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The night to end all nights

Molly Acker | Thursday, February 17, 2005

As we all know, even college students never have a single drink until they reach legal drinking age (cough, cough). Therefore, Tuesday marked a large milestone in my life: my 21st birthday. To be sure, this is an event that most of us eagerly anticipate, and I had been counting down the days for quite some time – so had my parents for that matter.

To mark this momentous occasion, my parents came to South Bend to throw a little birthday soiree for my family and friends. I like to think that it was the social event of the year, with a guest list that was a collection of “who’s who” on the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s campuses.

The mere fact that I was able to have my first cocktail marked Tuesday as a decidedly different night than any previous one. Still, my friends and I made sure to keep some of our favorite traditions alive.

As always, we had to determine a “pick to click” for the evening. This is accomplished prior to going out for the night. The object of a “pick to click” is to predict the person who will have the most memorable performance of the evening. The person lucky enough to merit “pick to click” status exhibits ridiculous and outrageous behavior, usually for huge laughs, or does anything else that might cause one to stand out from the rest of the group.

If you want to earn “pick to click” honors, it is usually a good idea to drink something that is strong enough to put some hairs on your chest – not literally, of course. A few shots of Wild Turkey can be critical to any strong bid as a “pick to click.” Another good idea is to karaoke or dress up in costumes.

Also, it never hurts to request bad ’80s songs from such artists as Wham!, Huey Lewis, or Journey. Finally, a few good jokes or one-liners at opportune moments can sometimes be the deciding factor in determining whether or not a person “clicks” on that particular evening.

Naturally, on my own 21st birthday I was the “pick to click.” Not only do I feel as if I lived up to the title, but I also feel as if I managed to raise the standard by which all future “picks to click” will be measured. Trust me, I paid the price later.

Another of my favorite traditions that my friends and I kept alive was the recap the next day. On Wednesday, this occurred in the dining hall around noon, as we discussed both the regrets and triumphs of the night before. It was particularly entertaining to hear stories of rekindled romances, who made out with their crush and who got into a dramatic fight with their ex. For better or worse, my own war stories from the night before were not as exciting as those of my friends.

In addition to “pick to click” and recaps the next day, Tuesday night was also interesting in that it provided me with an opportunity to tackle the South Bend bar scene with my parents. Don’t get me wrong – my parents can hold their own in a crowded pub with a bunch of college novices.

Nevertheless, I think they felt a bit out of their element. My mom didn’t know the words to many contemporary songs – which posed a problem since she did not have the appropriate gestures to dance along with them. Consequently, we had to go request her own favorites like “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Shout.”

My dad was saddened because he could not go to the Boat Club after he had heard so much about it. However, I assured him it was probably a blessing in disguise, especially because I was fairly certain they would not have known how to make Canadian Club Old Fashions for him.

All in all, we had a great time. I will never forget my 21st birthday or how lucky I was to celebrate with family and friends. It was a wild night filled with plenty of laughs, and I am so glad I got to share the day with old and new friends alike. I think 21 is going to be really nice for me – I now have the golden key to get me into any bar I want, and I can sleep better at night not having to worry about NDSP or ResLife issues.

Molly Acker is a junior communications and humanistic studies double major at Saint Mary’s. She can be contacted at acke6758@saintmarys.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.