Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesdays with Hurdy: The lushing youth

Tuesdays with Hurdy is a weekly exercise allowing Hurdy Chadwick to ponder issues of importance to the general Rooting public. Today's installment finds Hurdy evaluating whether the nation's youths are taking to drink at too fresh an age.

Dear friends,
This week-end, I had occasion to traipse through the old college courtyard, shuffling through the dewy grass and gazing skyward at the bright blue of a late summer ceiling. It was a rare feeling I had that morning, and one that only a hearty extended tramp through a collegiate quadrangle can bring to the lungs and chest. Huzzah, fresh summer air and ivy-covered brick facades!

However, a scourge was afoot. Indeed, directly under my foot, as I stumbled over a barely conscious college man. The lad was lying on the brick walk-through wearing a sweater emblazoned with my alma mater, his left hand clutching a pennant to root for our foot-ball squad. In his right hand? Why, an empty beer stein, its foamy remains long since spilled between the bricks on the walk. His lower half was clad only in underpants, I am reluctant to admit.

As I pondered this character, he blinked his eyes and, in a crusty voice, queried as to why he was in the bright sunshine and not under his duvet. I cuffed him twice in the ears and picked the youth up by the shoulder, dragging him from the quadrangle to the dormitory I divined was his, for the pants-less lad's britches were hung on a small dwarf spruce framing the building's entrance.

Inside, I cuffed him once more for good measure whilst I ran a cold shower in the lavatory. Finally awake, I sat the lad down and asked for an explanation of why he would tarnish the fine reputation of my alma mater by laying pants-less on the carefully laid bricks of the quadrangle's walk-through.

His answer? "Why, I'm now 21 years of age, old man!"

It seems our young friend, who even in the daylight hours was still quite tight, had celebrated his birth-day the previous night at the local tavern. And by the looks of his shaking hands and puffy eyes, he was not quaffing vats of vim and determination, unlike that hero in red stockings, Dustin "Lil' Hands" Pedroia. Nor was he taking to the Duffy's Pure Malt Whiskey, which is scientifically proven to knock dyspepsia off its pedestal with a one-two punch of good manners and thoughtfulness. No, our good friend was higher than a kite thanks to bubbly bottles of beer. (It was indeed true: I could smell the hops and barley strongly, for they seemed to have saturated the fibers of his good ol' college sweater.)

Now, your friend Hurdy Chadwick is not immune to the temptation of a few pints of bitter, or perhaps the occasional "shotgun" drunk straight from an aluminum canister, not through the pull tab, but through a mighty hole pierced in the side at close range. I even have been overserved and found myself pants-less on some infrequently traveled thoroughfare in the early morning hours. But never, ever, have I attempted to sully the reputation of fair alma mater, the place of my higher learning and the home of those men and women of substance and academia!

The state of that lad begs the question: Should U.S. Americans implore their congressional representatives to reduce such exploits through responsible introduction to booze, spirits and liquors at an earlier age? Or is that idea nothing but a slick of banana oil?

Friends, I beg you to respond below in the commentary section and let me know your thoughts. On the one hand, I am loathe to run across such a louche character in the early morning. But on the other, don't the Stars & Stripes all but guarantee a man of any age the right to lose his britches once in a blue moon?

Discuss as you will...

Yours in hurling and twirling,
Hurdy Chadwick
Westbrook, Me.

In next week's serial: Hurdy displays his arthritic grasp of world geography. "Russians invading Georgia? Alert the Atlanta Militia!"

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