Even a Wednesday
Can be used for a party
If you do it right.

I'm 21, guys! The traditional benefits associated with such birthday in the States don't really apply here in Europe, though, so I guess it's probably time for a post-birthday drinking-ages-around-the-world rant:

As you may know, kids in the US are not legally permitted to imbibe alcohol until they have reached the age of 21. Most places in the world it's around 18 (although some have interesting laws on that; in Deutschland it's 16 to drink and buy beer and 18 to buy hard alcohol, but most places (the UK, most of Canada, etc. (come to think of it, it seems to be places where English is spoken)) it's just straight-up 18), but there are exceptions, of course. In Tokelau (ocean nation), the drinking age is 29. In much of the Middle East, alcohol is illegal, period. In Cuba, there isn't a drinking age at all; you and your five-year-old are free to enjoy a beer together on the veranda if you so choose.

So what's the allure here? When I went to visit Evan in Gatineau, it was obvious that there was one. Gatineau is right on the border of Ontario and Quebec, which happen to have disparate drinking ages. Lots of bars on the Quebec side had signs up that you were only permitted to drink at 18 (rather than 19) if you could prove that you lived in Quebec.

Then, of course, there are the famous American fraternity parties. I'm pretty sure that some amount of underage drinking goes on there.

But it's so ridiculous to have high drinking ages, ne? At least in the US, kids don't learn how to drink properly and wind up abusing alcohol. I don't remember the stats, but a while back I read an article about incidence rates of various psychological illnesses, and a person who goes to university in the US is like 500% more likely to be an alcoholic than an average person in the US.

It's a wonder that things like Prohibition were ever passed. People aren't going to get over alcohol. It's a social lubricant! Based on media and advertising nowadays, it's impossible to have a good time without it.

Anyway, I'm sure that you've heard all this before from a zillion other sources.

For my birthday, I was given many pleasant surprises! In the morning, my lovely friends Mathieu and Teetee (as well as a couple guys who work in our lab, Simon and Roman) busted out "Happy birthday" and a cake that they miraculously produced from somewhere. :D My mom and dad also sent me a collection of chocolatey deliciousness, and Marie made a cake for me that she brought to my party. I do believe that the only things I ate yesterday were cake, cake, chocolate, cake, and a salad.

Steven gave me a really interesting gift: carrot seeds! Why is a carrot more orange than an orange? Well, I dunno, but I'm about to go proselytize about it.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of people who showed up! Nearly all the Darmstadter interns as well as friends from Jugger. Woot!

Summary of the evening:

Mathieu: It's Jager!
Me: !
Mathieu: You can only have it if you are going to drink the whole thing.
Me: !

Julius: Let's go to the park
Me: !

Poornima: I need to go to the bathroom.
Me: We just have to get over this fence. *climbs over fence in dress and heels*
Everyone else: Dammit. Now we have to do it, too.

Olex: Pool?
Me: !

...this morning...

Me: Hi, Teetee.
Teetee: I'm impressed.

Me: 1 Hangover: 0


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