>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
May 2, 2004

About a month ago I celebrated my 21st birthday. It fell on the last Sunday of Spring Break, when everyone was back on campus, but most of the bars downtown were closed. It's times like these when I think God hates me. So I celebrated it Saturday night at midnight with anyone on campus I knew and was willing to take my ass downtown to celebrate. Luckily, I had a great crew take me out, except for one person that kept buying drinks for older women. Causing me to wonder when this Mom complex is ever going to die in our generation.

Probably the greatest tradition of your 21st night (in addition to getting a free shot at every bar you go to) is displaying your legitimate ID to every bouncer you come across, waving it in their faces obnoxiously while screaming, spitting, and slurring that you're 21. Which is completely acceptable behavior unless the bouncers have gotten to know you as a regular by the fake you've been using for the past two years and are so pissed at your deception that they kick you out anyway. Actually I've seen it happen. The drunken tantrum the guy threw was the highlight, but only because he flung himself into the wall and cracked his head open like a piñata. (No, he didn't die.)

It's a guarantee that you're going to pass out, puke, pass out, and then puke all while you're passed out on your 21st. It will be memorable, but only because you won't be able to remember it. That's why you have to be choosy who takes you out, because you're going to have to relive this night for at least a month afterwards. I have no recollection of getting home, but witnesses say that a guy with a fireman's physique carried me home by throwing me over his shoulder with my party entourage trying to keep me conscious. Now I'm definitely not advocating binge drinking, because it hurts not being able to remember this elusive fireman.

The morning after is always cruel on your ego. You can wake up covered in sweat and buckets of vomit at your bedside and yet manage to tell your roommate when she emerges from slumber, “Wow you puked last night. How much did we have to drink?” Then she'll look at you and say, “No honey you puked. You puked after you ran off to pee last night at the bar and we found you sitting on the bathroom floor chilling and singing show tunes. We were worried about you for a while because you just hunched over the toilet still singing so when we got you to stand up and walk you puked everywhere. The janitors are still cleaning up your birthday dinner that's spread out all over the bathroom so just hang low for a while. There were chunks of steak everywhere, but no worries eventually we're pretty sure that it was just straight Captain.” How does it feel to be 21? I'll let you know when my liver has decided to reattach itself.

This is also the morning when you have the greatest potential to wake up in the hospital, but at least this time, unlike the last four, you can tell Nurse Carol (who at this point you've gotten to know on a first name basis) that there's no need to call the authorities today. No, no, no, no. This time you got your stomach pumped on your own legal accord.

After you turn 21 the first month is the greatest. All academic progress comes to a complete standstill because you've found a reason to go out for drinks every nightduring the week. For one month it's the sweet taste of freedom with no more nervous feelings in the pit of your stomach, no more hunting down friends who are 21, no more underage drinking tickets, and eventually, no more money. And you won't realize the last part until you're closing your tab one night and you realize that credit cards have limits. And so it's back to bumming off cheap beers and only going downtown for Wednesday night $1 rail drinks. So now you're legal and cheap. Unless you're a chick, in which case there's no reason for you to ever buy your own drinks again.

But what do you do about those buddies of yours who aren't 21 yet? Now that you're legal, do you want to risk being seen with these underagers? ‘Cause if they get caught you're not pulling a snatch-and-run anymore. Tune in next week because the month of May will be all about what college students do best—alcohol consumption.


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