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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

It’s less fun if you’re 21

Published: April 27, 2007
Section: Opinions

If you havent done it yourself, you probably know someone who has. It usually happens around 6 or 7 on a Friday or Saturday night. Its all about finding the right man or woman, wearing your hair a certain way, or putting on an over-sized sweatshirt and hat to obscure your appearance. No, this isnt the witness relocation program, its the plans hatched by the underage community to try and secure alcohol.

When these plans are put into action, theres a general feeling of anticipation and excitement. You're not Jerry Phillips, youve never set foot in Nebraska, let alone on 43 Redspring Road in Barada. Your birthday isnt anywhere near June 17th, but for the next five minutes you do the acting job of your life. If it all goes according to plan, you meet your friends in the car with the cargo and the feeling that you just pulled of an Oceans Eleven-caliber heist.

The beverage that you get is also more than just liquid in a cup. Its a product of your connections or ingenuity, and a status symbol. You found a way to maneuver around the law, you found a way to rebel. Because of your age, transporting the cargo and enjoying it in your room or any other location is also a risky endeavor. By the time you unscrew the cap, uncork the bottle, or simply pop the top, you have certainly earned it.

Parties provide a less-labor intensive alternative to achieve the same end. However, this avenue isnt without its drawbacks. Whats being served is usually bottom shelf (literally) and in very short supply. If its an on campus beer garden the quality is usually a little better but the supply the same. If you're not yet legal but have a thirst that needs to be quenched, the off-campus party can almost deliver.

Then the big day comes, you become 21. Those who are really ambitious go out that night to a bar at 12:01 am with older friends and order a drink. Others order their first legal beverage at a restaurant the following weekend, and at some point theres usually a celebration where everyone has a few drinks to mark the big occasion. After the novelty wears off, you realize that alcohol has just become a little less fun. You can buy anything from the liquor store anytime you want, with the absolute certainty that the ID with your information on it is going to pass. And when you get it home, you find that it has lost the taste of the forbidden fruit. What you hold in your hand is a beer, and nothing more.

The days of uncertainty of supply and stockpiling are over. The wild and fun times you enjoyed as a freshman and sophomore are replaced by trying to figure out what youre going to do after you leave Brandeis. All of this sinks in after you turn 21, an arbitrary date that marks the midpoint of college. So for everyone out there under 21, enjoy it. In a few short years, youll be faced with some big decisions and fondly look back at a time when one of your biggest problems was memorizing facts off a bogus ID and trying to buy booze.