Letter to the Editor: You don’t have to be intoxicated to enjoy life


I would like to respond to Nick Macey’s April 19 column (“Marriage OK for 18-year-olds, but not drinking and gambling”). I address my remarks not to Macey personally, but to the general public with whom his article struck a chord. I found the arguments in the article to be amusingly ironic. To sum them up simply: “Wahhh, life isn’t fair in my favor!”

Yes, at 18 a person is considered a “legal” adult. There are many privileges that come with age, such as signing for your own debt and any other legal pursuits such as marriage. But the one thing that doesn’t automatically come to a person at age 18 is the wisdom brought only by experience. Let’s face reality for one tiny second, shall we? You’re now 18 years old. That means you’ve been out of high school for how many years? One? I remember what it was like to turn 18. All of a sudden I didn’t have a curfew, and yes, I still had a curfew while I was in high school-and I obeyed it, too. But I trusted in those older and wiser than me in many decisions. Did I always like it? Of course not! What teenager wanting to explore his world would want to have limitations set upon him? As a typical teenager, I thought all adults were stupid and didn’t understand my world. But those rules and conditions are set because teenagers, generally having egocentric tunnel vision, lack the experience to make the soundest judgment of a situation and realize the consequences of their actions.

To put it another way, should the legal drinking age be lowered even to age 16? Why not? Physically, most men and women are pretty much fully matured by then. Then also why not lower the age of marital consent to 16 or even 14? Most men and women are physically capable of fathering or carrying a child into this world. The answer is that just because people can do something doesn’t mean that they should.

The argument that if one can vote and fight for our country at age 18, then one can enjoy all other privileges of adulthood is based on a very narrow mindset-the assumption of maturity based on a number. The decision on where to go fight is not up to you, so why assume that because someone puts a gun in your hand you’re mature enough to decide who is to die and who is to live? That decision is made by your superior officers who’ve had a bit more experience at fighting than you have.

Face up to the reality that is beyond your experience to comprehend. You, as an 18-year old recent high school graduate turned-college freshman, do not have enough real-life experience to make certain decisions wisely. Allowing 18-year-olds to legally drink is not about their ability to “handle” the alcohol and it’s not about the novelty of alcohol. I knew plenty of high school friends who still got trashed years after they were able to legally buy it for themselves.

The issue is about setting a standard by which the law is measured out equally to everyone. And as it stands our society-with the exception of those who still feel they are invulnerable, immortal and infertile-feels that 18 is too young and inexperienced to make decisions regarding alcohol and gambling.

Allow yourselves to grow up a little. Enjoy life without being intoxicated. The vices of the world will still be there waiting for you.

Adam Nicholes

Graduate Student, Architecture