The woes of only being 20 years old

Amber North

This summer something happened to me that changed my life. On June 30, 2004, I was no longer a teenager. I turned 20.

But as I’ve learned many times during this three-month vacation, being 20 is not good enough. Being 20 is just a waste age, just one year away from when it “really counts” to be a non-teenager.

What’s up with that? I don’t understand this stupid law, and to be more frank, I simply hate it.

I went to several night clubs this summer, and after the age-Nazis checked my I.D., they whipped out the big black magic marker and wrote a big “X” on both hands as if I was being punished for being under 21. They even put me on a scaffold. OK, so they didn’t, but they might as well have.

But I’m allowed to go up to a local Wal-Mart and buy me a gun. And what do our young men get on their 18th birthdays? A free ticket to enter the draft and the opportunity to go blow up random countries and their civilians! Woohoo! But shame on you under-21 evildoers if you dare open up a can of Bud Light.

I’m sorry, but did I miss something here? I thought that once you turn 18 you’re a “legal adult.” I, as well as other young adults the age of 18-20, were duped into believing that we were actually old enough to be on our own. I might as well ask my mommy to sign my permission slip to go out at night

What is the number 21, anyway? Is it some sort of code that we don’t know about? Once you turn 21, does it make you a better person?

When my birthday came, people were asking me, “So, how does it feel to be 20?” Well, for those who are 18 or 19, I’ll give you a rundown of how it feels.

Along with the jackhole bouncers marking your hands to let the whole world know you’re not 21, you also get the shorthand to go into cooler places.

Say there’s a live show at this cute little bar, and you really dig this particular musician. You’re thinking, “Yay, not only do I get to see this person, but it only costs $10 to do so!”

So you and your other under-21 buddies are all spiffed up to go see this cat play. But wait. Something’s missing. Oh, yeah – a couple of years on your license. It’s a 21+ venue, and even though you’re not interested in drinking alcohol and just want to see the show, they will think you’re bound to be some rowdy minor who wants to be rebellious and drink underage.

Also be sure to have extra cash on hand if you plan on going to an 18+ night club. Everywhere I went, I was charged more than my 21-year-old friend I always went with. He only had to pay $5 to get in, while I had to chuck up an extra five bucks just because I wasn’t “of age.”

I guess since the 21-year-old will be spending all of his or her money on $5-$10 alcoholic beverages, it’d be fair to charge them less than the minor, who will not be spending money on drinks. Yeah, I get it now. Then again, no I don’t.

Now I’ll wait until next summer when I can actually go to the 21-and-up places. But by then I’d be too pissed off at the fact that I had to wait another year to even care.

Amber North is a junior print journalism major from Nashville.

The opinions expressed in this commentary do not represent the opinions of the Herald or the university.