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Doug Clark: Idaho vodka ban cocktail of bad judgment

Thu., May 31, 2012

I was appalled to read that Idaho has banned an alcoholic beverage not for tasting bad, but for supposedly being in bad taste.

Five Wives Vodka.

Liquor regulators have determined that those three words on a label (plus photographs of five fully-dressed females) are too offensive to peddle to Gem State booze hounds.

Well, I am offended.

And not because I’m a vodka lover, either.

I’m offended because this ban is an insult to my own polygamist roots.

More on that exciting revelation in a moment.

Getting back to vodka, I haven’t been able to drink the ghastly stuff since the August after my high school graduation.

My parents decided that their youngest son had finally reached that magic age of maturity where he could be trusted to stay home alone while they took a trip.

It meant a lot having them put this faith in me.

A few minutes after waving goodbye, I called my pal, Quag, to tell him about my newfound responsibility. He came right over and brought a giant bottle of vodka to celebrate.

“We’ll make screwdrivers,” I told Quag, excavating frozen cans of orange juice from the freezer.

The next …

Morning exploded …

Like an H-bomb …

In my skull.

I consider my debilitating 20-megaton hangover as one of the main reasons why I’ve never been much of a drinker.

Especially vodka.

Still can’t stand the smell of it.

So as you can see, my reaction to the Idaho Five Wives rejection has nothing to do with the content of the bottle.

This is about family, namely my great-grandfather Thomas Chamberlain.

The man had five wives and 56 children.

Or was it six wives and 55 children?

It’s difficult to keep all of it straight.

I’m guessing even old Tom got flummoxed from time to time.

There’s this photograph I’ve seen of the Chamberlain clan.

It looks more like an entire village than a family.

What’s that?

Why, yes. As a matter of fact he did live in Utah.

How’d you ever guess?

Even weirder is that Five Wives Vodka has reportedly been approved for sale in Utah, which, as we all know, is Mormon central.

So why the Idaho ouster?

I’m guessing this is yet another case of some thin-skinned, narrow-minded bureaucrat busybody telling adults what is or what isn’t offensive.

“Idaho State Liquor Division administrator Jeff Anderson said the brand is offensive to Mormons, who make up more than a quarter of Idaho’s population,” stated the Associated Press story.

Yep. Just as I figured.

You can’t turn around anymore without some weenie like Anderson popping up to tell you what to watch or what to consume or how to act.

Welcome to the Nanny States of America.

Life would be so much better if the Andersons among us learned how to mind their own business.

See, it doesn’t bother me in the least that my great-grandfather was a card-carrying polygamist weirdo.

I actually find it highly amusing.

And as much as I hate vodka, if they ever sell Five Wives in Spokane I’ll probably buy a bottle in his memory.

You know, you can also look at Five Wives Vodka as an educational product.

Oh, yeah. Drink too much of that stuff and you might just wake up and find yourself hitched to a strange quintet.

As that noted philosopher Mickey Gilley once sang: “The girls all get prettier at closing time.”

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at

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