Saturday, December 31, 2011

My 21st Birthday

A young man I work with is turning 21 on New Years Day, 2012, and so of course he is looking forward to his first legal drink as an "adult". This occasion got me thinking of my own 21st birthday, many years ago.

That landmark event occurred on a weeknight, I forget which one exactly, while I was in college at the University of Maine in Orono. Pat's Pizza was, and still is, a landmark in Orono (and now franchised in other Maine locales as well) so naturally that is where I headed to enjoy my first beer as a 21-year old. The bar was pretty much deserted when I arrived and the bar-tender brought me my beer without delay as he knew me from numerous previous, albeit illegal, visits.

No sooner had I settled back to celebrate my adulthood when two liquor inspectors, the bane of underage drinkers everywhere, came through the door and made a bee-line for my table. On any occasion previous to this night, I would have been mortified by this development, but happily I was in possession of a newly issued State of Maine ID which attested to my status as a full-fledged adult, entitled to all of the privileges thereto including the right to buy and consume alcoholic beverages. The Inspectors seemed mildly surprised when I produced valid authentication of the legality of my alcohol consumption, but they were polite and left the premises immediately after returning my ID (there being nobody else in the joint to hassle).

The bartender, having observed this drama from his vantage point only a short distance away, hurried over to my table and asked what I had produced for ID, since he had never asked for any on that or any of my numerous previous visits. When I showed him my State ID his relief was palpable, as he obviously thought I was drinking on a fake ID.

Never has a beer tasted as good or been as satisfying as that one at Pat's Pizza on 11/22/1967 did. So happy birthday, Nate. I hope your first legal drink, as you celebrate the New Year no less, is as memorable as mine was.

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