Sunday, April 01, 2007

April's Fool

I stopped by a convenience store to buy some wine, the idea being to go home, sink into my sofa, indulge in some Vino and entertain myself with several hours of cheesy horror movies. I approached the counter with my beverage of choice and was rifling through my wallet for exact change when the cashier, not even glancing up from his register, casually asked, "How old are you?"

This is a trick often employed by the convenience store cashier set, designed to nip teenage drinking in the bud. The idea is that the question will throw off the underage customer, causing him to instinctively blurt out "Seventeen! I mean, um..." And then no beer for him.

When I was an underage customer, I vigorously trained myself against such tactics. If a cashier asked how old I was, I automatically said "Twenty-three." If a cashier asked what year I was born, I would announce "1971." The fact that I didn't have to stop and think suggested I wasn't lying, and my tone of voice--slightly put-out but understanding--implied, "Yeah, I get this a lot..." And then much beer for me.

Now, though, it's been legal for me to purchase and imbibe alcoholic refreshments for nigh on ten years, and these days I just don't spend a lot of time keeping a specific age in mind. So when the cashier asked, "How old are you?" I honestly could not remember.

I stood there, kind of slack-jawed, my eyes rolling up and my brow furrowing in deep concentration. Finally, I just took a random guess: "Uh... thirty-one?"

I phrased my age in the form of a question. I am an idiot. I might as well have said "What is thirty-one, Alex?" to see if the cashier would congratulate me and give me money. As it was, he just sort of looked at me funny and sold me the wine.

I wouldn't have sold me the wine.

No comments: