Lately, I’ve been catching a lot of heat for spending too much time and money in various bars, taverns and liquor stores, along with a seemingly complete disregard for my personal health and well-being. Fact: I go out and drink to belligerence on an average of four nights a week. Myth: this means I have a drinking problem. All this really means is I just turned 21 and I have nothing better to do with my time/money. However, I can’t help but heed a few small words of caution when I look down the bar and see my 47 year-old, twice-divorced former high school business teacher, slouching over the bar, drinking a pitcher of Busch Light identical to the several I usually split with my erstwhile compadre Aaron. Likewise, I can’t help to feel a jolt of terror when he says something like, “You remind me of myself 20 years ago.” This is one of those “Oh, fuck” moments, and it left me doing some thinking. How old is too old? This soul searching has given us the following age gauge of some of my favorite things.
Keystone Ice- I have a special place in my heart for this 5.9% ABV beverage. It always seems to heighten my charm and lower my awareness, but I recognize that there has to be a point where it’s no longer appropriate. When you get a job that pays an annual salary rather than by the hour, you have to stop buying Keystone Ice. If you get fired from your salaried position and return to by-the-hour employment, you probably didn’t stop drinking Key Ice, so feel free to enjoy the black-canned menace.
Wednesday Nights at the Jay- This one is tricky because everyone loves cheap drinks and even cheaper underage girls, so it might be hard to tear yourself from the mid-week festivities at everyone’s favorite ghetto tavern. To avoid becoming the strangely awkward, Boulevard drinking dude with the receding hairline follow this guideline: after you graduate, you have one (1) year in which it is still acceptable to go to the Jay on Wednesday night. If you are pursuing post-grad studies in Omaha, this limit is extended to two (2) years. These rules exclude any alumni gathering in which large numbers of your classmates will be in your company. Unless you graduated in, like, 1973. That’s too fucking old and you’re embarrassing your children.
Using a MacBook- I have a MacBook Pro and my dad has an HP. I feel like this is the most striking and comprehensive distinction that can be made between Apple and PCs. It's not that my dad isn't "hip" or that he's "uncool". It's just that he doesn't need a Mac because...well he just doesn't. For some reason, I find it hard to believe that Apple is directing their advertising towards the 45+ set. I really struggled to find a set of concrete parameters to nail down on this one, and I finally boiled it down to what I'm going to call the Reverse Mustache Rule. The Mustache Rule states that you are not allowed to grow a mustache unless you have children or you're a cop. The Reverse Mustache Rule, when applied to MacBooks, stipulates that you are not allowed to buy a MacBook if you have kids. If you're going to blow a wad of cash on something that might make you seem younger, buy a fucking Camaro. It's more practical and it'll get you more bitches than the computer. Trust me.
Shotgunning- My preferred method of beer delivery is trademarked by the sharp punch of a car key on aluminum, the crack of a tab, and a few seconds of glorious slurping. Sounds awful in writing, but it is awesome in application. As much as I love shotgunning, I once had a vision of myself as an old man, gulping Ensure through a car (probably something sensible, nothing flashy) key sized hole at the base of its can. A true nightmare. But when to stop? Follow this rule of thumb: since keys are integral to the process of shotgunning, they are also the yardstick against which propriety is measured. When you take out your keychain to punch the hole, count the keys. If you have five or more keys, don’t shotgun. You clearly have too much responsibility to end up a shirtless, raving drunk lording over the foosball table.
Putting music on the jukebox- There is nothing I hate more than people putting shitty music on the jukebox. The people that do is are either old, tasteless, or dumb, or, in the case of the girl who puts in 5 dollars at a time and never leaves the “Most Played” screen, an old, tasteless dumbass. If I’ve just invested three dollars in a beer-drinking summer soundtrack of Animal Collective, Vampire Weekend, and Lupe Fiasco, I don’t want it to be followed with Nickelback or—for Christ’s sake—“You Shook Me All Night Long”. If you have purchased fewer than thirteen (13) albums in the last year, stay away from the jukebox. Also, if you have bought more than three (3) albums on CD in the last year, leave the tunes to someone else and, uh, buy a fucking computer.
Wearing tank tops- Never. Never, ever, fucking never should anyone wear a tank top.
Wearing your fraternity’s letters- No matter how much you love your brothers and want to cherish the good times you had, wearing your letters in public after graduation is only a few steps away from going back to the house and talking about how things were “in your day”, which is a small jump from showing up invited at recruitment events, which is a small push from thinking its ok to still party with college kids. Before you know it, you’ll be wearing your letters while pumping the keg at your high-school aged kids end of summer rager, in which at least one teenager will drive home drunk and someone will get pregnant in your guest room. DUI’s and bastard children are no joke, people, so keep the hoodie in the fucking scrapbook.