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Alcohol you sometime 

I'm all for my right hand not knowing what my left hand is doing - especially on Tuesday evenings - but I'm less forgiving when other people's hands get out of control. I'm even less forgiving if the two hands in question do know what the other is doing, disapprove of it, and keep on keepin' on.

Take, for instance, Cal Poly. On one hand, the administration practically denounces alcohol as the devil, the source of all vandalism and rape. Students in the dorms are repeatedly told that they don't need beer or its vile cousins to have a good time. They're told horror stories about kids who drank beer and then killed their roommate - or at least started getting bad grades.

On the other hand, the administration recently announced that visitors to campus for baseball games can have a great time now that concession stands offer beer.

Cal Poly's vice president for University Advancement, Sandra Ogren, has said that alcohol is served at certain events open to the public at which students should be treated like adults.

At all other times, apparently, students should be treated like children or - to be fair - teenagers. They do act like kids most of the time anyway. Then again, so do some die-hard baseball fans after they get a brew or two into them.

Treating students like adults doesn't mean giving them access to alcohol in a "responsible setting." Treating them like adults means letting them choose for themselves how to act. If they act irresponsibly, they pay the consequences.

Some may argue that restricting access to alcohol on campus stops any violence or problems before they start, preventing more grief in the long run. I think some temperance groups said the same thing about the whole country at one point, but we ultimately repealed Prohibition because it was a stupid idea, remember? I learned that in my U.S. history class, despite the fact that I had a hangover. So there.

I've also heard rumors of a potential future campus sports bar, which seems to imply that Cal Poly officials believe the appropriate setting for alcohol must be sports related, except I hear alcohol is also available at a few benefactor-schmoozing dinners or during performances at the PAC, which serves alcohol because its advisory board thought beer and wine would be a good idea, based on "expectations and tastes of many people in the community."


It may not be direct hypocrisy, but it sure smells like it.


Cal Poly students obviously aren't considered members of the community, since their expectations and tastes don't seem to matter on the rest of campus. I guess kids aren't considered members of the community anyway.

You can't just say alcohol is a bad thing that should only be doled out in responsible situations that also just so happen to be situations in which the school stands to make a few bucks. Or you can say it, if you're Cal Poly. Judicial Affairs notes that an exception to the "dry campus" policy may be granted by the president after considering "the nature of the event, the adequacy of supervision, and the benefit to the university."

It may not be direct hypocrisy, but it sure smells like it.

Since I had alcohol on my mind, my buddy Jack and I went out for a strictly platonic drink at Mother's the other night. By the end of the evening, he was getting a little surly. For some reason, he started to take out his surliness on me, which I'm used to but still don't enjoy. Fortunately, something distracted him before he could do anything stupid, at least to me.

"Hey," he said, leaning heavily on my shoulder and talking with his mouth practically in my ear in a strictly platonic way. "I hate that guy."

He made a sweeping gesture that encompassed most of the bar.

"You're going to have to be more specific," I said. It looked like Jack hated every guy in the bar, which was probably true. Jack has an attitude problem even when he hasn't been drinking.

He squinted and pointed and swung his arm back and forth until he settled on one person: a bike cop who had just rolled through the door, bike and all.

Jack explained that he sees this particular bike cop all over town gliding into restaurants and shops to be fawned over by females attracted to a man in uniform - even if that uniform is mostly Spandex.

"They practically grope him right there on the bike," Jack said, half in disgust, half in awe.

It was true. I stood there and stared with Jack at this grinning bike cop - in a strictly platonic way - while women draped their arms around him and cooed. He was chatting. Eating it up. Flirting while the ladies admired his equipment.

I had to look away, partially because I was jealous and partially because if I looked at him any longer in that tight bike outfit, I probably could've been able to see whether he was Jewish or Gentile, if you catch my meaning.

"What is his deal?" Jack asked. I started to answer, but he didn't seem interested. "I mean, what is his deal? He doesn't even get off the bike to come through the door. Clothing stores, bars, Farmers' Market - he's up on his bike. Shouldn't he be out ticketing skateboarders without helmets or something?"

I shrugged. It seemed like the best response. I, for one, was glad to know that the bike cop would be getting his ego stroked in the bar while I was finding a suitable alley to relieve myself in on the way home. ³

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