Monday, March 28, 2022

Turning 21

I turned 21 on April 6, 1989. I have very few memories of this day but I know that I was a junior in college, and that I definitely had dinner at Holmes and Watson in downtown Troy. My favorite meal there was a patty melt with french fries. Of course, now that I was 21, I would be able to wash it down with a nice cold beer.

Holmes and Watson had a feature where you could start a World Tour of Beers. You would ask the bartender for a World Tour card, which was a long rectangular card listing all the beers available on tap and bottle. The bartender put your name on the card, and your Tour began. You had one calendar year to drink 50 beers off the card (there were up to 80 beers from many countries). I knew people who completed multiple Tours and I aspired to be like them.

The Tour cards were stored in a wooden box with dividers for letters, and people who were serious about the Tour would fish their card out when they entered the restaurant. After you ordered a beer off the card, the bartender would punch a hole next to that beer's listing on the card.  Finishing the Tour rewards you with a tee-shirt, a mug and a hat. I'm proud that I finished my Tour before the year ended.

I'm pretty certain that I would have had this 21st birthday dinner with Dean Kehoe, a classmate from Massachusetts who indulged my humor and my poor attitude towards school at that time. I relished the opportunity to drink legally, and he and I were regulars at Sutters, a nearby bar that was famous for Thursday night wings, a loud juke box, and cheap beer by the pitcher.

Turning 21 is supposed to be the start of adulthood, but I admit that I had a rocky start. I was unhappy in school, and I wanted to tranquilize my anxious state. I wanted to make changes. I wanted to start over. I felt a lot of pressure, but when I look back, it was all self-imposed and self-inflicted. It took a while to gain my bearings and to take the reigns of my adult life.

There's a lot the 53-year old me would have told the 21-year old me. I'm not certain I would have listened back then, but I'm listening now.

Me in college


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