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Abstract Academic 11/4: Buy me a beer?

I have never purchased a beer.

Actually, that’s only mostly true. When I was 7, I did use my allowance to buy a bottle of root beer, which my friend’s older brother told me would turn into real beer if I buried it in the backyard overnight. I struggled over this decision, knowing that, on one hand, I would be advancing mankind’s scientific knowledge of the chemical properties of root beer by decades, but on the other, Mike would probably just come back in a half hour and steal it.

I buried it. He did steal it.

Anyway (I promise there’s a point to this), I am very Mormon, and have never touched a drop of the ol’ firewater (that’s what the kids call it, right?). That’s why I was so surprised when my wife and I were asked by a pair of upstanding young men, idling outside a North Ogden grocery store in their Ford Bronco, to help procure, for their recreational purposes, some beer. Weed would also be sufficient for their needs, they said.

This blew my mind. My wife, who is very no-nonsense and makes her living working with small children, didn’t even dignify their requests with a response. I think I said something like, “Make good choices, guys,” or something equally fuddy-dudderly. The two boys obviously responded very positively to this encounter, and apologized for their embarrassing request. They then joined the Marine Corps.

Not really. They laughed derisively, shouting things like “Choose the right!” and “Utah sucks!” and “Weed is really good for us.” After this, they zoomed off to fill some other cultural void with their awesomeness.

I didn’t get a chance to let them know how cool they were, but this is one of the perks of being a columnist: You get a chance to think about what you would have said after a confrontation, and then say it. Please, if you’re reading this column online, forward it to everyone you know who is A) a male, B) between the ages of 12 and 21, and C) an idiot. So, basically, just A and B. If we’re lucky, this rebuttal will find its target audience.

Here are some things I would have said:

“Do I look like someone who would buy you beer? I’m wearing a BYU T-shirt. My hair looks like it was cut by Wilford Brimley. I have dimples that could hide gold bricks.”

“You think that Utah is the only state with a minimum drinking age? I hate to disappoint you, my shaggy-haired, tight-V-necked little buddies, but you’d be idiots anywhere in the country. I have good friends who drink regularly, and they are great people. And they are Utahns. They are also over 21.”

“Sure, I’ll buy you some beer! I’d love to go to jail for someone who aspires to be Andy Dick.”

“Hey, aren’t you guys missing a Dane Cook special on HBO right now?”

“Yes, I’ll buy you some beer. Anything to help out the process of natural selection.”

“OK, that seems like a reasonable request. I’ll need at least $100, though. Meet me in a half hour behind the police station, and I’ll deliver your harmful substances to you there with your change.”

I was also going to write a few things my wife wanted to say to these boys, but my editors wouldn’t let most of those words get through.

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