Last Sunday I was â€“â€“ as the great poet Britney Spears once said â€“â€“ not a girl, but not yet a woman.
Last Sunday, I turned 21.
While my lips had touched the olâ€™ devilâ€™s elixir before* â€“â€“ beginning when I was a baby and my dad would pour a few sips worth of beer in my bottle to help me sleep (an old Irish trick) â€“â€“ I always just felt like a kid pretending to be an adult.
Everything changed, however, the moment the clock struck midnight and I took my fist steps into a bar that I, and all drunks over the age of 50, will hold dear to my heart: Match-Ups Pool Hall.
Sure, a Google Review of Match-Ups reads, â€œHa ha ha, this place is a sleazy coke den for middle aged men and middle aged biker chicks. Trashiest bar in Fort Collins. Seriously, I cannot think of a place that is on this level of trashiness in FTC. Warm beer as well.â€
Whoever wrote that must not have tried the barâ€™s famous â€œ$1 Chips and Candy.â€
My judgment may have been hazed for obvious reasons, but all I know is, Match-Ups is exactly where I pictured my fist legal drink to be. â€œTrashyâ€? Maybe. But it was full of character, as all good things should be.
Besides me and a few friends, the only other people sitting at the bar counter were a wonderfully wasted middle-aged couple by the names of Connie and Chris.
After wishing me a â€œHappy Birthday, baby,â€ Connie bought me a shot of her favorite drink, and the one drink I despise: GoldschlÃ¤ger.
But if thereâ€™s one thing I know, you never pass up cinnamon schnapps from an older woman who calls you â€œbaby.â€
From there, the night flowed into a raucous daze that involved the following:
I spoke with a 50-something Mayan man named Ephriam (whom I believed when he told me wrote the original Mayan calendar) about the impending end of the world on Dec. 21. Apparently no, the world wonâ€™t end â€“â€“ there will just be an â€œextreme environmental shift.â€ Thank you for the wisdom, Ephriam.
Ephriam kissed a female Collegian editor on the lips after asking, â€œDoes your red-headed friend knoooow how beautiful she is?â€ She does now, Ephriam.
I confessed my undying love for the bear statue in Old Town Square.
Sunday was the type of night that, while a lot of fun, should only really happen at one point in life: your 21st birthday.
I mean, thereâ€™s a reason that Iâ€™ve been greeted all week, â€œHow yaâ€™ feelinâ€™, champ,â€ and â€œIâ€™m glad to see youâ€™re alive.â€ In college, â€œ21st birthdayâ€ equates with free birthday shots, forgetting your friendsâ€™ names, confessing your love for corn dogs AND bear statues and ultimately, forgetting most of it thanks to the cruel, cruel temptress of a cocktail, the â€œAdios, MotherF*****.â€
Binge drinking, of course, is a habit that should never be maintained. But just maybe itâ€™s needed on our 21st birthday as a sort of final slap on the face. A painful slap that takes you out of the hazy, Burnettâ€™s-filled world of house parties and into the much more socially acceptable world of public, legal drinking.
After all, alcohol shouldnâ€™t be something that causes us to â€œblack outâ€ or forget our troubles. It should be something that, in moderation, heightens laughter, makes conversation a little more genuine and hopefully, lets us really connect with the people around us.
Of course, Iâ€™m not saying alcohol is needed for a fun night out. Corn dogs could get the job done pretty well, too.
*I of course only drank underage in countries where it was legal, Mom and Dad…
Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. Her column usually appears Tuesdays in the Collegian but she was still recovering from her 21st . She can be reached at email@example.com.