Hey Billy, pass me a cold one!

April 4, 2008

Question: How old do you have to be before you can legally drive a car?

Answer: 16 years old in most states, although there is some variation.

Dangers involved: Numerous, probably too many to list. Driving is one of the most dangerous activities that most of us engage in on a regular basis. Severe injury and death are certainly possibilities.

Question: How old do you have to be to enlist in the U.S. military?

Answer: 17 years old (with parental consent), 18 years old otherwise.

Dangers involved: Quite a few, but not nearly as many as driving… If, by chance, you actually see combat you could be severely injured or die. Heck, I suppose you could even be injured or die outside of combat, considering the general nature of this line of work.

Question: How old do you have to be to purchase cigarettes?

Answer: 18 years old.

Dangers involved: Lung cancer, emphysema, burns, other types of cancer, death (long term).

Ok, so what is the point, you ask? While watching the idiot-box last night, I happened upon a show that followed the daily activities of police officers working in spring break hot-spots. I was surprised to see that their job basically consisted of going from one party to another looking for underage drinkers, and it got me to thinkin’…

I am not going to re-hash the cliche argument that goes along the lines of “if I am old enough to be drafted or take a bullet for the country, why the hell can’t I enjoy a beer?”…

But seriously, if someone is old enough to take a bullet for their country, why the hell can’t they enjoy a beer?

I am sure that some “Mother Against Drunk Driving” is going to read this and come back with a million reasons detailing the dangers of under-age alcohol consumption… but is it more dangerous than walking onto a battlefield? Better yet, is it more dangerous than driving a car or smoking? But again, the MADD person will probably say that smoking doesn’t put others at risk to the same extent as drinking…

You can get a CDL and drive a semi-truck in most states at the age of 18 (not in Ohio, my state of residence, unless you are going to drive ONLY in Ohio). Read that again: the guy driving the semi-truck next to your compact car may be 18 years old. Why is this ok? Because he has passed a course and been “licensed” by the state to do so (and more importantly, he has paid the price of a CDL to the BMV). This made me think…

One great way to fund alcohol rehabilitation programs would be by “licensing” people to drink at the age of 18… Basically, the 18 year old pays some cash, takes a few courses on the dangers of drinking and how to drink responsibly, and is then “licensed” to drink at 18 years of age. The proceeds from the licensing fees could then be used to pay for alcohol rehab programs, clinics, etc…

Would the government actually do this? Heck no! Why? Because it would make too much sense (and be costly… think of all the lost revenue in bail money for the 19 year old who just got caught getting blitzed following finals week).

Much as we are trying to “medicalize” everything into a medical condition, we are on the road to criminalizing everything as well…

Seriously, I would like someone to explain to me why a 19 year old can’t legally drink… Is it because they are too immature to make the right decisions (if so, should we really let them behind the wheel of a car, or arm them with a tank on a battlefield?)?

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What will you do with your $600?

January 24, 2008

Well, the deal of the century has almost been closed. Congress has moved one step closer to giving us back $600 that we gave to them earlier this year. Of course, this is part of the well publicized ’emergency economic stimulus package’ that the geniuses in our government have devised to help fix up our failing economy.

What will you do with your $600? That almost covers a new Playstation 3 plus tax. Or, you could spend it on some new work clothes. I guess it could cover a car payment or two for those of you with an auto loan. Or maybe it would be better spent by going out and getting hammered every night next week… I think that is exactly what Congress has been up to if they think that this will bail us out of this economic disaster that they have caused.

Here is an idea… write to your congressman (or woman) and ask him what exactly he is smoking. $600? That is a smack in the face. I don’t think the economy is hurting because the government over-billed us on our taxes last year by $600.

In any case, feel free to post what you will be spending your $600 on. Heck, if we buy enough PS3’s, maybe the problems in the housing market will disappear.


The Ultimate Status Symbol

January 18, 2008

While visiting my aunt and uncle about a year ago, I was shocked to see my uncle, a very well off, successful man that works for one of the biggest corporations in the world walking around the yard in green sweatpants and a purple t-shirt. At first I could not figure out why a very financially successful, middle aged man with two kids would be walking around in the same outfit that the crazy homeless guy outside the university’s entry way wears. Then it came to me: this was a sign that he has ‘made it’.

As times have changed, so have the ways in which men display their financial ‘status’ to those around them. In the middle ages being overweight was a status symbol, as only those who had plenty of resources had the means to become overweight (now being overweight likely means you have to work two jobs to make ends meet leaving you with no time to exercise). In the 50’s and 60’s, having a big house or fast car was a status symbol. As I have matured, however (or failed to as my girlfriend will tell you), I have become fascinated with the most subtle of all status symbols: sweatpants.

You heard me correctly. Sweatpants are the big house or Ferrari of the new millennium. Don’t believe me? I can tell you this much: right now, as a lowly graduate student with nearly no money, there is no way in hell that I can get away with wearing sweatpants. If I wore them around the house, my girlfriend would call me a loser. If I wore them in public, the consequences could be far worse. If I were particularly well off, however, I could certainly get away with wearing sweatpants in my free time. If my girlfriend didn’t like it, I could do what many wealthy men before me have done: sit down in a la-Z-boy, tune her out, and watch football. Once you have ‘made it’, there is really no need to impress anyone anymore, and I really can’t think of any attire more comfortable than sweatpants.

Once I am in a more financially sound position, I will wear sweatpants (the kind with the elastic around the ankle, to be exact) whenever I have the opportunity. I will most likely compliment them with a t-shirt or sweatshirt that has one of those nature murals on the front. You know, the kind that has some sort of airbrush painting of a wolf or moose or something like that. Once I am able to wear one of these outfits with no real consequences, I will know that I have finally ‘made it’.