In Like a Lyin’

March may traditionally come in like a lion but the first week of this month had me thinking of all the official lies we have had forced upon us. Damn those government bureaucrats. They’ve taken four shots per bottle away from us in the name of world-wide conformity and nobody has said a thing about it. Clearly I am talking about the metric system. Either that or else clearly, I’ve completely lost it this time.

Once upon a time, in fact once upon the 1890s as the temperance movement was gaining ground, laws were being passed to permit sales of alcohol by bottles “to go” rather than by the drink “for here” to discourage people from drinking outside the home and thus appearing drunk in public. Better to be drunk in front of family I suppose. Anyway, the lowest legal amount one could sale for removal from the premises was four-fifths of a quart, aka 25 2/3 ounces or one fifth of a gallon. Thus a fifth was born.

Then, once upon another time, this one in fact once upon the mid 1970s, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms further reduced that commercial package to a standard volume of 750ml, a loss of an additional 7ml. Why, after three-quarters of a century of people losing almost 6 ounces of good whiskey per bottle did the aforementioned bureaucrats see fit to lop off enough to make for a full four shot loss (based on a 1-1/2 ounce shot)? Because President Gerald Ford signed the Metric Conversion Act and ATF wasn’t going to be remembered as slackers when people looked back during the next century to see how terrific life became because of the metrication of America. (And now when somebody brings up Gerald Ford’s accomplishments as President, you’ll have something to contribute.) (You’re welcome.)

That’s why every year when I hear somebody trot out that old saw “March, in like a lion, out like a lamb” (guffaw, guffaw), my brain translates that to “in like a lyin’” you-know-what and mourns the loss of all that good bourbon.

That’s what I think. Really. How ‘bout you?


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