Forever (envious of) 21

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Think back your 21st birthday ... seriously ... do it.

Got it? Cool. Now, let me tell you about mine. I spent 17 hours of my 21st birthday sans debauchery in a college newsroom working on stories that, while deathly important to me at the time, I can't even remember now. So I now make it my duty to torture the livers of my peers joining the Green Driver's License Club.

The youngest of our little circle finally got to belly up to the bar without a fake ID, and we, of course, indulged her inner alcoholic. The drinking voyage started at Common Market with the usual casual brews and CL crossword, then it was on to EB's (Elizabeth Billiards, for those of you not in the know) where we finally had a chance to get some hard liquor in the birthday girl's tummy. Nothing like a bartender wishing you Happy Birthday while trying to figure out if he'd served you in the past and been burned by a fake ID.

There it was funny to see how years of drinking and thousands of cigarettes can turn the hot blonde with a pretty smile into something far less desirable. Good times were still had between pool and darts but a middle-aged guy doing a Ross Perot impression like it was 1992 was pretty much everyone's cue to make the trek across the parking lot to Cafe Central.

Now this was more our group's speed (and age).

The music was cool enough, but the drinks were cheap, and most importantly, the kitchen was open after midnight, meaning we could teach birthday girl an important lesson: always keep food on your stomach, preferably something bready or greasy, to soak up the liquor.

Like a trooper, she was still standing when we declared like Swingers this party was dead, which it wasn't, and moved on to the night cap — a house party, which meant the drinks weren't well mixed and the liquor was a heavy-handed. While this was my type of party, for the novice alcoholic, it was too much. I don't think she can tell you too much about this party after arriving there, and for the sake of the Constitution, I'll plead the 5th.

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