True Story: An Open Letter To The Three People Who Scrutinized My ID On My 21st Birthday

Dear The Three People Who Scrutinized My ID On My 21st Birthday,

Now, I know I look like I’m 12 years old. But this past Friday I turned 21, and I was disappointed by the various questioning and puzzled looks of confusion I received from each of you.

A rare occurrence, I awoke on the right side of the bed that Friday morning, feeling a full inch taller and a few IQ points higher. I skipped to the bathroom to brush my pearly whites, and whilst admiring my slowing-forming under-eye wrinkles, I was delighted to find 21 gray hairs sitting sprightly along my hairline.

I dressed in my adult best: a chunky brown sweater that engulfs my body, dark blue jeans, worn-down brown boots, and a highly sophisticated necklace from Forever 21, and set out to the local Bronx liquor store to rack up on booze.

Although I had entered this liquor store multiple times with my friends, approaching the counter and actually being able to legally purchase the alcohol was a bit terrifying. Heading straight to the vodka section, I pondered over which size of Grey Goose to purchase. Intending to share it with my friends, including my stuffed bear (a.k.a Bear Bear) who shared the same birthday as mine and was also now legal, I channeled Leslie Gore’s infamous melody, and sang “It’s my birthday, I can buy Grey Goose if I want to, Grey Goose if I want to…” throughout my decision process.

Upon reaching the counter (which was a bit too high) I might add, your face seemed quite puzzled, Liquor Store Lady. My heart racing for no reason, I set my Grey Goose atop the counter and waited for you to ask me for my ID. After handing you my Texas driver’s license with shaky hands, you examined it for a full 30 seconds. When I heard no response from you, I finally had to explain to you that it was my birthday today! I think the whole liquor store heard your exclaimed “OHHHHHHH, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMA!” I appreciated the enthusiasm, but why did it take you so long to accept my ID? I know I was shorter than that counter, but you shouldn’t discriminate based on my stature, you know.

The rest of the day went smoothly, until my birthday dinner with 15 other friends rolled around. I ordered my first Pink Passion Cosmopolitan amongst the never-ending plates of mouthwatering dumplings and spicy pad Thai. You, kind Waiter Man, knew my name before I even got to the restaurant, but still pondered over my ID for a bit too long. Maybe you were trying to make me nervous about my big day? Or maybe you got confused about the fact that I go by my middle name? Either way, my customized birthday menu clearly stated “Daley’s 21st Birthday Dinner,” so you must have been pulling my leg, right?

Kind Waiter Man was the most polite regarding my underage appearance, but you, Mr. Bouncer, weren’t buying it. Even though I have entered your bar an innumerable amount of times, you looked at my ID, would not give me a bright orange wristband, and charged me $10 because I was “underage.” Of course, I wasn’t going to have this on my birthday, so I showed you my ID again, being careful to point out the upraised and important message in all red, saying “UNDER 21 UNTIL 11/02/2012.” You said, “those numbers look fake,” and I let out a gasp! I argued with you for a couple of minutes in my tipsy Cosmopolitan wooziness, and after losing our bar brawl, you let me through for free, wristband wrapped tightly around my flimsy arm, soon realizing that it would be idiotic of me to hand you a vertical fake ID that boldly warned against my underaged-ness until this momentous day.

While I understand it is all of y’alls duty to check IDs, must you scrutinize it so immensely on the biggest day ever? I don’t look forward to being questioned by many more in the next 10 years, and now live in fear of my real ID being taken away for good!


A Tweeny-Looking 21-Year-Old

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