I am writing to inform you of some important news. I wanted you to hear it from me, but I should warn you — our relationship is about to undergo a seismic shift. You may be thinking “What?” or “Who is this girl?” or “But we’re so close — like, maid of honor at my destination wedding close — how is it possible that I don’t have a meaningful understanding of your identity?” I know. Our many rendezvous in the cheap liquor aisle were so real. You, recommending that I try something less akin to rubbing alcohol; me, saving $1.75 by buying said rubbing alcohol. But despite the sincerity of our friendship, you’ve never seen me. Like, really seen me.

I know my face tells of a storied past, my wisdom enshrined in the dark circles under my eyes. But those dark circles are not from 24 years of trials and tribulations; they’re from two-and-a-half years of the quarter system. Of course, you’ve noticed my youthful glow, which was actual youth and not just a good moisturizer. And when you commented on my shaky hands that I blamed on my morning coffee, I was actually just nervous to hand you my ID. It all comes down to the ID. My “federal” identification. Listen, I know the gray-toned photo, paper-thin card and peeling lamination scream “I was officially issued by the United States government,” but the ID you’ve taken from my trembling hands so many times was in fact issued by OldIronsides, not Uncle Sam. It was fake, counterfeit, a lie. I am truly sorry for deceiving you, but the threat of attending a frat formal sober was enough to drive me to commit a federal crime.

When you finally see the vivid color of my real ID, you might have to shield your eyes. Your arm might sag with the weight and strength of the plastic and a single tear might wet your cheek when you realize I am not that carefree, sun-soaked California girl you’ve come to know and love. I will soon enter your fine establishment as a Minnesotan organ donor, not a beachy, bitchy West Coast millennial. But I hope you’ll come to love the real me too. As we build our new relationship, you should know a few things. First, I call my dad every time I buy beer, and he tells me which ones I’ll like. If you see me on the phone discussing local brews and defending my GPA, please don’t interrupt. Second, now that I’m of legal drinking age, I’m going to start buying more sophisticated drinks. Be prepared to set me up with your oldest whiskey (does Fireball expire?) or your hoppiest IPA. Lastly, I hope you can forgive my years of deceit.

You’ve been there for me time and time again. On Dillo Day, when I entered your store soaked in Four Loko and you still sold me another Four Loko. On game days, when we both watched in dismay as I checked out a handle of vodka and a minuscule bottle of MiO. Before nights out in Chicago, when you sold me a pack of shooters that I later duct-taped all over my body. You’ve provided me with so many memories — or lack thereof — and alcohol blankets through these cold Illinois winters.

You once wished me a happy 22nd birthday when it was my 19th. Now, I look forward to celebrating my 21st together. Let’s crack a hard kombucha over the cash register sometime. Cheers, until we meet again as our true, grown-up law-abiding selves.

With love,






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