Friday, August 20, 2010

Underage Consumption: Epic Fail

If you’ve been reading my entries thus far, you may recall my story of teenage hottie overload in my early high school years. You should also know of my brush with the law from my bike cop arrest story. It’s very strange, but as I think back on my life to the craziest and strangest stories, this era remains the richest resource of all. So I have decided to mine the crap out of this resource and put the resulting pieces of nostalgic comic gold here in this blog. For free. You’re welcome.

In case you didn’t know, I was a pretty well-behaved kid. For clarification, by “well-behaved” I mean that I was law abiding (except for bike laws) insofar as the big things were concerned. As I am the oldest child in my family and the only girl, my parents were perhaps a bit more cautious and strict than was necessary, but I rarely rebelled. Had I known what my brothers were to get away with in the coming years, I might have pushed a little harder on the rules. But knowing my personality, I can’t say for sure that I would have.

By no means do I wish to claim that I was a perfect angel to deal with in my teenage years (or any years for that matter). My parents and brothers could certainly tell stories of my bratty angst-riddled outbursts and occasional lack of logic or compassion. However, aside from my hormone-driven home dramas, I appeared to society to be a “good girl.”

Lucky for me, most of my close friends were just like me. We were all good students, participated in extra-curricular activities, followed curfew and returned library books on time. We were, of course, completely oblivious to any illegal activities going on around us, such as drinking, smoking, kissing and drugs. It actually was not until years out of high school when I learned just HOW oblivious we were. But that’s not the point here.

Let’s just say that had we showed up at any of the underground underage drinking parties, our classmates would have gone into shock. Even though we were not a part of the party scene for most of high school, we all knew that it was there. I think we even were mildly fascinated by it and a little curious about it.

The city of Willmar is not large, and in many ways was a very traditional American place. Parents in the community were aware of the teenage party “issue” and came up with what they considered to be “creative” ways to combat this problem. One way was to provide school sponsored parties as an alternative.

In Minnesota, particularly in more rural areas such as Willmar, peak party season is at the end of the school year and branches into summer. It’s likely due to the coinciding factors of impending freedom from summer break and the warmer weather that opens up a greater number of hidden party venues unavailable when the land is covered by several feet of snow and ice. Plus, the last week of school is always a slack time.

Obviously, the last day of school combined with graduation is cause for celebration. I believe it was common for high school students, especially graduating seniors to have big blow-out parties around this time, usually with alcohol. I can’t say for sure, because I never attended one of these gatherings, but I’ve heard plenty of stories over the years. Actually, I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss much since they seem to devolve into fights, name-calling and bad memories, but whatever.

At the end of my freshman year of high school, the school announced that they would be hosting a party at the football field to celebrate the end of the year. There would be refreshments and it would be a chance to mingle with people before you said your summer good-byes. For us, it would be our last chance to see our favorite hot seniors in one place forever.

As I recall, we were all super psyched about this party. It was being held in town at the football field, and my friend Jill’s house was the closest location to hang out before the action started. For some reason, Jill’s parents were not home during our pre-party gathering. Obviously, given the fact that we were 15 years old and were well-established rule abiders, I’m sure they weren’t too worried.

We sat around in Jill’s kitchen just chatting. I’m not sure what we were discussing, but I’m sure it had something to do with boys. Now, I’m not entirely positive about how our conversation turned to the subject of alcohol, nor do I know how it was brought up that Jill’s parents had wine coolers in the basement, but somehow this all happened. It’s possible that there was a dare somewhere in here, but I’m not sure if I could say this for a fact.

All I do know is that Jill went and brought up one of the wine coolers from the basement. My friend Liza and I were apparently the bravest and most rebellious members of our group (later to be proven true by our bike offense incarceration), because we each took one sip from the bottle.

I wish I could describe the sense of excitement, fear and adrenaline that was in the air as this happened, but I cannot. It was crazy. After our two sips, we started to freak out a little bit. After all, we had just participated in underage drinking! As we had no intention of consuming the entire bottle and none of our friends wanted to try it, we were faced with the dilemma of hiding the evidence. We could have just dumped out the rest of the wine cooler and threw away/hid the bottle. But then her parents might notice that they only had five left instead of six.

Our brilliant solution was to add a little water to the bottle and attempt to re-attach the lid. We put the bottle back and took off for the party. I remember sitting in the grass with my friends, feeling that I was pretty freaking awesome and that Liza and I had just been established as the most bad-ass members of our group. (Of course, I wouldn’t have used the phrase “bad-ass” back then because it is a swear word.)

I think I even went so far as to say that I thought I felt “a little woozy.” Of course, I also said this phrase to my mother after having my thimble of first communion wine in 5th grade, so I obviously knew what I was talking about.

For about a week, I kept expecting my parents to get a call from Jill’s mom or dad telling them that I was a delinquent, but nothing happened. In fact, nothing EVER happened. It has simply become a story that occasionally comes up between me and my friends as an example of how completely and ridiculously naïve we were about everything.

The whole story is even more stupid because it involved a wine cooler. I realize that to someone who is unaccustomed to the taste of alcoholic beverages that a wine cooler holds great appeal, as does Boone’s Farm “wine.” However, now that I am completely of legal drinking age and can afford to be more discerning about my beverage choices, I NEVER have picked up a pack of strawberry flavored wine coolers. Despite the fact that my friends are still fans of fruity “foo-foo” drinks themselves, they shockingly do not purchase them either.

After this brief venture into underage consumption, I can safely say that I never drank again in high school. Am I proud of this fact? Sure. Did I have to fight off a lot of temptation? Not really. So I guess I didn’t overcome any great odds or withstand a ton of peer pressure to abstain, and I therefore do not know if I deserve any congratulations for this accomplishment. Perhaps it will lose me my nomination for “Biggest Square” of the Class of ’98, but it certainly will not qualify me for the title of “Most Bad-Ass” either. I guess you can’t have everything.

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