Ryan Chartrand

Did you know that your dictionary spelled “freedom” wrong?

Yep, “Freedumb” is how it should really be spelled. Know why? Because we blindly follow whatever definition our leaders decide to give us. As Americans, it means we can eat all the burgers we want; but it’s our own fault if we get fat. Freedumb means we all have a shot at going to a public university; but boy are those thousands of dollars in loans a bummer.

And American freedumb means you can risk your life fighting in Iraq, but how dare you take a swig of Corona a day before your 21st birthday. Tisk, tisk.

Well believe it or not, today is the day before my very own 21st birthday. And I cheated your system, you sneaky, little American Constitution, you.

From January through May, I drank legally in France. And then in Ireland. Oh and of course in Amsterdam, Italy and Scotland.

But I decided to enjoy alcohol the European way in those months. See, they don’t idolize 18 like we do with 21 – alcohol is absorbed into their culture throughout their lifetime.

In France, for example, kids are given glasses of wine with dinner, even in restaurants, starting from ages in the single digits. Teenagers sip cocktails with Mom and Dad when guests are over, and nobody raises an eyebrow. So when they get to 18, there’s no fuss to get trashed enough to hurl in the bushes next to the Eiffel Tower.

Essentially, alcohol is used for social purposes and not for binging.

The concept in America, particularly among folks are age, is so ridiculously twisted. Drinking’s been so taboo for so long that we just go crazy with all that freedumb! Ever since our uptight forefathers decided that the wine that was good enough for Jesus wasn’t good enough for those precisely under 21, we’ve had social problems. I mean, they went so far as to ban the stuff from every American for a brief moment. But that’s the standard on freedumb that the leaders of our great nation set so we had to follow in line, right?

Unfortunately, our attitudes toward alcohol can’t be switched over to European standards as fast as a freshman can find a frat party after WOW week.

As for me, I’ve decided that I’ve got the rest of my life to be over 21 so there’s no reason to go all out tomorrow. Plus I got a taste of my rightful freedumb in Europe so my 21st is like a cheap, watered-down vodka anyway.

But let’s cut to the chase: I’ve legally been an adult for three years, so I think I should have had this freedumb for at least that long anyway. It’s an old argument, but hey, it makes sense. So much so that even all those funny Europeans adopted it years ago.

In fact, I think I’ll go drink to that. Happy birthday, America. And happy birthday, me.

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