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Drunk of the Week

Hornet

Let's have a show of hands: Who did something this past weekend that he or she regrets?

Okay, me too. But despite my being "overserved" by the Hornet (76 Broadway), I'm pretty sure I have the same complement of friends that I went into the weekend with. And that's no small feat, considering the fact that I consumed at least eight pints of Guinness in a mixed crowd.

It wasn't really my fault, though. My weekend behavior -- not to mention that of the people I drag along with me into the Vortex -- is too great a responsibility for one man to bear. I think the City of Denver, if not the Department of Homeland Security, needs to step in. While drinking, I exhibit a long and distinguished list of Neanderthal behaviors that could use supervision, if not a few slaps on the wrist to remind me that such behaviors are unacceptable. Without such warnings, we drinkers can't be held to account.

It's like Major League Baseball's tough new stance on steroids.

I love baseball in Colorado, because I can go to a game and drink outdoors on a beautiful day for three hours and never miss anything on the field. For viewing excitement, I'd rather watch the Mad Painter on PBS. When I was a kid, though, the game was much more interesting -- maybe because I played back then. In any case, things seemed to go down the toilet about the time that Wrigley Field got lights and it became acceptable for players to pull their pant legs down to their ankles, instead of wearing the traditional stirrups with sanitary socks. I could respect the old-school players who rode out an eleven-month season on modest salaries; today, if I watch athletes with multimillion-dollar contracts, I want to see guys risking life, limb and tooth -- not guys who just stand in front of a full stadium and scratch themselves.

The long-overdue steroid policy, remember, came on the heels of a questionable strike call after which Sammy Sosa beat a home-plate umpire to death with a catcher's mask. Sammy's defense was that he'd missed breakfast. He was certainly not taking performance-enhancing drugs, so don't even bother to test him. It's not his fault that suspicions were already high after league officials examined blood samples from the past few batting-crown champions and found that both Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds are not human, but actually mutated Clydesdales.

I can totally understand the harsh stance that Commissioner Bud "Baseball's Anti-Ambassador" Selig has taken, determining that if you get caught five or more times with steroids on board, he'll dock you 0.01 percent of your pay, not let you play with the other boys for a week, and give you 35 cents to call Pete Rose so that you can try to explain to him why gambling is a much more heinous crime than outright cheating. Of course, this tyrannical step was taken only after every player had been warned in advance that he would be tested in the pre-season -- and despite the warning, 5 percent of all major leaguers tested positive.

I don't know why any of us should be required to show more social responsibility than our athletic heroes, but there you are. To help keep us out of trouble, Mayor John Hickenlooper -- a fan of both bars and baseball -- should create a new, grossly bloated city department to monitor the behavior of saloon patrons throughout Denver, taking much the same hard-nosed stance as Selig and Major League Baseball. Without someone to police us, how can we possibly feel good about ourselves when we don't do something we know is wrong or harmful?

For outright abuse of alcohol, such as spilling, or ordering Zima, the punishment should be immediate ejection from the premises. Antisocial behavior, like propositioning your waitress (unless you're at Hooters or a skin club) or repeatedly voicing the unelicited opinion that your buddy's wife should not cut her hair, would mandate that the offender be cut off or at least forced to stop drinking bourbon. And all this would be in addition to the standard punishment of waking up with your head in a vise grip, as I did after my night at the Hornet.

If we as a society hope to eradicate improper behavior in bars, we need to get tough and make an example of even our most prominent citizens. I suggest we start with Major League Baseball.

 
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