It started back in high school. Underage kids (not me of course) would casually saunter into 7-11 and attempt to procure their wine coolers and tall boys, all the while praying to a God they didn’t otherwise acknowledge that they wouldn’t get carded. These kids (not me!) then went on to college, where they were fortuitously paired with a new roommate from Alaska. This pot-smoking stranger would have been utterly friendless, what with her Garfield posters and annoying neon alarm clock, if she hadn’t also been a whiz with lamination and an X-Acto knife. Soon she had plenty of friends, all of whom could get into almost any bar in town. Getting carded was still an anxiety-producing event, but most of the time, we—I mean they—got away with it.

Eventually these kids hit the miraculous milestone—twenty-one!—and getting carded was a joy, a thrill, albeit one usually met with a defiant, exasperated sigh—as if to say, “You’re carding me? I’m twenty-one and six days, asshole.”
Fast-forward a coupla decades, and the whole ID thing is just downright depressing. Here’s what it looks like: The wine and tequila bottles jiggle down the little supermarket conveyor belt, the guy slides them over the scanner and bags the whole lot right up. Does he even glance up to make sure I’m old enough? Never. Even if I am wearing lipgloss and a cute little dress, and I don’t even have my kids with me! Look, I’m not delusional. I realized I do not look half my age. But I’m pretty sure the rule is they’re supposed to card anyone who looks under thirty, and… okay, fine. I don’t fit that description, either. The thing is, I have no problem getting older. In fact, I quite enjoy having all this confidence and wisdom and perspective that I didn’t used to. It’s looking older that sucks.

This whole crappy situation has given rise to my latest, possibly greatest, idea ever: Put tip jars at supermarket checkout stands. They’re everywhere else, so why not? This might just incentivize those little button-pushing brats to card me. I don’t know about you, but I’d throw down a buck for that sort of compliment most any day. P.S. And to my newly thirty-something friend Dana who recently lamented (lamented!) the fact that she gets carded buying lotto tickets and canned air—a purchase for which, one wonders, you ought to be exactly how old?—I have two words: Bite me.