Pennsylvania is like the kid who wants to go swimming but just can't work up the nerve to take the plunge.
It seems legislators and regulators want to make it easier for us to buy alcohol in this notoriously restrictive state, but they can't quite do the one obvious thing that would accomplish that:
Get out of the liquor business.
Instead, we get half measures like the wine kiosk fiasco, a spectacular failure that was supposed to provide Pennsylvanians with the "convenience" of buying wine in grocery stores.
A ridiculously involved process, technical glitches and a dispute with the vendor ultimately doomed the venture.
Of course, there was an easier way to sell wine in grocery stores, obvious to everyone but the Liquor Control Board and Legislature ... put the bottles on the darned shelves, like they do in most every other state.
Well, don't look now, but the board is making it more convenient to buy beer -- Pennsylvania-style.
And no, it's not as simple as adding coolers.
Weis Market and Giant Food Stores, two chains that have applied for liquor licenses to sell beer at York County stores, would have to build restaurants for the privilege of offering customers brew.
Giant on East Market Street in Springettsbury Township is already at work on the 36-seat Marketplace Café and lounge, where shoppers will be able to sip a beer with their hot and cold food. It will also offer take-out beer, but it's subject to the same wacky restrictions as other restaurants -- only two six packs at a time, and Giant will need a separate license to sell on Sundays.
Pennsylvania's liquor system is antiquated, "a relic of the past," as local state Rep. Stan Saylor has put it.
As we've noted before, even the Bible Belt and Deep South states decades ago abandoned the strict control of alcohol sales that Pennsylvania now shares only with ultra-conservative Utah.
Last year, it looked like the Legislature might finally throw in the towel and sell off the state-run liquor stores, a plan favored by Gov. Tom Corbett and 69 percent of Pennsylvanians in a poll.
So what happened? Nothing.
Instead, they've moved on to another of our vices (which they also control) -- gambling.
A plan is being considered to allow a private company to run the state lottery games, in hopes it can do a better job, add games and boost profits.
A private company doing a better job than government?
There's a thought.