Having spent my freshmen year of college at a Big Ten campus where parties abounded, I had no need for a fake ID—there was always something going on somewhere. But sophomore year led me to living on campus in Chicago, where tons of wonderful establishments needed an ID for entry. On my first night out, though, I didn’t need one. Here’s why.
My new co-ed friends told me there was this “must go” all-ages party at a bar called Frankie’s—no ID needed—so…come on! And I did. But when we got there, sure enough there was a bouncer at the front door. Some of my new friends were 21, and the rest had IDs that said they were…I was the only thing in the way of all of us having a good time. Well, hell, I wasn’t going to let that stop us! So I walked up to the bouncer and handed him my driver’s license that showed I was 19.
I had no idea how I was going to play it.
He looked at it. Then he looked at me. Then he looked back down at it again. Finally, he raised his head, squinted, and said, “Uh…this says you’re only 19.”
“I know,” I replied. “…I was in a coma.”
Now, I don’t know where this came from, but out my mouth it flew. Like somehow time doesn’t count on your license if you’re unconscious?? This made no sense. If this wasn’t a sure way to get pointed to the curb, I don’t know what was. Apparently, though, my cocksure way of saying it threw the bouncer, and he looked at me and almost challenged me with his next words of wisdom. “Oh, yeah? For how long?” he asked, studying me.
What? Was there still a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel?? “I don’t know,” I said with irritation. “I was in a coma…”
My friends were off to the side watching in quiet amazement wondering what could possibly be the next round in this goofy volley of words.
I’m not sure what was going through this guy’s head—confusion, bad math, or what—but he gave me one more intense look and said, “Well, okay, but…just this once.” And…he let me through. My friends and I went on our merry way to have some serious fun, and the story lived on as legend.
After that experience, I realized I needed an ID if I wanted to continue going out. After all, how many times is the “I was in a coma” line going to work?!
[Side note: kids if you’re reading this, please know that a fake ID is not a good choice to make. It’s kind of actually illegal. There’s plenty of fun for you to have in other ways. (And they make driver’s licenses way too hard to alter these days!)]
But this story is not about my fake ID. (Maybe that’s for another time?)
Indulge me for a moment as I touch on something metaphorically here—and pardon me if I go Existentialist for a few. In thinking about this story, it made me think how we can sometimes let ourselves slip into a time coma.
Chunks of time just go…and I look back and think what am I doing? Where did the lost time go? Where is life taking me? How do I wake up and slow things down so that life doesn’t get sucked back into that damn black hole?
Okay. So maybe that’s a bit of a heady extrapolation to take from my silly story. Maybe I should have just kept it at sharing the tale and hoping you got a kick out of it.
But if you ever feel like the swirl of life is really more like a vortex, I hope it helps you to know you are not alone. Let’s be time coma survivors together.