The Top Ten Things I Overheard While At Syracuse - #7

I have a lot of funny, weird and disturbing memories from my time at Syracuse University ('96 - '00) that span many different places, events and situations. But all of them have one thing in common...someone uttered words before, during or after each of them. And so, I'd like to take this opportunity to remember my favorite utterances and what made them so memorable. At best, you'll find these explanations and stories as noteworthy as I do. At worst, you'll recognize a campus building that I reference in passing and think to yourself, "Hey, I too remember that building and I now feel as though I have some common ground with this fellow."

#7 - "You know why."/"What high school did you go to?"

As a freshman in college, at least at Syracuse, you can get by okay without a fake ID. You spend most of the winter confined to your dorm anyway, there's always at least one or two friends with good enough fakes to buy liquor and bring it back and worst case you can always trudge it out to a house party for a $5 red cup. And if you're really in a bind, drive to Canada.

But once you get into sophomore year, not having a good ID can make you something of a pariah. Chances are most of your friends have decent-enough fakes by now and they're starting to use them. All the girls you're friends with either have them or have some kind of hook-up at the local bars that gets them in, so if you want to hang out with them you're SOL. And drinking in your dorm is SO freshman.


God forbid you make it to junior year without an ID, well, I'm not quite sure what's going on. How did you let this happen?

For me, it felt essential to get one freshman year ('96 - '97). To be honest, we didn't go to bars much. Hungry Chucks was closed down at the time and too many of us were ID-less to make it worthwhile. We fattened ourselves up on a steady diet of backpacks full of beer in our dorm rooms and house parties on Euclid. It was fine and it afforded us the ability to drunkenly sing Baba O'Reilly in a circle whilst each playing a specific instrument (I was guitar, natch) without fear of repercussions.

But we knew the good times couldn't last. And when the opportunity was presented to me to get a fake, I jumped. $50 and I would be the proud owner of a Florida driver's license. A friend was heading home for a vacation and when he returned I would be of legal age to consume alcohol, in a sense. All I needed to provide was a photo and this mysterious ID-maker would do the rest. I gladly handed over a passport-ish photo and my Mom's hard earned money for the opportunity. Forget my Bar Mitzvah, NOW I
was about to become a man.

When my friend return he gave me the ID. At first I was confused. I found it strange that Florida IDs seemed so shoddy. I was also amazed that the photo seemed to pop out of the ID, as if it had just been glued there and not actually laminated into background. And I was struck by the fact that the back of the ID looked nothing like the Florida ID I had seen online. Then, it dawned on me...

This is a piece of shit.

Correction. This is a $50 piece of shit.

What could I do? You can't exactly go to the cops and tell them you've been misled about the quality of your illegal identification card. I had to suck it up.

A couple night later it was time to try. My friends and I drove over to Marshall Street and I went into that crappy liquor store that can't possibly still be there. I pulled a case out of the fridge and took it up to the counter where two older Middle-Eastern fellows were waiting patiently. One stood at the register while the other stood behind him.

I had interrupted their conversation, which is always a fun way to buy things in a store because the employees now seem bothered by you and your transaction, as if it's your fault the place provides goods and services that can be exchanged for monies. It was even doubly-annoying considering what I was about to do and the utensil I was about to do it with. Death stares firmly affixed upon me, I decided it would be best not to offer up the ID at first and try to get away with just paying. Here's how it played out.

Guy: Can I see your ID please?
Me:
Sure thing. (hands him shitty Florida ID)
(Guy looks it over, turns it around a couple times, shows it to his friend who smirks)
Guy:
I can't take this.

Me: (feigning disgust) Why not?
Guy: You know why!

I shrugged my shoulders. Took the ID back from him, just happy that he even le have it back and walked out. Never again on the Syracuse hill did I even attempt to use that thing. If it wasn't going to work at the swarthy liquor store, it certainly had no chance at any of the bars.

Sophomore year, it finally happened. I don't quite remember how it happened but I somehow finagled a quality fake ID. I was now from Delaware, New Castle to be exact, and as far as I could tell the ID looked legit. I'd say that all in all it worked about 75% of the time. More than anything my rosy cheeks did more harm than the ID ever did (trust me, I'm the guy who almost got denied at Lucy's with my actual ID when I was 21 because "there's no way you're that old.").

I wasn't supremely confident in the ID but I was confident enough to try it at bars. One such place was Maggie's. On this fateful night I approached the bouncer and handed him my ID. He checked it out and really studied it. I immediately thought "Shit, he's denying me" cause it was as if he was looking for one good reason to say its fake. Suddenly, he turns to a girl next to him. Apparently his friend. Possibly working that evening but I'm pretty sure she just happened to be there. He says to her, "Hey, you're from Delaware, right? Is this legit?"

Shitballs.

Girl: Hmmm....yeah, looks good to me. Hey, you're from New Castle!
Me:
Yep! Born and raised.
Girl:
I'm from (some nearby Delaware town I've never heard of)! Which high school did you go to?
Me
(internally): YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!
Me
(out loud): Um...New Castle High. Class of '96.
Girl:
(gives the stink eye but says nothing as I grab the ID from her)
Bouncer:
Go ahead, enjoy the stale beer and shitty atmosphere*
Me:
Thanks

*He probably didn't actually say that...but it's still true.

In case you're wondering, there is no New Castle High. Score one for the stink-eyed girl from Delaware who didn't rat me out and for my so-so fake ID that got me by.

We'll save #6 for next week. You can read Top Ten Overheard Thing #10, #9 and #8 in the meantime.


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