Beer, Horses and Freedom: Drinking and the Preakness
I can find nowhere in the U.S. Constitution any promise of cheap beer. In fact, for many years, the Constitution banned any sort of beer at all. And yet, we Americans still consider easy access to cheap beer an inalienable right. Call it the pursuit of hoppiness.
That is why so much outrage greeted the news that attendees of this year's Preakness wouldn't be allowed to bring their own beer. I've never been to the Preakness but I always understood it be a sort of bacchanal. The infield was supposedly like something out of "Caligula": drunken orgies among sunburned Baltimoreans.
This year? Not so much.
It wasn't that you couldn't drink, of course, just that you had to drink what they were selling. And what they were selling was beer at $3.50 a pop. Now, that's more than you'd pay if you bought it and brought it, but it's half what you'd pay at Nationals Park or FedEx Field.
And while those on fixed incomes might not be able to afford a $21 six-pack versus a $5 six-pack, it seems they might be able to economize the rest of the month to save money for their brewfest.
It might be that horse-racing is so boring you need to medicate yourself, but the question remains: How many beers does any one person need in any one setting?
I suppose critics are angry and disappointed that the spirit of the Preakness -- what used to be called the "Freakness" -- is changing. Gone are the days when it was Woodstock without the self-control, an instant tent village with its own loose social mores (mores that used to be: more, more, more).
That's a Preakness that was founded on the principle of beer flowing as cheaply as water. For this year, at least, that Preakness was gone. Somehow I think people will still figure out a way to get squid-faced. I only wish some of that $3.50 beer could find its way down here.
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