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Best Of Dallas® 2006

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.
-Oscar Wilde

THE SUBJECT of today’s sermon is sin. No, wait! Don’t turn the page just yet. We’re talking about good sins, the kind of vices we like.

You say you didn’t know that vice can be a good thing? We didn’t either until we started planning this issue. Our advertising staff thought devoting this year’s Best of Dallas® to a theme of “Dallas vice” would be a fun idea. The editors, a literal bunch, thought that tying the word “best”to a term the dictionary defines as “moral depravity or corruption; wickedness” might be off- putting to the dozens of our more morally stalwart readers and advertisers.

So of course we said, “Yes, let’s have a vice theme.” This is the Dallas Observer, after all, and if our staff of reprobates led by a devoutly religious editor couldn’t find something nice to say about vice, no one could. We like a challenge. We love being contrary.

It wasn’t that hard. Think about it: Which part of your past puts a smile on your face as you daydream? Which gives you the better anecdote to tell your drinking buddies? Was it the Sunday morning you slipped an extra fiver in the collection plate, or the time you had one too many Saturday night and woke up trying to recall exactly what it is you can’t believe you did the night before? Would you really rather be responsible and save that money for a rainy day, or buy your 20th pair of bitchin’ shoes?

We have quite a few poker players in our office, and the morning after a game there’s more talk of the hands they didn’t bet but could have won than the pots they took home.

All this thinking about the wages of petty sin prompted us to come up with a game for y’all to try out as you visit any of the fine drinking establishments praised in this issue. Instead of playing “Who would you rather do?” (Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh, for instance) play this one: “Who could you have done but didn’t?” Make sure you start it well before last call, though. You’re going to want a few drinks.

Maybe we’re wrong, but we suspect that when the day comes that we lie in bed drawing our last breaths, regrets for the sins we didn’t commit will haunt us way more than those we did.

Like we said, we’re reprobates. But even ol’ Abe Lincoln, a paragon of virtue, understood what we’re talking about: “It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues,” he said.

We lifted that quote from the Web page of the Dallas-based Vice Fund, by the way. It’s a mutual fund that invests in tobacco, alcohol, gaming and defense industries. Its historic average annual return is right around 16 percent. How’s your 401(k) doing?

So sin a little, we say. You deserve it. Spend a little too much. Embarrass yourself. Put down the hymnal and dust off that old copy of Back in Black. And consider this Best of Dallas a guide to how people indulge their naughty natures responsibly—or sorta responsibly, anyhow.

Remember: Everything in moderation is wise, but abstemiousness is a pain in the butt. —Patrick Williams

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