Beware Those Bearing Shrubbery

posted on July 8, 2014

My daughter was in a Tucson, Ariz., hospital last week, and I had overwatch duty in her room several nights. The facility is a gun-free zone, so my Wilson Combat CQB Elite that accompanied me on the long flight stayed in my good friend Bernie’s safe, miles away. Thankfully, everyone else obeyed the rule when I was there, but I learned a scary lesson in the hospital’s alcohol-free policy.

It was day five of her stay. Sometime around 11 a.m. she said it’s a shame she couldn’t have a beer to watch the United States play in the World Cup. I asked a nurse, and in hindsight, sleep deprivation makes it hard to recognize sarcasm. “Sure, bring a cooler and don’t forget the ice,” was the answer. She was kind enough to point out the family room on the third floor had a large television.

So off to the store I went with my son, scoring one small cooler, ice and gluten-free beer for my daughter. I went directly from the airport to the hospital the first night and felt bad that I didn’t bring flowers, so I scoured the produce section and secured a fresh bunch of kale. She’s a health freak and at least my shrubbery would stand out from the colorful crowd of blooms in her room.

I took one of the green-bottled brews and wrapped the kale around it, creating the ultimate World Cup hospital bouquet.  I walked right by the security desk, cooler in hand and kalski (that’s kale and brewski combined, a new term I hope to copyright) in the other. On the elevator a doctor inquired, and I explained my daughter eats healthy, that I thought this was better than flowers. A nurse gave me two new recipes and applauded my choice.

My daughter thought it was great. But, when I told the pair of volunteers in the family room we were watching the game and my daughter was having a beer, their blue hair turned red as they cited the alcohol-free policy and threatened to call security.

We retreated back to her room. Between her rigorous aspirin regimen she had part of the beer. The United States lost. The remaining beers warmed. Law-abiding citizens honor the rules. Criminals by definition do not. And if I can walk by security in an alcohol-free zone with a kalski and cooler, I’m probably going to lose sleep every time I have to visit a gun-free zone-especially if celery or watermelon is on sale.


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