New York, N.Y. – A friend of mine sent out an email last Sunday asking if anyone would like to work the door at one of his bars on St. Patrick’s Day.  I was off Tuesday and decided to take him up on it.  Well, it was a very entertaining, eye opening experience.  I felt, at once, old, amused, and incredibly lucky.  You have to understand that the drinking age was 18 when I was a kid, and that I didn’t have much interest in going to bars until I was legal anyway.  I was 18 before graduating high school and now that the age is 21, it was funny seeing how many ways an underage kid tries to get in a bar.  I never really had to worry about it.  Some of the classics were “I just want to use the bathroom”, “But my friends are all in there” and “I’m from out of town, isn’t the drinking age 18?”  They tried everything, including sneaking by me, sharing licenses, offering various forms of, ahem, “affection” (girls only thank God) and just plain giving me an ID with a 1990 birth date thinking I wouldn’t notice.  Some took the rejection in stride, others pouted, and some damned me to H-E-double hockey sticks.  I saw IDs from Bulgaria, The Ukraine, Costa Rica, Texas, Utah and North Dakota.  Apparently Levittown, NY has the biggest drinking problem in the New York metro area.  Every other license seemed to have Levittown on it.  All in all, getting into a bar was the least of most of these kids’ problems.  First of all, green is just not a good color, fashion-wise.  Face paint adds to the problem.  Another fashion trend I noticed was kind of odd as well.  Some young ladies were wearing jeans and a short dress at the same time.  I’ve seen this before and I just don’t understand it.  I also must have missed the memo because I didn’t realize it was now mandatory for all women under 25 to have a bolt in their tongue and a hook sticking out of their eyeballs.  Now I know smoking and drinking go together, and this cross-section of the population is skewed towards the unhealthy, but I don’t think they’ve gotten the memo that smoking is bad for you.  Sadly, listening to these kids talk did not make me optimistic about the future of the English language in our society either.  Is it really necessary to use the word “like” four times in every sentence?  We have lots of other words.  Now I know I’m getting old, and this is definitely an Andy Rooney type observation, but I remember a time when I’d go to a bar and actually stay in the bar.  Between the cell phones and the cigarettes people spend more time on the sidewalk than on the bar stools.  As the day progressed, a few kids had to be escorted out, but just for going a little too hard too early, and not for fighting.  I was actually worried I’d have to throw down, but there were no such problems and everyone behaved.  The highlight of the evening was The USA squad beating Puerto Rico with three in the ninth.  The bar had a little bit of a lull and it gave me time to peek at the TV for an inning or so.  It really is great seeing Mets, Yankees, and Red Sox living in harmony, at least for now.  They really seem to be enjoying it.  I’ve been very happy with the WBC and I don’t want to hear anyone whining about injuries.  Every other sport has athletes taking time away from their teams to play for their countries and I think it’s great that we’re playing meaningful baseball in March and talking about something other than steroids.  After the game things started to wind down a bit; watching drunken behavior, while sober as a judge, turned out to be quite amusing.  One kid took about an hour and a half to tie his shoes.  Another youngster somehow managed to get himself stuck between two brass rails and practically needed the “Jaws of Life” to get free.  All in all, it was a fun and lucrative day and I never want to do it again… until next year. 

Erin Go Bragh


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