Mind erasers and aspirin – a 21st birthday I won’t soon remember

Tim Paluch

I found something out about myself this past weekend. It turns out I suffer from an ailment where, if I have a half-dozen or so beers, eight or nine shots and a couple of mixed drinks in an hour and a half, I repeat everything over and over and sleep until three the following day.

I’m not alone. The affliction actually affects most, if not all college students, though some may be unaware of it.

You see, I turned 21 Saturday. And in case you don’t know, this is the magical age when you not only are able to rent a car, you also can legally drink (although I wouldn’t recommend doing both at the same time).

There are a lot of traditions that come with turning 21.

Well, actually there is only one – having your “friends” get you annihilated at the bars.

I found out last weekend we live in a sick and twisted society that likes to see people suffer on their 21st birthday.

All week, everyone (co-workers, friends, random people) told me I was going to get so drunk I’d throw up this weekend.

What kind of a thing is that to say to someone? It was like they were wishing the flu on me. If I wanted to throw up, I’d down a bottle of Crisco.

Over and over I heard “Oh yea, you’re gonna barf,” and “Timmy’s gonna die.”

Ingrained in our culture is this sensation of physically hurting your friends on their 21st birthday.

Take for instance a conversation between two “friends” of mine late last week:

So-called friend No. 1: “Uh-oh, Tim’s turning 21 tonight. Let’s get him trashed.”

So-called friend No. 2: “Yea, dude. We’ll feed him shots until he can’t walk.”

So-called friend No. 1: “Hopefully he’ll make a fool out of himself, vomit and forget everything in the morning.”

So-called friend No. 1: “Dude, we are such good friends. Maybe he’ll have to get his stomach pumped.”

So-called friend No. 2: “He, he. That’d be pretty sweet, dude.”

So-called friend No. 1: “Dude.”

Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t see the fascination with trying to get a 5-foot-9, 150 pound 21-year-old drink themselves sick.

I kept hearing how great the bars were, how much fun I was going to have there Friday night.

Sure, it was a good time. But I’ll have an even better time the next time I go there, when people aren’t buying me drinks that could take the paint off your house.

Take for instance a certain drink a friend of mine bought me called a “mind eraser.” Now I’m no expert, but that sounds more like something Mulder and Scully would be in search for than a birthday drink from a buddy of mine (later in the night, I realized how it got its name).

Another thing I noticed was the lack of respect other people have for your body.

On your 21st birthday, “No more for me” or “That’s it, I’m done” roughly translates to “I can still feel my legs, someone make me drink right out of the bottle.”

I used to say we should lower the drinking age to 18. After all, I thought, you could go to war and die for your country, but you can’t come home and have a cold beer?

Now that I’m 21 and have experienced various “birthday shots” and headache medicines, however, I don’t think that anymore. I guess I finally realized something – drinking makes you stupid. Now I know that might come as a shock to a lot of you, but allow me to explain myself.

Alcohol gets you drunk.

Drunk people are obscenely idiotic. If you don’t believe me, check the police blotter and count the number of public intoxications or public urinations on any given weekend.

Therefore, by the distributive formula of mathematics, alcohol makes you stupid.

And yet, for some reason, millions of (un)lucky twenty-year-olds anticipate the big day when they can make fools of themselves in front of dozens of onlookers, all for the amusement of their sick and desensitized friends.

Turning 21 is different than other birthdays. People take their newfound abilities a little too far.

It’s like turning 16 and driving head-on into a moving train. You don’t see much of that happening.

But there I was Saturday, stumbling out of bed at three in the afternoon still feeling the effects of mind erasers and an evil pirate named Captain Morgan after a night of abusing my body like I was an 80s frontman.

My weekend excursion into the depths of absolute drunkenness is over, and I doubt I’ll ever put my body through anything like that again. I am still 21, however. So pass me a Miller High Life Light, if you don’t mind.

Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Orland Park, Ill. He is opinion editor of the Daily. And no, in case you were wondering, he didn’t vomit.