviors for which I have the difficult and time-consuming responsibility to endure or avoid.
I've had enough of poorly prepared restaurant meals. When presented with an overdone steak, why should I simply have to send it back with the implied threat of dining elsewhere in the future? I want the incompetent clod who incinerated it arrested or, at the very least, fined heavily.
How about the former beauty queen at the next table who has bathed herself in cheap, flowery perfume and spackled on her makeup? Why should she be permitted to foul up my air and sully my scenery? Book 'er, Dano! The guy chewing his food with his mouth open? Thirty days in tin plate city! If I find a piece of dirty silverware, read the busboy his rights!
Entrepreneurs owe their government a debt of gratitude for taking from them the horrendously time-consuming and complicated task of determining the desires of their customers and tailoring their products to suit them. Their playing field is now even.
But, as long as I'm on a roll here, let's get past the restaurants and bars and address some really irksome assaults upon our sensibilities. There are so many opportunities for more and more laws.
Our nanny legislators have taken the courageous step of making it a violation to talk on a cell phone while operating an automobile, but what about the morons who apply their makeup while driving? If that isn't justification for a whap upside the head with a slap-jack and a handcuffed drive to the local police house, I don't know what is. How about the ubiquitous gesturer? You know the one I'm talking about--the clown who can't say two words without manual punctuation. He's punching the air with his cigar, waving his empty hand around wildly and steering with his knees. Would a $500 fine be too harsh?
Oh, I could just go on and on. People who blurt out the punch line to your joke before you finish it? I'm thinking solitary. Bald men with ponytails? The death penalty!
C'mon, you defenders of truth, justice and our quality of life, put a wiggle on! You may've made a good start, but there's plenty of work ahead. If you're out of ideas, try this one: get here around 7 ayem tomorrow. When you see my neighbor in her usual morning get-up, walking the dog, you'll know what you have to do. If you hurry, you can make that a felony before the end of the next session.
© 2002 Tocqevillian Magazine