Thursday, September 29, 2005

Crossing the bar

Remember Oedipus at Thebes? How's this for a pantocratic riddle[1]:

What has only one face but inspires first deceit, then resentment and then joy?

Answer: A photo id.

I got carded today. I walked into a bar to get a drink and someone actually stopped me and wanted to see some ID to make sure I was twenty-one.

There was a time, not long ago, when this would have upset me. I would have puffed up my chest and muttered indignant curses about people who didn't know a grown up when they saw one. I would have told myself (and, after a few drinks, anyone else in a four table radius) that it's not personal, that they do it with everyone, that the system is designed to be mindless.

Now I'm just grateful. I can't believe that anyone would seriously consider the possibility that I might be less than 21 (a couple of years ago I tried getting people to guess my age just based on the way I look - I stopped doing it when the median age turned out to be 30.). I mean okay, so it probably is just mechanical, but at least they still feel that they have to ask. They actually think there's a risk that I might be underage. This is thrilling news. And the fact that my designated sphinx was barely legal herself and was kind of restful to the eyes didn't hurt either. Now I can spend the next six months crowing about this and telling everyone I know (what do you think this post is about) that I've been known to pass for 21.

(I should say that some jealous audiences have suggested that the only reason she wanted to see my ID was because she was curious to know what licenses looked like back in the days they still had horse carriages, but this is mere persiflage and not worth discussing)

This is particularly gratifying since the general trend seems to be the other way - even when I actually wave my ID under someone's nose to prove I'm over age, they'll usually wave me on without looking at it, often with an amused look on their face that says 'look how quaint and paranoid these old men are - as if we could have any doubts about him being ancient'.

This is about as insulting as not getting pulled out of line for a special search at airports - I know it's supposed to be a random selection, but I always think I don't get picked because I don't look fit enough to be a terrorist or because I look too weak-willed to hurt a fly. I could be a deadly assassin trained in the essential arts of hand-to-hand combat. I could have great quantities of lethal explosives on my person and still be walking by nonchalantly. I could wear a gaberdine suit and have a camera for a bow tie. Hell, I even said boo to a goose once (after I recovered from the scare it gave me, of course). But no, they'll stop 80 year old grandmothers with walkers and wave me on with a smile because they look more credible as terrorists than I do.

Now if only I could get them to stop me from walking into an X-rated film because I look too innocent and impressionable. That would be the day!

[1] See Auden, 'Under Sirius'

13 comments:

Neela said...

You my dear falstaff are NOT supposed to gloat over your youthful appearance. Its the gender thing. Besides you do want women, don't you (as in hordes and hordes of those raving maniacs shouting to be falstaffed?). You don't get them by crowing about your youthful visage - Ashton Kutcher could do that. You get them by impressing upon them the gravitas of face, mind and manner, none of which is compatible with said post.

Further, only SPF 30 sunscreen wearing, light-diffusion foundation priming, glycolic peel, botoxing hot menopausal mamas can take any pride and joy in getting carded.

Unless, of course you are an SPF 30 sunscreen wearing etc etc etc...

n!

Heh Heh said...

Carded-sharded sheesh!
I get carded when i buy smokes, for God's sake! Its such a pain. I hate it.
Just this morning, the following is a conversation that occured between me and the friendly neighbourhood bagel-guy.
"No school today?"
I was like, "No school"
"So what school do you go to?"
"NYU"
"You go to college?"
"Yes"
"Oh, I thought you were in High School"
After that there was no use telling him that I already have two masters degrees, have been a corporate slave, and am more than half way to getting a PhD.
Which is why I like the whole idea of dyeing my hair grey.

@ neela hordes and hordes of those raving maniacs shouting to be falstaffed nice.

Falstaff said...

Neela: *after spending five pleasant minutes on image of hordes and hordes of raving maniacs* Ya, tried the gravitas bit - it SO does not work. So am now in full-blown Father William phase.

And I suppose I could wear SPF 30 sunscreen and prime light-diffusion foundation (are you serious? that sounds like something they did to one of those World War I guns around Flanders Field) and all the rest. Just think menopause might be a little difficult to manage. Will check with my insurance provider.

HWSNBF: Enjoy it while it lasts. Trust me.

ravi said...

Maybe if you didn't absolutely insist on wearing your knickerbockers when you did that....?

meditativerose said...

Good you enjoyed time spent on 'images' of ze hordes .. since it doesn't seem you'll be spending time on said hordes themselves ;)

Karthik said...

Hmm.. I think she wanted your id so she could get your address. Ok, now go enjoy your day.

Veena said...

Whats this - S&G reference week? First JAP and now you.

Falstaff said...

ravi: errr...surely you're not suggesting that I go out in public without my knickerbockers. Even my usually overheating imagination can't conceive of that working.

MR: True. But then not everyone can be a horde all by themselves the way you are.

karthik: That's a little scary, but given my current dating life finding a woman who'd actually agree to cut me into tiny pieces with a chainsaw would be an improvement.

Veena: What can I say? We've all come to look for America.

Karthik said...

Cut into tiny pieces with a chainsaw? Oh, how erotic.

DoZ said...

At 18 or 19, someone mistook me for a school kid, and I felt too insulted to respond, or even throw a tantrum. A couple of years ago, I was asked for an ID at abar, and I valiantly stopped short of kissing the person. How the times have changed. Good luck finding the babe with the chainsaw. Sounds like a fascinating date.

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