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You Sin, You Win

Quit yer whining and get with Shawnee's liquor ban, sinner!

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A couple of weeks ago, hoping to stock up on a few items before the Chiefs home opener at noon, we went on a brief Sunday morning shopping jag and found ourselves in a Shawnee grocery store. Being from the godless side of State Line, we were startled to see placards at the store notifying shoppers that sales of beer and liquor were prohibited that day.

Holy Jesus! So this, we remembered, was what the liberal weenies at the Star had been deriding in several recent articles -- that you can't score a six-pack in Shawnee on the Lord's day.

Just about every other municipality in Johnson County has joined Wyandotte County in yielding to the temptation of tax revenues by allowing sales of Satan's brew on the Sabbath. But the stalwart members of Shawnee's City Council responded to a groundswell of righteous indignation (OK, a petition signed by 427 of the city's 52,000 residents) by rescinding an ordinance allowing Sunday sales and putting off a public vote on the issue until next year.

The Star might be angry because its pinko reporters can't get a buzz going in Shawnee when they oughta be in church, but we realized that the town's refusal to bend to cultural relativism is only part of a long, proud legacy of Kansas liquor sanity. First in the nation to go dry (1880) and last to go wet (1948), the state that spawned Carry Nation still prohibits wine with your restaurant meal in 41 of its counties, prevents establishments in places such as Johnson County from serving cocktails unless the restaurant generates at least 30 percent of its income from food, and won't let you take home a keg of beer without a registration tag that's a felony to remove. Heck, wish you could send home that case of Chardonnay you found on your trip to Napa Valley? Forgetaboutit!

In other words, it's just that much harder for the locals to become an army of stinking drunks -- and we say, Hallelujah. But what puzzles us is how such a scripture-oriented populace could miss out on other obvious opportunities to attack sins of the flesh by legally proscribing the livelihoods of profit-hungry, mostly immigrant shop owners who couldn't care less if the lot of us end up burning in hell.

Intoxicating spirits may send some of us to the devil, but judging from the acres of spandex straining at the seams to keep some locals from immodesty, it appears that gluttony is a far more prevalent affliction than alcoholism in the Sunflower State. We wonder why Lenexa or Olathe couldn't do Shawnee one better by banning Sunday sales of pizza, french fries, Big Gulps, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and those hyperfat ice cream Blizzards at Dairy Queen with more calories in a 12-ounce cup than in a whole side of beef.

Prairie Village, meanwhile, could strike a blow against pride, the deadliest of deadly sins, by outlawing Sunday exhibitions of Chiefs T-shirts, jackets, caps, lawn ornaments and, especially, those really annoying flags that people still insist on attaching to their SUVs.

A Sunday ban on sales of Playboy, Hustler, Barely Legal and Cosmopolitan in Overland Park would ring a death knell for lust in that God-fearing community.

Requiring all Mission Hills residents to place car covers over their Jaguars and Benzes and Lexuses on Sunday would no doubt go a long way toward suppressing envy in the hearts of their neighbors.

Reducing that most virulent form of anger -- road rage -- would be a snap in Roeland Park with a Sunday ban on driving.

As for crusading against greed, the divines living in Leawood could set an example by requiring banks not to pay interest on the Sabbath. After all, if you can't work on the Lord's day, neither should your money.

We returned from our Shawnee shopping trip with a few snacks to consume while watching the big game. They went great with the beer that we, with a little foresight and an IQ bigger than our shoe size, had remembered to stock up on ahead of time. By late afternoon, sprawled on the couch with a mild buzz, happy after the Chiefs' ass-whipping, we were the embodiment of sloth. -- Tony Ortega


Not wanting to miss out on all of the 9/11 anniversary hoopla, we dragged ourselves out of bed before dawn last week to visit Linda Hall Library in the gloomy dark. Like 23 other libraries around the country, the book depository was staying open from midnight to midnight on September 11 as a tribute, and we wanted to find out what the place was like in the wee hours.

Entering the wrought-iron gates leading up the wooded driveway to the old building atop the hill felt like stepping onto the set of a horror movie, which we didn't especially enjoy. However, upon entering (it was about 5:45 a.m.), a kind librarian welcomed us, and we tiredly appreciated the peace, quiet and the southerly view during sunrise. It was wonderful -- it was so pleasant we wished the library opened before dawn more often. But we were too tired to give much thought to what seeing the sun appear surrounded by books had to do with the World Trade Center.

We came back at 11 p.m. to find two patrons taking advantage of the long hours: a medical student who was psyched that she could study until midnight, and an older man in a parrot-covered T-shirt studying pharmacokinetics. He wouldn't explain what that was, but we're Internet-savvy enough to figure out that it has to do with how drugs react when they enter the bloodstream. (Party on!) The med student said that the library staying open 24 hours had struck her as a sort of wake, which she said felt meaningful. And the pharmacokineticist said he was keeping an eye on the chemistry volumes in the building to make sure there wasn't any funny business going on. Terrorist funny business. We asked him if he'd seen anything suspicious, to which he replied, "Just you." -- Gina Kaufmann

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