Just Call Me Young DC

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Our local grocery store has an interesting method of proofing for alcohol purchases. And, although it makes me feel younger each time it happens, the whole system may need an overhaul.

Apparently, actual driver’s licenses or IDs are not necessary at Hannaford, as long as a manager can discern your age.

As I make my way through the checkout line with the basics–milk, bread, eggs, and a six-pack of Cherry-flavored Mike’s Hard Lemonade (and I’m not allowed to bring home the Cranberry or Raspberry versions)–there’s some sort of silent communication going on between my cashier and his or her superior.

The former looks up at the latter, shoots his eyes in my direction, and the latter gives a nod to the former, thereby proofing me and approving my lightweight but delicious and calorie-laden booze. It all happens in the same nanosecond it takes our kids to clean their rooms. Fast.

It’s kind of like the guy at the fair who’s in charge of guessing your age within three years. But it seems like, at the Hannaford, they could cut out the middle man. I mean, it doesn’t seem like the manager is any more qualified to guess my age than the dude behind the register.

At my age, it’s not like it’s a close call, although I am determined to experience one, just for fun. So, I’m experimenting with different ways to throw them off their game at Hannaford and make them believe I’m younger.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Wearing a flat-brimmed baseball cap. My 11-year-old stepson Jack told me that “no one over the age of 40 wears a flat-brim hat.” Then he quickly reconsidered and said: “No, wait, make that nobody over 35.” (By the way, the percentage of curvature to a cap’s brim as it applies to your age and status IS an exact science. No curve at all indicates youth, and quite possibly a dependency on Halo, Grand Theft Auto, and Minecraft video gaming. Too much curve equals redneck tobacco chewer, and most likely Republican.)

Using the word “legit” and other slang terms properly in a sentence. As in, “Yo, I am totally legit gonna drink, like, one and a half of deez Mikes when I get back to the crib.”

Singing songs by Hoodie Allen or Taylor Swift out loud. I haven’t tried this yet in the store, but I’m pretty sure this will take 8-10 years off my perceived age and automatically excommunicate me from my golf league.

The folks at Hannaford could also have some fun with the proofing process. Turn it into a game that enhances the shopping experience. Kinda like the grocery store version of a Southwest Airlines flight.

Cashier: What’s your favorite sport?

Me: Baseball.

Cashier: OK, you’re old enough.

Me: No! Wait! Soccer! Half-pipe! MMA!

Cashier: Too late, sir. Here’s your Mike’s.

It’s a work in progress. If you have any suggestions on how I can get younger, please feel free to pass ’em along, yo.

Dave Coombs is a longtime morning radio host, who wears his baseball caps with a moderate curve.

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