We got trouble, right here in Ocean City,
With a capital "T" and that rhymes with "B" and that stands for ...
BYOB? Heavens, even professor Harold Hill of "The Music Man" might have a hard time working up a lather over the thought of bringing a little wine to enjoy with dinner. But in Ocean City, the controversy over allowing BYOB rolls in every few years, as regularly as the tides. It usually doesn't get far.
This time, the debate is on Facebook. Some restaurant owners are suggesting that the dry-as-the-Sahara resort should allow people to bring a little wine or beer with them to restaurants. Not sell it, understand. Just bring it along.
If their Facebook page is any barometer, proponents of BYOB do have some support.
But not, notably, from Mayor Jay Gillian.
"As long as I'm mayor, I'm absolutely against it," he said. "Our image is that of a family town. To change it for the few could be damaging to the whole. I don't think people understand the ramifications."
Well, count us among those who don't see the sky falling. Most dry communities forbid alcohol sales but allow BYOB, and they hardly turn into raucous, wide-open towns. Fact is, places like Collingswood - which loosened its tight alcohol laws to allow BYOB several years ago - is now dotted with chic little restaurants with a quiet, well-mannered clientele.
And we sympathize with many restaurant owners in town. It's hard to have an upscale dinner menu and not allow patrons to have a glass of wine. Still, this is an issue that is considered the third rail of Ocean City politics. Politicians aren't likely to change the law on their own. The issue should be decided by Ocean City residents in a binding or nonbinding referendum - just as the blue laws once were.
Decades ago, Ocean City residents overturned their city's antiquated, convoluted blue laws. There were those who argued fervently against it at the time, who believed blue laws defined the town, who feared that the character of the city would forever change. That hasn't happened. Ocean City remains a family-friendly place, despite the fact that you can now pick up a carton of eggs on Sunday.
The debate over BYOB is a healthy one to have every now and again. But instead of just fading away, it ought to come to a referendum - where Ocean City residents can evaluate the arguments and make their own choice about this hot-button issue that has divided the city for decades.
We know how we would vote.