Monday, November 23, 2015

Epic birthday anniversary

"He's 21 and he has a beer on his head," bellowed Tim Penning (right).
I WAS GOING to write a sappy missive about birthdays and age being a state of mind. But I just remembered today is not just a birthday - it's the 30th anniversary of an epic event.

Let's face it - you remember turning 21, or you don't remember, because it's a big deal. Thirty years ago I was a sophomore at Central Michigan University, and turning 21 was important because my two roommates were 21 or older, and now I "legally" could join the fun.

I did more partying in one year at Calvin College in Grand Rapids than I did in three years at CMU, but that's more about environment and state of mind. We didn't let minor inconveniences like the legal drinking age screw up a good time. Right. Still, turning 21 meant you were an adult. HAHAHAHAHA. Gosh, I love a good birthday morning laugh.

All I wanted for my 21st birthday was my Gilligan hat.
Anyway, I'm trying to recall the events of Nov. 23, 1985, which have been softened and blurred by time. And a lot of cheap beer. We had a gathering in our apartment and I believe there was a keg involved. Some of my buddies came up from Grand Rapids, and toward the end of the night there were stolen shopping kart races, I think. My high school buddy Mark Hendricks must have been there because I remember trying to watch the hockey game on our CBC feed, in the midst of blaring music and general chaos.

Tim (left) and Marty drop the ball. Marty is drinking apple juice.
But the best part was the night before. As the clock ticked toward midnight and me officially coming of (legal) age, my roommates took me out for my first legal beer. Tim Penning and Marty Horjus were proud to usher me into official debauchery. We went to the Cabin, which was just down the street from our apartment. I peeled the label off the beer and kept it in my wallet for a long time.

You don't forget about stuff like that. Thirty years? Really?

Really. And I'm still smiling when remembering.

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