A Note From A Purveyor Of Spirits To His Underage Clientele

By: L. Burrow

Dear Sir or Madam:

Due to complications imposed by the current crackdown on underage alcohol consumption, I can no longer provide you with wine coolers, watermelon schnapps or dented cans of discount beer without valid identification. This is a harsh buzzkill, I know. But a new day has dawned, and I will no longer be a tackling dummy. As a matter of fact, I am a one-man riot squad; a bulwark between a thirty-pack of Keystone Light and your wanting funnels. If you are unconvinced; try me, imbecile.

The following types of identification are no longer satisfactory: library cards, documents declaring diplomatic immunity, pictures of “your” children or notes from your father on company letterhead demanding a bottle of Boone’s Farm Key Lime wine, a pack of Dutch Masters and a can of wintergreen chew.

From now on, everyone who walks through this door will be identified. This is how it’s going to go down. First, present your identification for my inspection; you will need to remove it from your wallet as I will be passing it through a messy chemical process. While I work my magic with a black light, feel free to sign one of the affidavits legally affirming your age. If you choose not to: get out. Finally, roll up your sleeves and submit your fingers, palms and forearms for printing. Lava soap and paper towels will be provided for your use.

For my of-age, law-abiding clientele, I hope that you will forgive the inconvenience of the new procedure, but I think everyone will agree that this is a minimal hassle considering you have the thirst and flavor for quality liquor.

Hey mop-top, don’t bother making that nonchalant, ultra-conspicuous cell phone call to Kalie, or CaLie, or KtchaiyLeieye, asking if Old Grandad is a suitable substitute for Uncle Harry’s Ultra-Light Freaky-Deekee Fruit Punch. It’s not. It’s bourbon. Get out.

Don’t shake your head in disbelief, young lady. Due to your own feckless behavior, I now have to wear the old-school tie in the name of public interest. The town-hall talkers and rumor mongers believe that my supposed leniency is to blame for the recent drunken adolescent crime wave. To tell you the truth, I didn’t mind your vandalistic actions, at first. The kleptomania, yes; but when you were blowing donuts on the baseball diamond at the town park, I didn’t mind. Others were aghast, but I recognized your youthful vigor, your propensity for creative destruction. However, after you hit my mailbox, repeatedly, I dropped the gauntlet.

When I was your age, I was not asking my mother to borrow the mini-van for a pack of Parliament lights and a sixer of hard cider. I was gainfully employed. At six years old, I was drinking rye and smoking a pipe as a ragamuffin bootblack in the toughest speakeasy on the south side. At seventeen, I was cleaving tendons at a meat packing plant in the Yards, and getting smashed at Chicago-Pittsburgh Carpets home losses with leftover flapper broads. When I was eighteen, I banished Nazi scum to the nether regions of Hell and sipped absinthe at the border of Belgium and France. At age twenty, I was on shore leave in Formosa with the Merchant Marines, hanging out in opium dens (literally, by my ankles with a blindfold on and my pants off) and suffering from syphilitic insanity.

Been there 🙂 done that :-), son.

So don’t badger me with “Pretty please,” or attempt to goad me with “Come on, Pops.” It won’t work anymore. And if this is going to stop you from getting high, I suggest you quit now. You’ve peaked. However, for the rest of you, for those of you who refuse to play dead, to the best of my knowledge the following kicks are not recognized as illegal: chugging cough syrup, smoking banana peels, snorting nutmeg, skittling with your parent’s prescriptions, huffing butane, asphyxiating yourself with a belt and a shower curtain rod (it’s safer), crushing caffeine pills and applying the powder directly to the cornea of your non-dominant eye or experimenting with distilling your own sour mash.

Good Luck,


P..S. A word of advice for the young man with the snapped humerus bones: before you attempt to smash an elderly man’s mailbox, take the time to check and make sure the senile, old coot hasn’t filled it with cement. Sometimes you’ve got to learn the hard way, kid.