21, here I come


Like most people my age, I realize I am statistically likely to die this week. According to the U.S. Bureau of Questionable Statistics, 55 percent of 20-year-olds fear drowning themselves on their 21st birthday, while 76 percent actually do drown themselves. Yes, I am on the verge of becoming just another statistic, as I turn 21 Wednesday.

For the average American college student, this final rite of passage into adulthood can mean a number of fun and diverse things, such as eliminating all those unwanted excess brain cells, losing complex skills like walking and completing a sentence, obtaining a renewed fascination with toilets, depleting one’s credit card by buying drinks for anything that moves or makes noise, feeling suddenly less inhibited to remove one’s clothes in public, annihilating one’s liver, puking all over … well … everything and even waking up in prison the next day. My 21st could very well involve all this and more, but here is how I envision the night playing out:

I roll into Coupe’s with my usual weekend posse of anywhere between 10 and 35 of the finest babes on Grounds. I take a seat at the bar, and the bartender says, “What can I get you? Pepsi? Sprite? A juice-box perhaps?”

The ladies giggle and begin to caress me sympathetically.

“Watch the hair,” I warn them. To the bartender I cockily reply, “How ‘bout a Heineken?”

“Ha! Right, kid, lemme see some ID first.”

“You asked for it,” I say as I bask in the single greatest moment of my entire life and slide him my all-access pass to the Legendary Land of Legal Imbibing. The card is glowing.

“Why the hell is it glowing?” he asks.

“Oh, I think some guy peed on it,” I say. He stares at me for several seconds.

“Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense.”

“Oh never mind, just look at it for God’s sake!” I hotly reply.

After reading the card for but a brief second, he quickly jerks his head up and gives me a look of surprise.

“Nick Eilerson?” he asks in wonder. “The columnist?”

I roll my eyes and nod.

“Free drinks for everybody!” he proclaims.

After emptying the bar’s alcohol supply, we stumble over to the hottest club in town, where the bouncer starts giving me lip.

“Where do you think you’re going, chump?” he asks.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I reply, unable to contain my sly smile as I prepare to one-up him with something unbelievably clever. “How about … inside?”

I hand him the ID, and like the bartender, his eyes immediately widen as he jerks his head up in surprise.

“Nick Eilerson? The infamous Afghani warmonger?”

“Um, no, actually I’m the columnist. Hey, what are you doing?”

He throws me headfirst into the bushes across the street. I wake up the next day on some old lady’s porch, soaking in a pool of my own urine and missing several key clothing items including pants, underwear and a shirt.

Okay, I admit this sequence of events is a bit far-fetched. In all seriousness, I just can’t wait to try my first beer. Where this historic first is to take place, I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll drop by one of those “frat parties” I keep hearing about, where only adults 21 years old and older can get past the fiercely strict and eternally unbiased gate guards. There I could finally participate in all those wacky shenanigans I keep hearing about such as playing alternative versions of ping-pong or dancing politely with well-mannered and fully-clothed ladies.

Or maybe I’ll simply go to a bar on the Corner and drink one, being sure to consume it oh-so-slowly so as to prevent a belly ache and allow for proper digestion. Who knows, maybe it will be so tasty I’ll have to drink another!

This birthday will be especially glorious for me because I will be the first of all my second-year friends to hit the big 2-1. No surprises there, since, according to several sources, I am the oldest second-year college student in recorded human history. Some sources, such as the aforementioned bureau, even have me listed as the oldest person in America. This is great because it means my phone will be inundated with daily text messages from my younger friends demanding that I go buy beer for them. Finally, this long-awaited day will elevate me from a mere college kid with few responsibilities to a potential beer-retrieving tool manipulated by greedy minors.

Yikes, somebody toss me a juice-box.

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