What is so rare as a medium steak?

This space is about reality. And reality, like life, is sometimes cold, hard and difficult. This is why many liberals hide from it on college campuses. This is also why liberal-arts degrees such as a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. earn sarcastic acronyms: The first starts with Bull, the second with More, and the third is Piled Higher and Deeper.

And yet, on one of my more recent incursions into the Communist nanny-state of the People’s Republic of California, I experienced yet another reminder of why it is I am such a die-hard conservative. Thankfully, if I were ever beaten with a stupid stick and developed amnesia, I would inevitably rediscover my true self.

I am sitting in a rather upscale bistro in Sacramento, attempting to order lunch.

Hook to Waiter: “I’ll have the house salad and the El Grande Burger, rare, with bacon and blue cheese.”

Waiter: “I’m sorry, sir; medium is the best we can do.”

Hook: “I don’t want it medium, I want it rare.”

Waiter: “I’m sorry, sir. We can’t do that.”

Hook: “Why, does the chef have something against tender meat?”

Waiter: “You’re not from California are you?”

Hook: “Why, do have to be from California to eat here?”

Waiter: “No, sir. It is against the law for us to serve under-cooked hamburger.”

Hook: “Excuse me?”

Waiter (nodding): “Uh-huh.”

Hook: “Are you kidding me?”

Waiter: “No, sir. The restaurant has a policy about it, also.”

Hook: “Are you serious?”

Waiter: “Yes, sir.

Hook: “Really?!”

Waiter: “Yes, sir, I’m sorry.

Hook (looking at menu): “The menu says you serve sashimi.”

Waiter: “Yes.”

Hook: “Isn’t that raw fish?”

Waiter (looking sheepish): “Yes, sir.”

Hook: “So you’re telling me I can order raw fish—bait—all day long, but you won’t give me a rare hamburger?”

Waiter: “Would you like to see a manager?”

Hook: “Not unless he’s going to bring me a rare burger covered in blue cheese.”

At this point my lunch companion goes into giggle-fits, and I draw applause from diners close enough to overhear the conversation.

The waiter turns beet red but remains steadfast.

Hook: “I’m not going to get my burger, am I?”

Waiter: “Medium, then?”

Sensing I’m on the losing side, I order the bait, er, sashimi.

While I appreciate the nanny state protecting me from the hazards of under-cooked beef, I’d prefer it if its legislators would stay out of my dining selections. For that matter, out of my life.

Then again, I could be wrong. After all, I’m just a raving, right-wing extremist. What the hell do I know?