One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer… Not!

Well, as of 18:15 Eastern Standard Time on January 5, 2009, I have completed 18 trips around the star affectionately known as Sol.

I am legally an adult!  Yea!

However, my dad said that mentally I am about 34 years old. Or did he mean 3-4 years old.  I’m not sure.  Anyway, let’s look at some of the things I can legally do now that I am 18 (Note: some of these only apply to the state of New Jersey):

  • Vote (most important thing)
  • Clubbing!!!
  • Buy porn
  • Date someone older then 18
  • Buy cigarettes and other tobacco products in certain states.
  • Sign my life over to the U.S. military
  • Buy and register a firearm (For the exception of handguns, I have to be 21 for those. But who needs a hand gun when you could buy a shotgun?)
  • Operate heavy machinery
  • Fly and/or fix a helicopter
  • Work on high steel construction
  • Drive out of state and past midnight. (in NJ you get a “Cinderella” license at 17 which only permits you to drive between 12am and 5am. One of the only laws that I have ever broken more then once.)
  • I can now buy paint at Wal-Mart. Because when I was 17 they were afraid that I would sniff the paint.
  • I can get married and sign other legally binding documents. (This is never going to happen. Ever.)
  • Start a 401k!
  • I can waste my money on a lottery ticket.
  • Even though paintballs are made of vegetable oil and food coloring, I WAS ONCE REFUSED SERVICE AT WAL-MART BECAUSE I WAS UNDER EIGHTEEN! (But I’m not upset about that…) I can now buy paintballs! This is a very good thing.

Now let’s look at the things I still can not do legally.

  • Drink
  • Gamble

Okay, so I can give my life away to my government but I can’t have a drink. I can understand why the drinking age is 21. I mean some of my peers might drink themselves to death if it were legal. And yet 18 is considered old enough to sign a binding contract with the military. Do not get me wrong here, the military is a good way to pay for school and for some kids it’s a good career path. But it is a gamble with your life.

So once more, I am allowed to gamble with my life but not my money, and I can’t have a drink! What’s wrong with this picture?

Question time!

What are your thoughts about the current drinking and enlistment age requirements?

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  1. January 6, 2009 at 10:43 am —

    Drinking got a whole lot better once I could do it legally. I’m not a big fan of the sensations involved in being more than lightly sloshed, and the taste of the swill they offered at parties in high school. . . Ugh.

    When I hit 21, though, I could go around and sample, exploring for drinks which actually tasted good. I could go to Bukowski’s with my classmates from graduate statistical mechanics and relax with a beer after finishing a brutal homework assignment. Having a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout with dinner is vastly preferable to imbibing the urinous liquids they had on offer at those long-ago parties.

  2. Dread Polack
    January 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm —

    Teen Skepchick isn’t going to kick you out like a member of Menudo, just ’cause you’re an adult, are they? 😛 I guess technically, you’re still a “teen” for 2 more years.

    My 18 wasn’t so exciting. I turned 18 just a few days after my senior year started, which was an interesting situation. I was legally an adult, but I was treated like a child for 8 hours a day. I could freely leave if I chose to, but I couldn’t argue with the administration over whether my detention was legitimate or not.

    21 was also pretty boring. I still don’t really drink and have never gambled. Never been to a strip club.

    25 was probably my best birthday ever. My monthly insurance rate dropped from $150 to $50, IIRC. I guess that says a lot about me.

  3. shinrai
    January 6, 2009 at 12:13 pm —

    What he said. 18 was uneventful, 21 was uneventful, but I can’t wait until 25 and the damned insurance premium drops. It’s got nothing to do with your driving habits, it’s got to do with being young – and it’s appreciably worse if you’re male. I’m 23, and I pay literally twice as much as women my age (and I’m paying triple digits for bare minimum coverage).

  4. Dread Polack
    January 6, 2009 at 12:21 pm —

    Tell me about it! Apparently our testicles get in the way! The lowest quote I could get when I was 19 was $350 a month, except for the place my parents had a policy , where it was $250 a month until I was 21.

    Being 29 with a clean record (knock on wood), and a paid-for car has saved me a lot, but I still get angry when I think of what I’ve gotten back for all the thousands of dollars I’ve handed this criminal industry over the years.

  5. kayla_unkempt
    January 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm —

    I know I’m the baby of my school as a freshy but I know seniors who are 17-18 and they’re still just kids. I know some of them who color on their homework/MIDTERMS cuz they think it’s cute – and they’re old enough to VOTE FOR THE PRESIDENT?! But some are more mature and (well-behaved?).

    Not everyone grows up at the same age, so why should 18 be set in stone?? Its because if we waited for everyone to grow up before they got these new priveleges, they never would grow up. Having those rights, I think, is what helps them to grow up. Experiencing new things like driving and drinking (but never at the same time, please!!!) lets them realize how much they can handle, and when they learn that is when they start to grow up.

    Not that I would know this for sure… like I said, I’m still just a baby. : D

  6. January 6, 2009 at 3:31 pm —

    And don’t forget, buy M rated videogames! ^_^

  7. January 6, 2009 at 3:37 pm —

    You know, if you think about it, it is amazing how much we travel around the sun in a lifetime. I mean really, (2*pi*150 million km)*18 is a lot! And we still have around 50 years or more to go.

    Other than that, frankly, turning 18 didn’t feel like a big deal.

  8. January 6, 2009 at 5:09 pm —

    “I can understand why the drinking age is 21.”

    I can’t.

    “I mean some of my peers might drink themselves to death if it were legal.”

    They already are. It’s the #1 cause of teenage hospital admissions, and back when the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21, alcohol poisoning among college-age people increased dramatically. This is what happens with Prohibition.

    Make it legal, and teens in college or out on their own will be able to drink in more responsible environments, such as bars where they cut someone off if they’ve had too much.

  9. MaggieMoo
    January 6, 2009 at 6:57 pm —

    I have to agree with shanek. I had a conversation with one of my teacher about this very subject (I’m 16 just FYI). When he was 18, he left home and traveled around the country doing odd jobs for enough cash to go to college and law school. He even joined the military before he could legally drink! We came to the joint agreement that it would be better if there were places where students 18+ could go after school, drink SAFELY and not get in trouble for it, and have a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, there would be less binge drinking and fewer cases of alcohol poisoning because it wouldn’t be a huge deal to go out for a drink.


  10. January 6, 2009 at 10:50 pm —

    This milestone deserves a birthday singalong!
    Everyone, now!

    “You got a baby’s brain and an old fart’s heart
    Took eighteen years to get this far
    Don’t always know what you talkin’ about
    Feels like you livin in the middle of doubt
    Cause You’re EIGHTEEN!
    Do you get confused every day?
    Do you just don’t know what to say?
    You gotta get away
    Like it, Love it, Like it, Love it!!!!!!!

    Happy Birthday from all of us here at Bennigans!!!

    (“Eighteen” lyrics by Alice Cooper. I totally wish they were mine, though.)

  11. vreify
    January 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm —

    Happy Birthday!

    I also agree that inexperience with drinking is what usually leads to hospitalization and drunk driving. You gotta know where your limits are…and you can only do this if you know what effect alcohol has on your system.

  12. Chew
    January 11, 2009 at 10:29 pm —

    The drinking age in the Navy, if you’re on base, gets lowered to 18 every few years, alcohol abuse skyrockets, then it’s raised back up to the state level, then drug abuse slowly rises, prompting the drinking age to be lowered to 18 again. And so on.

    Responsible drinking should be taught at home. I let my teenage daughters drink at home and when shopping have asked them if they want any beer or booze. More often than not, they say, no, thanks.

  13. Cassie
    January 11, 2009 at 11:02 pm —

    That’s basically how it is in my house. Having parents offer booze kind of makes the idea of going out and partying silly. This is a good thing. I would rather have teens in their own home around trusting adults if they are consuming alcohol.

  14. Chew
    January 11, 2009 at 11:32 pm —

    Reverse psychology, eh? Damn, I’m sneaky. I never thought of that!

    My youngest had a friend over and I was showing them how to make homemade “kahlua”. When it was done, I called out to them, “Come along children. It’s time to get sh!t-faced”. I was immediately elevated to the rank of “cool dad”.

    Wait a minute. You’re posting at 11 at night? Go you bed, young lady. I don’t care if you are an adult now. Get in bed!

    (Can I still keep my cool dad status?)

  15. MaggieMoo
    January 12, 2009 at 8:38 pm —

    @ Chew

    my parents do the same thing, and my sisters and i have the same response. It works!

    On a related topic:
    my friend has parents who really flip about drinking, wouldn’t talk about the drinking that happens in high school, and are super controlling, so they enrolled her in a private school because they thought they would have more control over her school life there. As soon as she got there, she started drinking and using drugs. She is now in public school and has stopped drinking and using. YAY! for the public indoctrination of your children 😀

    moral of the story: Be chill about drinking and TALK to your kids about it. They aren’t stupid.

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