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Turning 21: A Life-Changing Experience

I finally turned 21. Arguably the biggest birthday—nay, day—of my life. I can now legally drink alcohol. It’s truly incredible how things change overnight. I mean for 20 years, 364 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds I was deemed, by the government (who’s never wrong), incapable of consuming alcohol. Boy, oh boy did that extra second make a difference. When the clock struck midnight I suddenly possessed all the necessary skills to consume alcohol healthily and responsibly. It was like Cinderella, in reverse, but better. I mean technically I was born at 1:56 AM, but I’m a risk-taker so I started my alcoholic escapade at midnight. I know, I know—“she’s out of control”.

You might just assume I underage drank, but please, don’t be so ridiculous. What kind of person wants to burn in hell? Of course I didn’t drink underage. I went through D.A.R.E. after all, and how could any kid forget the legitimate life lessons that program taught us?. Sure, when I went through it I was only ten and didn’t even know most of the drugs they taught us about, but that fictional story about 17-year-old Betty (who I could totally relate to as a fifth grader) having a killer hangover scarred me for life.

But now that I’m 21 I won’t be like Betty, right? She wasn’t 21. She couldn’t handle the overwhelming power of alcohol. The very second I turned 21 my body become capable of properly processing alcohol. I mean it’s not like my liver didn’t exist the rest of my life, but only now was it ready for the wonderful gift of alcoholic beverages. Biology truly is miraculous that way.

Not only is the government right about the biological aspects of drinking, but they were absolutely right about not trusting us until we’re 21. They know a third-year college student is the epitome of maturity. We would never go out on a Thursday night or pull all-nighters. We’re adults dammit. And they recognize that if they tell high schoolers and underage college students not to drink they will, because they ride that line between being mature enough to obey the laws without being mature enough to drink. It’s not like they have any interest in enjoying parties and football games after all.

I know the Europeans don’t have the same stringent rules, but do they really seem better off? Why would we want Germany’s stable economy or France’s delicious wine (not that I tasted it before I was 21—need I remind you about the burning in hell)? We elected Donald Trump as our president, so obviously, America knows what it’s doing.

Hypothetically let’s say I did have a drink before I was 21. If I were to commit that heinous crime against my body, the government and God, I’m sure it wouldn’t compare to the feeling of my first legal sip. Legality is key here. Legality makes drinking better. No more burning sensation in your throat and stomach—well, that’s a lie. But now my tolerance is higher—well, not exactly. It tastes better? Nope—pretty much tastes the same. But I won’t have that nasty Betty hangover, correct? Well, I mean I kind of felt like the poop emoji the morning after my 21st.  BUT, still. It’s life-changing turning 21. The government says so.  

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Abby Piper

Notre Dame

Abby is a senior studying English, French and Journalism at the University of Notre Dame but remains obsessed with her hometown St. Louis. She loves running, water skiing, writing, watching Christmas movies all year long and The O.C.'s Seth Cohen.
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