Tuesday, August 30, 2005

OBSERVATION: Government bans Opa!

I said "opa" not Oprah! Let me explain.

My friends at the super secret Liberal Imperious Beneficence Society (LIBS) are at it again. In this case, they have quietly done in a great American culinary tradition ... well ... at least a great Greek-American culinary tradition. (This is the very same LIBS responsible for the banning of rare hamburgers, chocolate milk in schools and attacking the Oreo cookie, by the way.)

The case in point.

I recently took the family to dinner at one of Chicago's famous Greektown restaurants. We requested seating on the outdoor patio in order to enjoy the dwindling number of perfect summer evenings. As is our custom, we ordered saganaki, that wonderful grilled cheese served flambé to a chorus of "Opas." To our dismay, the yummy appetizer was served in silence, and without the searing flame.

Seeing our bewilderment, the waiter explained that city official banned the traditional pyro platter except inside the eatery. The theory seemed to be that wind might fan the flame, causing nothing less than the second Great Chicago Fire.

Well, at first blush, the bureaucratic logic seemed backward (nothing new there). Personally, I would have predicted the banning of indoor ignition, where errant sparks could spread to table clothes or draperies. That would have made more sense – though I aggressively oppose ANY banning of saganaki burning.

When I am faced with such occurrences, I make it a habit to call my LIBS contact, Ms. Lee F. T. Nojoy. In her best clenched lip response, she condescendingly explained that if LIBS can save one person from injury or death from a saganaki conflagration, the ban on outdoor saganaki burning was well worth it. (She also intimated that this was only the first step toward total banning of public cheese charring.)

This "if it saves one life, it is worth it" is the droning mantra of LIBS – their standard rationale to the elimination of anything that is fun. For the cowered, it is an intimidating response. How can one argue against saving a life? I place a very high value on life, but I refuse to be cowered by LIBS. So I say, no. No, this new government edict is NOT worth it.

The fullness and glory of life is enjoying things that, on tragic occasion, cause death. If limitation of our free choices for fun and entertainment were predicated solely on the saving of lives, we would ban motorcycles as non-essential modes of transportation, and drop the highway speed limits to 20 mph. We would close all amusement parks -- nothing necessary there. Mountain climbing would be banned. Car racing. Skate boarding. Skiing. Virtually all sports. Even fishing. I mean, people do fall out of boats. Of course the list is endless. Everything we enjoy has a risk.

I say, if you are afraid of getting singed by flaming saganaki, stay out of Greek restaurants. Order out, so the rest of us can celebrate the kind of freedom that allows for adventuresome risk talking (even stupid risk taking, like the guy who lived among grizzly bears until he was consumed, literally, by his hobby). Unless we stand up in opposition to LIBS, we will be condemned to life without any hope of pursuing happiness, and where the only permissible earthly exit strategy is death from boredom.


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nope said...


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I'm not asking for your pitty because we got our ownselfs into this mess but we would love you and thank you in our prayers if you would just keep this link on your blog for others to view.

God Bless You.

Melissa K. W.
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