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Another year down the drain
Posted November 18, 2005

Twenty-one years ago yesterday, the world became a much better place. I don’t mean to sound so self-righteous but I really can’t help it. I’m pretty excited about this anniversary.

You see, yesterday I celebrated my final passage into adulthood, if you will. I turned 21.

I have been waiting for my 21st birthday to roll around for years. Ever since I was a little kid, there were two birthdays that I knew were going to be the most important: my 18th and my 21st. Well, I celebrated my 18th. I got the piercings, the tattoos. I bought the lotto tickets. Now, it’s time to celebrate the latter birthdate.

I know what you’re thinking but, my friend, you are wrong. I wasn’t looking forward to this day for the obvious alcohol intoxication reasons.

Finally being able to booze it up legally was the least of my cause for celebration.

I’ve never really been a big boozehound. Sure, every once in a great while I enjoy sipping the occasional Lynchburg Lemonade while socializing, but other than that, I’m not a big fan of alcohol. I’ve had my share of alcohol-related experiences gone awry. I’ve seen fights that have ensued from one person drinking a little too much. I’ve had family members die because of problems caused by alcoholism. I’ve had weddings, birthday parties and family get-togethers ruined because someone had one too many brewskies.

It’s these experiences that have made me decide that I never really want to get too wrapped up in drinking and its associated problems. I’m sure it’s fun and all, but, it’s just not my cup of tea.

Since I wasn’t looking forward to drowning myself in liquor this birthday, you’re probably wondering if there could be another reason for my excitement.

You bet there is.

I was really anticipating the coming of this day because it meant one thing: I could finally attend any and every rock ‘n’ roll show I want to, without any worry of age restrictions. In past years, I have had my share of hassles trying to get into shows that catered specifically to the 21-plus crowd.

I’ve tried it all. Donning the back-up singer status after my friends coerced the bouncer into believing I was in their band. Sneaking into backdoors and inevitably getting thrown out of them. Pretending to be the “merch-girl” while trying to enjoy a show. Yep. It’s been a tough ride. But it’s finally over.

I never even attend shows to get wasted while watching some rock ‘n’ roll.
Honestly, I hate bar shows. I hate getting assaulted by a bunch of booze-guzzling jocks in shorts and skate shoes. I hate having to dance around liquored-up old men and women who decide to get it on in the middle of the dance floor. Although these things have always bothered me, they never really kept me away. But, it still pisses me off whenever I’m told
I’m too young to enjoy some fun rock ‘n’ roll.

But none of those worries really matter anymore. I can finally prance into almost any bar or club I want to without the fear of being kicked out during the first band’s set.

As excited as I am about this wonderful coming-of-age, I have to admit, I’m also a little sad to see it finally come.

Sure, I can go anywhere I please and have all the bubbly that my little liver can handle, but after I turn 21, what else do I really have to look forward to?

Turning 40? Fifty? Nah, those ages don’t sound all that thrilling to me.

I figure this is probably the last time I will actually countdown the days leading up to a birthday. How depressing does that sound? I know all birthdays are a reason for celebration, but seriously, what’s so special about turning 22?

Valerie Rojas, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at skalivornia@hotmail.com.