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    Julie is the best kind of libertarian commenter—mouthy and cynical—but I think she’s going a bit light on Washington here:

    The way things are going, I expect Nancy Pelosi’s staff will want to meet with couples personally to determine whether they are fit to get married and, if so, what type of punch they should serve at the reception.

    The meetings with the staff are a good start, in that they prevent Her Excellency from having to mingle with the churls. I’m not so sure the punch thing would be dispatched quite so expeditiously, though. There’s potential there!

    First, some old friend of Pelosi’s from Baltimore, now founder and CEO of a major manufacturer of punch mixes and serving accessories, could have an intimate little lunch with Pelosi and convince her to sponsor the Wedding Punch Safety and Quality Assurance bill.

    Compliance would require documentation of alcohol content and sourcing or other ingredients, with strictly enforced minimum standards for organic ingredients, green manufacturing practices, and diversity in the workforce. Documentation of compliance could be avoided through the procuring of punch mix and serving accessories from a certified punch vendor with its own compliance division, answerable to a new Punch Safety and Quality Assurance Agency, jurisdiction over which would be held jointly by the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Also required would be

    •   a punch distribution permit, obtainable from the local office of the state-level punch distribution board with jurisdiction over the wedding hall, which much be prominently posted not farther than five (5) feet from the punch bowl, the bride’s color scheme be damned
    •   the retention of unionized punch distribution agents to ensure timely service and equal portions, with any celebrants caught trying to avoid shelling out for PDAs by enlisting Great-Aunt Irmgard and Grandma Joyce to pour subject to hefty fines
    •   approval in writing from a certified nutritionist, verifying that the overall array of goodies available at the reception hall enabled each guest to construct a meal that fell within bureaucratically approved healthfulness guidelines (refer to the latest food pyramid, please)

    That enough functionaries? Probably not. We need

    •   for any reception at which the punch to be served is red, an on-call, board-certified child psychologist, to provide counseling in the event that a celebrant under the age of nine (9) suffers psychological trauma when told by a mischievous older cousin that the colorant used was made from squashed bugs

    If the bridal couple still had the impertinence to express opinions about what would actually provide pleasure at their reception, the machinations mechanisms would then be in place by which more enlightened criteria of standardization could be enforced for the good of all.

    6 Responses to “Punchline”

    1. Julie says:

      You’re secretly Rahm Emanuel, aren’t you? You have a future in paternalism! But seriously, that made my day. I’m flattered, even though you completely one-upped me. That is why I am a mere commenter.

    2. Sean says:

      Rahm Emanuel? I?

      Madam, please.

      I don’t have to ambush cancer-weakened 50-year-olds in the locker-room shower naked and demand their submission in order to get some, you know what I’m saying?

      And there was no one-upping involved. :) Your comment just happened to hit me on a day when demosclerosis was getting on my nerves (even) more than usual, so it all kind of came pouring out.

    3. Julie says:

      “Somehow, he worked an awful lot of men without clothes into the tale.”

      I try to make my stories that way, too.

    4. Sarah says:

      I second Julie on suspicions that you’re Rahm — or at least feeding him ideas via memo.

      I also second Julie on putting an awful lot of men without clothes into my stories. (Sometimes, accidentally, some bare females drop in and my hetero male readers appreciate them, but the writer-cookies are the naked guys.)

      Seriously — very funny. Enjoyed it a lot. “It was the best butter”… I mean snark. :)

    5. Eric Scheie says:

      Sean, if you get tired of your present job, I think you would have a big future in government!

    6. Sean says:

      Most of my best stories seem to involve naked men, though in my defense, they usually start out in well-cut jackets and trousers.

      Eric, the problem is that I’d have to spew all this nonsense with a straight face. I don’t think I’d last at that very long.

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